Mr. Mercedes’ is a hot new television show. Based on the novel by Stephen King, also titled ‘Mr. Mercedes’, the series first premiered on August 9th, 2017 with a 10-episode run. Developed by David E. Kelley and starring an ensemble cast, featuring Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway and Kelly Lynch, ‘Mr. Mercedes’ is looking to scratch the itch that horror/drama fans have been looking for. While titled ‘Mr. Mercedes’, the series actually will follow a trio of Stephen King novels all centered around Detective Bill Hodges – ‘Mr. Mercedes’, ‘End of Watch’ and ‘Finders Keepers’. With Season 2 of ‘Mr. Mercedes’ already renewed, now is a perfect time to look back at the first season of the show.
‘Mr. Mercedes’ Season 1: Introducing Detective Bill Hodges.
For fans familiar with the ‘Mr. Mercedes’ novel, the television series won’t come as much of a surprise – at first. The premise of ‘Mr. Mercedes’ is almost deceptively simple. The story follows Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson), a retired detective, as he becomes haunted by a cold case from earlier in his career — the infamous Mr. Mercedes. During a local job fair, an unidentified man took a Mercedes and drove it through a line of people looking for a job, killing 16 people. With only a car to go on as identification, Hodges is quickly met with a dead end. This doesn’t sit well with Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), the man behind the wheel, as he feels deprived of the glamour that he once sought. Now, Hodges and Hartsfield begin to engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with lives constantly on the line.
It Starts With A Massacre
The TV series starts with the bloodbath at the local job fair. With the recession hitting everyone in full force, a job fair naturally draws out countless people. Things quickly go sideways when the mysterious Mercedes pulls up, shining its beams over the assembled crowd before driving headlong into the thick of them. The scene is horrific and bloody and quite likely enough to make more than a couple of viewers turn away from the program forever. Those that stick around will see Gleeson’s surly Detective Hodges show up with his partner, Detective Dixon.
The series jumps forward two years where we meet a retired Bill, suffering from the trauma of never having found the killer. Emotionally and physically falling apart, his life changes once again when Mr. Mercedes himself emails the downtrodden detective — thus kicking off the game once again. The email contains a video with details that nobody else could possibly know. This is real, this is legitimate, but the video vanishes. Hodges turns to a local kid, Jerome, to try and figure it out to no avail.
Elsewhere, we get to meet Brady Hartsfield. Mr. Mercedes himself. A young computer whiz who works at a computer store. He’s friendless except for his co-workers. His mother Deborah (Kelly Lynch) is an incestuous monster who overtly makes sexual advances toward her own son. Brady doesn’t reciprocate, preferring to lock himself inside of his basement with his video making software. Cut forward and we see Brady, now driving an ice cream truck, as he leaves a tennis ball with the symbolic smiley face painted on it… in the yard of Detective Hodges.
The Cat And Mouse Games Intensify
The series progresses with Brady and Hodges increasing the pressure that they put on one another. Brady’s primary outlet is his computer console, where he develops horrific videos that serve to tease Hodges. These videos include a snapshot of a mother and daughter who were run over at the job fair, only the video is set before her death and features edited in blood splatters. These videos drive Hodges crazy and his alcoholism is exacerbated as the season progresses, despite the best efforts of neighbor Ida Silver and young Jerome Robinson (Jharrel Jerome). In a drunken stupor, Hodges pulls a gun on a kid who had been hanging outside of his home. The kid breaks his arm and Hodges is nearly arrested.
Brady is demented but focused on his message to Hodges. Brady paints a horrific portrait out of blood for Hodges despite his mother’s constant efforts to intrude on his work. We get to flash back to Brady’s childhood numerous times and what we see is uniformly horrific. Brady’s childhood companion Jerry choking to death on an apple slice while he calmly watches TV, intentionally ignoring his friend’s pleas until it is too late. These flashbacks set against Brady’s own current-day unpredictable traits are particularly striking, such as when Brady rages after being told (via e-mail) by Hodges that another arrested killer claimed the Mr. Mercedes murders, calling Brady a “pretender”. Things are made worse when Brady’s mother offers to calm him down by way of an incestuous sexual act. This is a messed up family.
Hodges & Janey Make Breakthroughs
On the other side of town, Hodges tries to breakthrough the investigation again only to be met with a dead end, his only lead had committed suicide — Olivia Trelawney, the former owner of the Mercedes. Her sister, however, is still here and that’s when we meet Janey (Mary-Louise Parker). Hodges and Janey immediately feel a spark between one another and their relationship is quick to heat up, much to the chagrin of neighbor Ida who had previously come on to Hodges only to be rebuffed. Janey turns out to be the key to the whole story as she provides Hodges with letters that were sent to her deceased sister. The letters were from Mr. Mercedes himself and they span a long range of topics, from Mr. Mercedes’ own tortured youth to his full-throated pleasure at killing all of those people.
Things Fall Apart
Despite Hodge’s continued effort to be the ‘good detective’ in this story, he can’t escape his past. We see flashbacks to his relationship with his daughter and her continual problems with drugs. Hodge eventually finds out that Olivia may not have committed suicide afterall. When this revelation comes into the fold, tragedy immediately strikes as Janey & Olivia’s mother has a stroke and is rushed to the hospital.
Elsewhere, we see Brady attend a job interview and he spends the duration of the process fantasizing about killing everyone in the room — including a character played by Stephen King himself. The interview ends with the employer handing Brady the keys to a company car so that he can go find his mother who has gone missing. Deborah hasn’t really gone missing and is instead desperately trying to become sober after her actions with Brady sink in. Brady can’t find his mother, but he does buy her some liquor and on the way he sees Bill and Janey embracing, inducing immediate shivers down our spines.
