Who killed Erin McMenamin in the woods? For weeks, this question has been at the center of HBO’s drama Mare of Easttown, which follows Kate Winslet as the small-town Pennsylvania cop assigned to the case. Every week new suspects have been explored and dropped. Was it Dylan, Erin’s cruel ex-boyfriend; Kenny, her abusive father; or another perp entirely, like Lori’s quiet brother-in-law Billy, who might have been the father of Erin’s baby?
Whatever the answer turns out to be, it’s clear audiences are tuning in for the mystery: Mare of Easttown debuted to one million viewers on April 18, and the show’s viewership has since increased week over week. It’s a popular and intriguing drama, but don’t expect Mare of Easttown to continue into Season 2. It was always billed as a seven-part limited series, so the case of who killed Erin will all be wrapped up on May 31.
Creator Brad Ingelsby always had the ending of Mare of Easttown in mind while he was writing the series. Before the show, he had only ever written feature films, so he wanted to make sure he knew where he was going when he tackled Mare of Easttown. “I had to know the last scene in the whole series, even before I could write the opening scene,” he explained to Collider. “I have never had that experience on a movie ... In these murder shows, you have to stick the landing, otherwise the audience is like, ‘Eh.’” He added, “I was just acutely aware that I had to get the ending right. I hope we got it right!”
Ingelsby explained that the inspiration for the show came from an East Coast cop he knew who worked in a small local department. For a while, the story was just about Mare as a character. “I just was interested in that idea of this small town detective, and Mare, specifically. I didn’t know what the story around her was,” he said. Once he began adding in Erin’s backstory and characters like Dawn and Helen, though, he realized that “the scope of the story was bigger than I could accommodate in a movie.” To him, a seven-episode series was the perfect amount of time to tell the story.
Though fans will likely be sad to say goodbye to Winslet and her Delco accent, Angourie Rice (who plays Mare’s daughter Siobhan) believes Mare of Easttown ends in a “perfect” place. Asking for more, she told Harper’s Bazaar, would be “like asking for Season 3 of Fleabag” — “obviously, I want Season 3 of Fleabag,” but it already tells a complete story on its own. She added that the way Mare of Easttown ends is not really “an ending, necessarily.” Rather, “it's more of a departure from the characters. It's letting them go. They will be okay without us watching. We know that they're on the path to healing.”