At the TCA’s: Audience Network Presents Mr. Mercedes

Audience Network brought “Mr. Mercedes” to the TCA’s, to introduce the taut psychological thriller about a taunting serial and the retired cop who won’t rest until he’s caught – based on the Stephen King books. Jharrel Jerome (Jerome Robinson), Jack Bender (executive producer and director), Kelly Lynch (Deborah Hartsfield), Holland Taylor (Ida Silver), Mary Louise-Parker (Janey Patterson), Harry Treadaway (Brady Hartsfield) and Brendan Gleeson (Detective Bill Hodges) were on hand to discuss the show,

This project began when Jack Bender worked with Stephen King on “Under the Dome.” One day, Bender received the unpublished galleys of “Mr. Mercedes” in the mail. “I read it and loved it and called Stephen and said, “I want to do this” — and this is the God’s honest truth — I said, “But the actor who has to play Hodges is sitting next to me, Brendan Gleeson.”

Concept and casting together really inspired Bender on this project. “The thing that really drew me to the project was that not only Stephen King was writing in the detective genre, which he never had before, but that it was also — it was a story about the monster inside of us as opposed to the monster out of us, which is frequently what Stephen writes about.” He added, “I thought that would make an exceptional series if I could cast it right.”

Along with David Kelley, Bender set out to find that ideal cast to populate this dark and psychologically intense thriller. Acclaimed author Dennis Lehane also come on board, as both writer and consulting producer, creating a powerhouse team behind the camera.

The cast ranges from diehard Stephen King fans (Kelly Lynch, who’s been a fan since her teen years) and Gleeson and Taylor, who were more acquainted with his movies. But Taylor – whose character was not in the books and is an original construct – issues a challenge to anyone picking up the book. “I defy anybody to put this book down after three pages because you are in.”

There is no supernatural evil in this particular King story; it’s about real life monsters, who do monstrous things to their fellow humans. There was no interest in violent titillation.

Gleeson noted, “What happens is that everybody in this is already damaged and are torn apart, and the world is challenged. So for — you know, again, this darkness is there, if we want to embrace it. This terror is there. The horror is there if you want to embrace it. Hodges is very tempted to embrace it and to go into that dark place.”

That struggle – Hodges descent into the dark place to catch “Mr. Mercedes” – is the main thrust of the series. The chase, however, goes both ways as Brady, the killer, is seen in his everyday life. At a low-end job, interacting with co-workers and his mother, all the while sneaking away to taunt his nemesis retired detective Hodges.

There are two more books in the “Mr. Mercedes” book series, following Detective Bill Hodges into more intrigue and drama. The plan is – if “Mr. Mercedes” is well-received – to continue the series with the other books.

“Mr. Mercedes” premieres on the Audience Network on Wednesday, August 9th at 8 pm ET.