These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find a TV show or even movie with a true crime theme that isn't at least partly based on real events. So when HBO announced Mare of Easttown, potential viewers almost immediately assumed there was some truth in the storytelling. The limited series is about a small Pennsylvania town and the damaged woman tasked with solving a murder case.
But is the show based on a true story or, at the very least, real events that unfolded in a similar location? It certainly feels that way, from Kate Winslet's basically flawless performance to the gritty scenes and lighting, and the legitimate small-town vibe. Mare of Easttown does seem like its central plot may have been inspired by a real crime or real people.
So, is 'Mare of Easttown' based on a true story?
As of now, no one attached to the Mare of Easttown has come out to claim it's based on a true story. It was actually created by screenwriter Brad Ingelsby, whose past credits include movies like the sports drama The Way Back and the dramedy Our Friend, which are both significantly different from this show. Brad says he was inspired by his own upbringing in a small Pennsylvania town for Mare of Easttown, but that the story itself is totally fictional.
The central character, Mare Sheehan, is a local police officer and a former high school sports star. She's someone local people call directly to help with different crimes in town and, for this limited series, the big one is a mysterious murder.
Throughout it all, however, Mare is dealing with a fractured relationship with her son and terrible life choices that may or may not get in the way of the case.
Mare honestly sounds like every other cop or detective in a gritty crime drama who has demons of their own they have to come to terms with. In that regard, the trope is very familiar. But the story itself, set in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business, isn't so cut and dry and it's entirely fiction, leaving much to the imagination as the limited series moves along.
Kate Winslet's accent in 'Mare of Easttown' took a lot of practice.
Another big takeaway for some people after learning about Mare of Easttown and watching the trailer is the eastern Pennsylvania accent that Kate Winslet had to nail perfectly to be her most authentic self as the title character of the show.
The accent, referred to as Delco because it's from the Delaware County area, is very different from Kate's real-life English accent and the American one she used in the movie Titanic.
"I can hear me doing it, that's what it is," she told USA Today of what she called her "awful" American accent in Titanic. "I think by the time I did Eternal Sunshine [of the Spotless Mind], I was getting it ... Now, for me, it's not a case of, 'Oh, did that sound English?' It's, 'Did it sound Delco enough?' That was more of a challenge than anything."
Watch Mare of Easttown on Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on HBO.