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What to Watch Now That Mare of Easttown Is Over

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley. Photo: Ben Blackall/BBC

Now that HBO’s Mare of Easttown has reached its dramatic conclusion, what are fans supposed to watch next? Well, Brad Ingelsby’s drama wasn’t the first small-town murder mystery, of course. There are plenty of other shows that can satisfy a similar itch, including a few you may like even more than the story of Mare Sheehan, believe it or not. Which ones? Read on and fill that Easttown-shaped hole in your heart.


One of the best dramas of the 2010s, this ITV import stars David Tennant and Oscar winner Olivia Colman as investigators in the small British town of the show’s title. An 11-year-old named Danny Latimer has been found dead, sending the entire community into spirals of grief and suspicion. Co-starring future Dr. Who Jodie Whittaker, Broadchurch is more about how the unimaginable crime of a child’s murder creates a ripple effect that reveals secrets held throughout an entire community. The show continued for two more seasons (which are decent but in a big shadow), and Fox did a remake (which was mediocre even with Tennant’s involvement). But that first season is the real gem, a must-watch for everyone.

Where to Watch: Netflix

The Fall

Gillian Anderson’s detective superintendent Stella Gibson feels like a definite inspiration for Kate Winslet’s Mare Sheehan. Anderson stars in this Northern Ireland–set three-season series opposite Fifty Shades of Grey lead Jamie Dornan, who plays a serial killer named Paul Spector. A cat-and-mouse game between Anderson’s detective and Dornan’s sociopath makes for a show that sometimes echoes the classic Clarice-Hannibal dynamic of Thomas Harris’s novels but combined with the mountains of red tape and politics that often come with complex, lengthy investigations. The third (and, as of now, final) season stumbles, but the first two are well worth a look.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Happy Valley

The Brits have long been leaders when it comes to crime miniseries — there are literally dozens of murder mysteries to unpack on services like Britbox and Acorn TV — and one of the best of the past 20 years has been Happy Valley. While Ingelsby didn’t directly adapt this show into Mare of Easttown, its influence is unmistakable: Sarah Lancashire plays a police sergeant in West Yorkshire named Catherine Cawood, who is still dealing with the trauma of her daughter’s suicide and helping to care for her grandson, Ryan. Sound a little familiar? In this case, Ryan is the product of a rape, and when the criminal father, Tommy (James Norton), is released from prison, Catherine becomes obsessed with tracking him down and discovers another crime in the process. (Yeah, it’s a lot like Mare.) There are only two seasons of the show as of this writing, but the creators and Lancashire haven’t closed the door on a third outing.

Where to Watch: Available for purchase on Apple TV, Amazon, Vudu, etc.

The Killing

Winslet’s Mare is a spiritual descendant of Mireille Enos’s Sarah Linden, a Seattle detective who gets drawn into an investigation into the murder of a girl named Rosie Larsen on this AMC critical darling. Enos co-stars with Joel Kinnaman in a dynamic that is clearly echoed in the chemistry between Winslet and Evan Peters in Mare. A great cast that includes Billy Campbell, Michelle Forbes, Brent Sexton, and Brendan Sexton III helps fill out a community destroyed by a young woman’s death. The show garnered controversy when it didn’t solve the crime in its first-season finale, allowing it to drag into the second. Some elements worked after writer Veena Sud and her team closed the door on Rosie, but the show was never quite the same. Still, that first season is must-see television and an obvious ancestor to Mare.

Where to Watch: Hulu

The Missing

Originally aired on BBC One in 2014 and then imported a few weeks later to Starz, the first season of The Missing is a harrowing study in the terror of losing a child. James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor play the parents of a boy who goes missing in France, while Tchéky Karyo plays the investigating detective. A second season allowed Karyo to return, this time looking into the case of a missing girl in Germany, and features David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes as the child’s parents. Like Mare of Easttown, both series deftly blend whodunit aspects with a study of the nightmare of a missing child for parents and those who investigate such crimes. It’s smart TV that hasn’t had a big enough audience because of its platform, especially the first season, which contains incredible work from Nesbitt.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

The Night Of

Based on the 2008 British series Criminal Justice (starring Ben Whishaw), this adaptation by the great Richard Price and Steven Zaillian was one of the biggest critical darlings of 2016. It really helped define the current era of the prestige HBO mystery series with the story of Naz Khan (Oscar nominee Riz Ahmed, who won an Emmy for his work here), a college student who ends up being the main suspect in the murder of a girl on New York’s Upper West Side. Sent to Rikers Island, Naz has to survive in one of the most violent places on earth while his attorney, played by John Turturro, tries to clear his name. A phenomenal ensemble (which includes Bill Camp and Michael K. Williams) and razor-sharp dialogue and plotting make this a detailed look at the impact of suspicion and how often people like Naz can end up destroyed by a system that’s eager to find quick justice.

