Kate Winslet's gripping drama Mare of Easttown aired its final episode at the end of May, with the titular detective finally uncovering the truth around Erin McMenamin's death in a plot twist many viewers didn't see coming.
Set in a small Pennsylvanian town, the seven-parter saw Winslet take on the role of Mare, a hardened, middle-aged detective with a strong Delco accent, a crumbling personal life and a huge amount of professional pressure.
While we now know who killed Erin (the Mare of Easttown killer clues now all make sense) and the whereabouts of the two missing girls, all we want to find out now is whether Mare is returning for a second season.
Series creator Brad Ingelsby has been vague on the topic so far, saying that he'd bring back Mare "if we could crack a story that we were really proud" of, however HBO chief Casey Bloys recently provided some hope by revealing the network is "open" to a second season.
Read on for everything we know about Mare of Easttown season two – or check out our Mare of Easttown finale recap for a refresher on the series just gone.
Will Mare of Easttown return for season 2?
We don't yet know whether Mare of Easttown will be returning for a second series.
The crime drama is a miniseries, which could imply that Brad Ingelsby only ever intended for Mare's story to be told over one series. However, we have seen other HBO miniseries return for follow-ups – just look at Big Little Lies, which was originally billed as a miniseries but came back for a second season.
“We didn't ever talk about returning... it's very much a closed story," Ingelsby told Esquire. "I think you've seen that now, the story ends. I think all the loose ends get tied up. I hope so at least. But I think if we could ever crack a story that was as emotional and surprising, then I think maybe there's a conversation. I don't have that in my head right now, but I mean, listen, I love Mare.
"If we could ever give her a great season, I would certainly consider it. I would only do it if I was convinced we could make it great, though. I wouldn't do it just because you have a chance to do it. I would want to make sure that it was as rich and compelling as I hope this season has been.”
He went on to tell TVLine that Mare is "an amazing character" that he "would be excited to see" again, before admitting: "I also like it as a miniseries."
He echoed all of these sentiments when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, saying: "Kate and I, if we could crack a story that we were really proud of and felt like it was a deserving second chapter in Mare's journey, then maybe."
However, he added: "I haven't cracked that yet; I don't know what that is, honestly."
What we do know is that Kate Winslet is on board for a second season, telling TVLine ahead of the show's gripping finale: "I would absolutely love to play Mare again.
"I miss her. I really do. It's the strangest thing. I feel like I'm in mourning. It was an absolutely wonderful role... There's something very addictive about Mare, because she's so outrageous and lovable and brilliant and real, you know? I loved playing her."
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The good news is that HBO is "open" to renewing Mare, with network chief Casey Bloys telling Variety in June: "If Brad felt like he had a story to tell that felt like it would be at the same level, I think everybody would be open to it."
"Right now, he doesn’t have that story. Who knows? We’ll have to wait to see if they come up with something they’re dying to tell."
He added however that he doesn't "have any idea that there's going to be a timeline" and that so far, there have "been no real conversations about what a season two would look like".
Since first premiering in April, Mare of Easttown has become a runaway hit, drawing in a regular viewership week after week – so if there's any miniseries that has a chance of getting renewed, it's certainly this one.
Mare of Easttown season 2 release date
HBO has not yet confirmed whether Mare of Easttown will be returning for season two, so it's hard to say when we could expect a second series to land on our screens.
Production on the first season began in autumn 2019, however was shut down in April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic had begun to spread across the US. Filming resumed in early September and reportedly wrapped a month later.
If we estimate that production on the series took eight months and take account of series writing time, the earliest we could see Mare of Easttown season two would be Summer 2022 – without allowing for potential pandemic-related delays.
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Mare of Easttown season 2 cast
Of course, it wouldn't be Mare of Easttown without Mare – so if HBO does renew the series, Kate Winslet would have to return as the titular Philadelphia detective.
We're also likely to see the whole Sheehan clan in season two, so Jean Smart (Helen Fahey), Angourie Rice (Siobhan Sheehan), David Denman (Frank Sheehan), Neal Huff (Father Dan Hastings) and Izzy King (Drew Sheehan) reprise their roles for a second outing in Easttown.
As for the Rosses – Lori (Julianne Nicholson), John (Joe Tippett), Billy (Robbie Tan) and Kenny McMenamin (Patrick Murney) – their return to the show is currently up-in-the-air and wholly dependent on what happens in Monday's series finale. With Erin's murder case likely to close, they will no longer be as relevant to the story – although Lori will hopefully still be Mare's best friend and so she may pop up in season two.
Similarly, we don't know yet whether Guy Pearce could return as Mare's romantic interest Richard Ryan. In the penultimate episode, Mare broke things off with him, telling him that she needed to get her life together first, but with fans expecting a big fat twist in next week's finale, is it possible that he could be involved in Erin's murder and therefore won't appear in season two? With this all being speculative, we'll have a better idea of who could come back after next Monday.
What we know for sure is that Evan Peters won't be back as Colin Zabel, after his character died in episode five (RIP!), and the same goes for Cailee Spaeny as Erin McMenamin.
Mare of Easttown season 2 plot
**Spoilers ahead of season one**
If there is a second season, we'd guess that the Drew custody storyline is likely to continue, with Mare (Winslet) and her ex-drug addict daughter-in-law Carrie (Sosie Bacon) battling over who raises Drew, Mare's grandson. In the series finale, we discovered that Carrie has started using drugs again to deal with the exhaustion from keeping up multiple jobs and had missed the mediation session to go back to a rehabilitation clinic. While Drew is back with Mare for now, when Carrie gets clean again it's likely that she'll come back for her son and start custody proceedings all over again.
Mare's relationship with Richard was also left on an uncertain note at the end of series one as we saw him take a job at another university and leave Easttown. Speaking to Esquire, creator Brad Ingelsby revealed that it was Kate Winslet's idea to throw their romance up in the air.
"We did have some more scenes with Guy Pearce, but one of the things that Kate was convinced, and I think she was right, was that if Mare's life is too good at the end of the show, if Mare's now investing in a romance with Richard, then her act of mercy by going to Lori isn't convincing, right? It's too easy.
"It’s, oh, well, everything's going right in Mare's life now. So of course, she's going to go and see Lori because everything in her life is at a certain place now where she's cleared the decks.
"And so it was Kate's idea that we had to end Mare and Richard in a place of uncertainty like, are they going to be together? Will they get back together? Who knows? It's up in the air. And that made her choice to go see Lori stronger, in a way."
Maybe season two will see Mare and Richard reunite, or even tackle a long-distance relationship? Either way, it would be nice to see Mare achieve some sort of personal win in her life if the show does return.
Aside from these ongoing storylines, we'd have to see what big case Mare would take on next! And whether there will be any repercussions from her decision in the finale of season one.