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June 12, 2024

A second season of 'Mare of Easttown' is in 'early discussions,' HBO exec says

Brad Ingelsby's masterful crime drama starring Kate Winslet could be coming back to Delco if the key players are on board.

Mare of Easttown MICHELE K. SHORT/HBO

HBO's 2021 crime drama 'Mare of Easttown' could return for Season 2, according to a network executive. Discussion are underway with star Kate Winslet, above, and creator Brad Ingelsby, a Chester County native.

Three years of clamoring for a new installment of HBO's "Mare of Easttown" may finally be trending toward the return of Kate Winslet's jaded detective to the streets of Delaware County.

Francesca Orsi, HBO's head of drama, told Variety this week that although nothing has been decided yet, conversations are taking place about a possible continuation of the hit 2021 crime series written by Chester County native Brad Ingelsby. Because of the runaway success of the limited series, those talks had begun almost immediately after it concluded, but Orsi said it felt "too soon" at the time.

"(We) are having early discussions about whether it might be time to start thinking of building something," she said. "We might be willing to figure out with Mare, years later, picking her up — not on the heels of where she ended, but there have been years for the character that have passed. Who is she now?"

When "Mare of Easttown" aired the series drew rave reviews for its gritty depictions of a Delaware County community rocked by the murder of a teenage mother. Winslet won an Emmy for her portrayal of Mare Sheehan, a struggling detective haunted by her fading glory, the strains of single parenthood and the wrenching details of a case unfolding too close to home. The series inspired a memorable "SNL" spoof of the Delco accent and plenty of references to the region's Wawa lifestyle.

The show was set in Easttown, which is the name of a real town on the Main Line near where Inglesby grew up in Berwyn, but for "Mare" it was fictionalized and moved to Delco. Much of the show was filmed locally with scenes in Coatesville and Downingtown in Chester County, Aston and Drexel Hill in Delaware County, as well as Philadelphia.

Ingelsby, a Villanova University graduate, has been back in the area this year to film his next HBO series tentatively called "Task." The project starring Mark Ruffalo has brought film crews to parts of Delaware County and Philadelphia, including at Ralph's, the famous Italian Restaurant in South Philly. The premise revolves around an FBI agent whose task force seeks to break up a string of drug-house robberies.

Orsi said she plans to speak with Winslet, Ingelsby and executive producer Mark Roybal to "see if there's any viability to everyone saying yes again."

In past interviews, Winslet and Ingelsby each have said that they would be willing to examine a continuation of Mare's story if they are able to develop a concept that can capture the magic of the first run.

On the Happy Sad Confused podcast in 2022, Winslet said her main consideration would be whether the project can live up to the first season.

"The question is, do you quit while you're ahead?" Winslet asked. "Do you hold your head high and say, 'Look at what we did, I'm so proud of that,' and just walk away? Or do we go for it again?"

"Mare of Easttown" was nominated for 16 Emmy Awards, winning four, including one for Winslet for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Anthology Series or Movie.

HBO hasn't released the timeline for the "Task" premiere. Ruffalo has even hinted at a possibility that the show could intersect with the world of "Mare of Easttown." 

For diehard fans, there's no better sign of hope than an HBO executive confirming a follow-up is on the table. Maybe Mare just needs a weekend chain-vaping in Ocean City to reflect on it.