Stephen King’s classic cat-and-mouse novel Mr. Mercedes (the first of the Bill Hodges trilogy) came to life in season one of AT&T’s Audience Network drama of the same name in a thrilling ten-episode run that that wowed both fans and critics alike.
The season opens with a horrific mass murder. A young man wearing a clown mask plows a Mercedes into a crowd of people standing in line for a job fair, including a mother and baby, and 16 people are killed.
Two years later, the lead detective on the case, Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) is now retired and living a sad and alcohol-saturated existence, but just can’t shake the case, which is still unsolved. Meanwhile, the killer himself, an electronics repairman named Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) who moonlights as an ice cream man, is continuing with his sick ways, including carrying on an incestuous relationship with his mother. The two adversaries become entangled once again when Brady begins taunting Hodges by hacking his electronics and sending him creepy messages.
As the season carries on, Hodges tracks down Janey Patterson (Mary-Louise Parker), the sister of Olivia Trelawney, whose car was stolen and used in Mr. Mercedes’ crime. He kindles a relationship with Janey, and discovers that the killer had harassed Olivia until she committed suicide. Hodges also connects with a couple computer-savvy neighborhood kids, Jerome and Holly, who use their skills to try to help him determine Mr. Mercedes’ true identity.
As the season wears on and they begin inching closer to the truth, Brady gets the upper hand as he blows up Janey in a car explosion, sending Hodges right back into a depressive spiral. But the tables turn on Brady when he accidentally kills his own mother with rat poison-laced meat that he had intended to use on Jerome’s dog. He stops going to work and keeps vigil over his mother’s rotting corpse at home.
Brady rallies enough to start planning another mass murder, but Hodges is hot on his trail. When Hodges gets a little too close for comfort, Brady murders his boss Robi Frobisher, then lures a SWAT team to his home where he makes them think Robi’s corpse is actually his own dead body — while he escapes unseen.
The season culminates in a near-explosive face-off at an art show. Hodges confronts Brady, who has a detonator to a bomb in his hand, but the hero ends up being teenager Holly, who bashes Brady over the head with a statue of a dog, incapacitating him. But that’s not the end of the drama. As Brady goes down, Hodges himself suffers a heart attack, and they both land in the same hospital.
Hodges recovers enough to visit Brady’s bedside, where a nurse tells him he’s not expected to wake up from the coma he is in. As Hodges leans in to threaten Brady, it becomes clear to the viewer that Brady is not completely gone.
After receiving critical praise for season one, it was announced in October that the show, which airs exclusively on AT&T’s Audience Network, had been renewed for season two.