Where to Watch: HBO Max

Sharp Objects

Based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), this 2018 miniseries stars Amy Adams as Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her hometown to report on the murder of two girls. The parallels to Mare are obvious in not only the troubled female protagonist but the way both shows capture the dangerous world out there for young women. Both also have prominent mother characters, as Patricia Clarkson unforgettably captures a force of nature in Camille’s life. Filling out this eight-episode series is a great supporting cast that includes Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins, Henry Czerny, and Matt Craven. “A woman looking into the deaths of two young women while trying to manage her personal life” could describe both Sharp Objects and Mare.

Where to Watch: HBO Max

The Sinner

Premiering as a miniseries on USA, The Sinner still hasn’t found the audience it deserves (and likely would have found on a network like HBO). Bill Pullman anchors its three seasons, the first of which features career-best work from Jessica Biel (who was Emmy nominated for the role). In the unforgettable premiere, Biel stabs a man to death on a crowded beach in sight of everyone there. What then unfolds is more of a why-dunit than a whodunit as Pullman’s detective tries to figure out how an average woman could be driven to commit such a brutal crime. The first season co-stars Christopher Abbott, and subsequent seasons bring Pullman’s character back to investigate new crimes. The show features Elisha Henig, Carrie Coon, Hannah Gross, and Tracy Letts in season two and Matt Bomer, Jessica Hecht, and Chris Messina in season three. A fourth is in the works.

Where to Watch: Netflix

True Detective

The first season of True Detective was one of the most influential of the 2010s, one that really laid the foundation for the modern crime miniseries. In that multiple-award-winning year, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star as two Louisiana detectives who have been pursuing a serial killer for almost two decades. The ripple effect of violent crime on those who investigate and often become obsessed with these cases has influenced a lot of similar series since True Detective, which also set a template for Oscar-winning stars taking time out for episodic television. Two more seasons followed to more divisive reviews. Both are worth a look (yes, even season two), but year one is what really changed the form, and it remains a masterful stand-alone season of television.

Where to Watch: HBO Max


Mare would probably like detectives Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) and Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette). The two Colorado crime solvers anchor this remarkable 2019 Netflix original series about a young woman named Marie (Kaitlyn Dever) who is assaulted in the middle of the night but is charged by detectives who don’t believe her story. Based on a news article about serial rape cases in Washington and Colorado and how often the monsters committing them were allowed to continue because their victims weren’t believed, Unbelievable is less of a whodunit than Mare but is equally character driven. It’s a show about people like Mare who refuse to give up until they find the truth, even as those around them (usually men) seem less interested in making the world a safer place.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Want More?

Of course, this is just the tip of the crime-series iceberg. How about some more options?

Big Little Lies (HBO Max) is one of the most high-profile examples of a prestige, star-powered series, and its first season has similar themes about trauma, along with a clever whodunit.

The Undoing (HBO Max) annoyed a lot of people with its lackluster finale, but there’s joy to be found in the performances by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a couple torn apart when he’s suspected of murder.

Bodyguard (Netflix) stars Richard Madden as a police sergeant who ends up protecting a Home Secretary (Keeley Hawes) with whom he politically disagrees. When tragedy strikes, it becomes a mystery that Mare would enjoy.

Who Killed Sara? (Netflix) is a surprise hit for Netflix that tells the story of an innocent man convicted of murdering his sister. A second season is on the way.

Safe (Netflix) is the product of prolific mystery author Harlan Coben and stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as a Brit whose daughter goes missing in a small town.

The Outsider (HBO Max) has supernatural elements courtesy of Stephen King, but it’s also the story of how the murder of a child can destroy an entire community, especially those who investigate it.

Seven Seconds (Netflix) is more of a crime series than a mystery, but it has incredible work by Regina King as a woman who refuses to give up on the investigation and cover-up around the death of her son.

The Head (HBO Max) has echoes of everything from John Carpenter’s The Thing to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians in the story of an Antarctic research station that becomes the scene of a brutal series of murders.

What to Watch Now That Mare of Easttown Is Over