Mr. Mercedes Season 3

Audience Networks’ Mr. Mercedes returned for a third panel for the Television Critics Association. The show is based on Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, with the third season adapting the second book in the series. Mr. Mercedes director Jack Bender and cast members were on the panel to discuss the new season.

Season 3 adapts Finders Keepers, the middle book in King’s trilogy. It introduces Morris Bellamy (Gabriel Ebert), a thief who ends up killing author John Rothstein (Bruce Dern) in a robbery. Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) is on the case.

Bender and Ebert discussed the third season of Mr. Mercedes, including the mysteries of whether Mr. Mercedes (Harry Treadaway) himself is really gone and how much Dern will actually appear. Season three premieres September 10 on Audience Network. 

What’s the Deal With Harry Treadaway? 

It took two seasons to kill Brady “Mr. Mercedes” Hartsfield. Season one only put him into a coma, but Lou (Breeda Wool) finished the job at the end of season two. Promotional materials for season 3 say Brady still casts a shadow over the season, but Bender was coy about whether Treadaway was still on the call sheet. 

“We’re going to feel Harry Treadaway and Brady,” Bender said. “Certainly Breeda as Lou is going to carry the weight of him, but I’d rather not say whether we are going to actually behold Mr. Treadaway or not. But I will say that Finders Keepers and our scripts pass the really twisted baton brilliantly to this guy which starts on the page, but then he has to become the guy and it’s magnificent.”

At this point in spoiler culture, I think we all know they’re not going to come out and say whether Treadaway appears in the season or not. I’d put the odds at about 50/50. It’s entirely possible he shot a day as Brady’s ghost, and also entirely possible he felt he’d finished his job and they could allude to him all they want. 

Morris is the New Brady

Morris is filling Brady’s shoes as Bill’s antagonist, and the killer of season three. We also come to see that Morris answers to somebody too. Kate Mulgrew plays Alma, who’s a bad influence on Morris.

“I think that my character is missing positive role models in his life, and it’s a part of why he goes down a very dark path that he goes down,” Ebert said. “So, in a way, it’s our powers combined that allow things to happen the way that they do.”

Brady was his own mastermind, so that gives Morris and Alma a different dynamic. Alma calls herself Morris’s mother, but they are not actually related.

“This man has to deal with some of the maternal issues in the show this season, which are very different than what Brady Hartsfield dealt with,” Bender said. 

Ebert added, “I think that it’s an impetus for my character, but he ultimately won’t let it define him, and Brady dealt with similar things but I think his defined him a little bit more.”

Was Bruce Dern Just a Cameo?

Having Bruce Dern play an author who gets killed in one scene definitely sounds like a Bruce Dern move. He’s at a level where he can just do a single scene, and the role benefits for having an A-lister embody him. Mr. Mercedes hasn’t spent all their Bruce Dern yet though. There are flashbacks and he still plays his own body in the morgue. 

“Bruce Dern appears more than [Rothstein] does in the book,” Bender said. “And that was a wonderful experience. Bruce is quite something. If you guys have never had the opportunity to sit and ask Bruce, you better set aside about three days.”

It makes sense if you have Bruce Dern for even a day, you shoot more with him. Do some flashbacks, anything you might be able to use later. 

Does The Outsider Mean No Season 4?

Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy ends, but some of the characters have gone on to appear elsewhere. The Outsider features Holly Gibney, played by Justine Lupe on Mr. Mercedes. The Outsider is getting its own adaptation, but that doesn’t rule out season four.

“There’s no conflict,” Bender said. “It’s a different actress. It’s later in her life. At this point there is just talk about if there were to be a fourth season, what would it be? So, you know creative wheels are spinning in various heads of ours, but nothing official has been decided. But there wouldn’t be a conflict with The Outsider.”

It will really depend if Audience Network feels they have enough subscribers watching Mr. Mercedes to justify keeping it going. It’s a unique model, not as prolific as streaming. They do have an Audience app where non-DirecTV subscribers can watch shows, so if they decide it’s worth it, I have confidence that writers David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro can make up their own Bill Hodges story without a Stephen King book to base it on.

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