Mysteries filter through HBO’s new limited series “Mare of Easttown” like water through a sieve. What happened to Katie Bailey (Caitlin Houlahan), who has been missing for over a year? Will the identity of the ferret-resembling peeping Tom ever be revealed? Who is the real father of Erin McMenamin’s (Cailee Spaeny) baby? And the mystery at the center of it all, who shot Erin and left her to die in the middle of a creekbed? While watching, I also couldn’t help but wonder where the split-level home belonging to Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) could be found. Thanks to a location-loving friend who managed to track it down, that particular “Mare of Easttown” mystery, at least, can be put to bed.
The seven-episode Craig Zobel-directed limited series, which debuted on April 18, centers around Mare, a high-school basketball star-turned-detective-sergeant who lives and works in Easttown, a fictionalized version of an actual Philadelphia suburb said to be in Delaware County, aka “Delco.” (The real Easttown is actually in Chester County.) Two episodes in and it’s already garnering rave reviews, with AV Club claiming “Mare” “hits the gas and delivers one of the year’s best cliffhangers” and Vulture deeming it “the kind of television that’s worth your time.”
As the title suggests, Easttown plays an important role on the series, which is by design. Creator/writer/executive producer Brad Ingelsby is a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania and set out to tell a story about his hometown. In the “Welcome to Easttown” behind-the-scenes featurette, he explains, “Easttown is a mixture of a number of different towns in Pennsylvania around where I grew up and I wanted the show to be about a certain place in the world, a certain group of people. These people have been born here, they’ve been raised here and now they’re raising their children here.”
While portions of the series were lensed in the real Easttown, several different neighborhoods were stitched together to portray the township’s fictionalized onscreen counterpart. As Ingelsby told Philly Mag, “We did shoot some of the show in Easttown, as well as in Coatesville, Aston and Drexel Hill, but we really captured more of a blue-collar vibe than you get in the real Easttown.”