Back at home, Bill engages in a reluctant partnership with a pair of young tech wizards in Jerome and newcomer Holly. The two go to town trying to crack a laptop which may hold the key to the case of Mr. Mercedes. The problem? They can’t get in without compromising the HDD. Hodges is completely lost in this situation and quickly bails. Across town, Deborah sniffs through Brady’s room and eventually comes face-to-face with her son’s horror in the form of the murderous clown mask and a journal hosting all of his vile thoughts. Brady is confronted but devoutly denies that he has continued on in his wicked ways. She relents and doesn’t push him. But he hasn’t changed and this is proven when he plants a bomb inside of Bill’s car, which is activated when Janey opens it at her recently deceased mother’s funeral. Janey dies, Hodges cries out in horror and behind it all, Brady smirks.
The Game Accelerates
With Janey dead and gone, Hodges is left with nothing except for the taunts of a proud Mr. Mercedes. Brady mercilessly taunts Hodges, blaming him for Janey’s death — after all, the bomb was meant for him. Despite his success, Brady doesn’t find total success. After having prepared poison meat to kill Jerome’s dog, his plans are set awry when his mother unknowingly grabs them out of the freezer to cook with. She ends up eating the poisoned meat and begins to cough up blood. Brady tries to help her but refuses to call for an ambulance. Deborah dies in his arms
Hodges, realizing that the game has become deadly, tries to get his new friends to leave off the case. Holly and Jerome refuse. Failing that, he tries to get his daughter out of harm’s way and we begin to see a little bit of their hinted at relationship. It’s complicated and messy and altogether human. Back home, Holly and Jerome crack Olivia’s laptop where they find an indexed folder of sounds recorded during the murdering spree. They soon find out that Brady had rigged up the sounds to play at random while Olivia was using the computer. The trio realizes that the sounds had to have been implanted manually which means…
Back home, Brady has given up on any pretense of normalcy. He has quit going into work and is instead sleeping next to her lifeless body. Prototypical Stephen King villain, but so hard to watch visually. Brady and Hodges are both at the very end of their rope. Hodges is determined to use that rope to string up Mr. Mercedes. Brady is determined to use his rope on his former company’s new grand opening.
Fever Pitch Of Mayhem
Still making the occasional effort, Brady continues to impress his sociopathic new boss much to the chagrin of Frobisher, his manager. Things get incredibly tense when Hodges and his partners show up at Brady’s store, looking for the person who serviced Olivia’s laptop. Guess who that is? Hodges finds out that Brady serviced the computer and he also finds out that Brady was the ice cream man who put the tennis ball into his yard. Hodges and co are about the kick in Brady’s door when they get a call from Jerome and Holly. Apparently, they have found out about Brady’s next target — the new superstore. Hodges leaves off the house in order to interview Lou, Brady’s former co-worker. Lou defends Brady and even calls Brady to warn him of potential trouble.
Brady, now knowing the cops are hot on his trail, heads to Frobisher’s apartment in order to learn what exactly the police know. Frobisher details enough information in order to come to the conclusion that yes, wait a minute, Brady is Mr. Mercedes. With complete sociopathic efficiency, Brady immediately beats Frobisher to death with a hammer.
With a warrant in hand, the police and a SWAT team arrive at Brady’s house. Brady triggers the ice cream truck in the yard, which begins to go off with sounds, lights, and laughter. The police still perform their raid and find numerous bombs in the basement. Everyone clears out and the bombs explode. Hodges pokes through the ash, finding Deborah’s body with another body strewn across hers. The body has a clown mask on and is unidentifiable. It’s Frobisher’s corpse and Hodges knows this, somewhere in the back of his mind he is aware that Brady once again escaped.
The Grand Finale
With Brady’s home little more than ashes and a lazy police force content with the two bodies that they found, only Hodges believes that the case is still active. Fortunately, Hodges is backed up by forensics as Frobisher’s apartment is kicked in after a prolonged absence from work. The blood splatters found via UV light are horrific to see. The coroner backs up their suspicions and soon the game is back on. Hodges and the police are desperate to find out where Brady might strike next. Hodges frantically reaches out to all of his loved ones in order to put them on notice that danger could be coming. Hodges forgets to warn Lou, the kind-hearted former co-worker of Brady.
Along the way, Brady is building a bomb after having shaved his head. He’s preparing a wheelchair to become his next method of attack. Appearing more monstrous than ever, Brady attacks and stabs Lou in a single motion after meeting her at the unveiling of the new Edmund Mills Art Center — covering her mouth and viciously stabbing her in the stomach. Lou manages to scream out and Brady is forced to flee as Hodges arrives just in the nick of time to save her. Lou tells her that Brady has shaved his head and that he has a bomb.
Hodges is able to get to the unveiling ceremony where Jerome and Holly are already standing by. Hodges pulls out his gun and tells everyone to get on the ground. They all do. Except for Brady and a now uncovered Bill. The two stare each other down, with neither person willing to make the first move. Brady has a detonator. Bill has a gun. During this tense standoff, Holly becomes the MVP when she sneaks behind Brady and beats his head in with a dog statue from her purse, something she carried for good luck. We flash forward to a hospital where Brady is comatose. Hodges comes into the room and whispers in his ear that, should he awake, he will be waiting.
‘Mr. Mercedes’ Season 2 Preview
Details are finally starting to drop regarding the follow-up season to the decorated first 10 episodes. A trailer recently revealed that season two will take place after an additional time jump, moving the series forward a year after Brady’s coma begins. Hodges is shown to be trying to move on by working with Holly at a P.I. business that they had started. The trailer then goes on to show that hospital members are being adversely affected and they all have one thing in common: they treat Brady’s comatose body. Hodge’s knows that Brady is at fault, but how? The original cast is returning along with newcomers Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) and Tessa Ferrer (Grey’s Anatomy).