Stephen King’s recent Mr. Mercedes trilogy — which is made up of novels Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch — is an interesting beast. Ultimately it’s a story of detective Bill Hodges taking on the psychopath that is Brady Hartsfield, but in Finders Keepers, we see very little of that conflict. Instead, the story mostly follows the inevitable clash between a boy and a criminal, with Bill Hodges playing more of a secondary role. In fact, he and his gang don’t even show up until halfway through the book.
Given that that first book is something of a side story, would the series ultimately keep those aspects? I asked Mr. Mercedes executive producer and director Jack Bender that very question during a roundtable for the show — more specifically if they would keep those characters and that conflict from the book, and he gave a very straightforward answer.
“The answer is no, in terms of the writer and the kids and all of that, which is brilliant, I love that book. We wanted to start where the season ended, which we do. The writers and I talked a lot about how to do that very thing and it was tricky, and we did. One of the things that I thought was a responsibility of the show, which we touch upon during the season, is the ramifications of that come of evil in the world.
“Whenever we do things that are s**tty, and Brady is beyond s**tty, there are repercussions. The idea that one horrible violent act can affect so many, and destroy so many lives, and take so many lives was something that I really felt was important to try to touch upon. Certainly when you start with those other characters, it does. We only could touch upon it, and then we decided to bring up some of the third book into the second season as we did. A lot of it had to deal with how do we deal with our main characters and what are we going to do with Brady given where we left him. A lot of the season had to do with that.
“I walked a tightrope, and felt it was really part of the most important part of my task was to walk a tightrope because the series this season gets us a little more into Stephen Kingdom as I call it, in terms of the mind and the capability of the mind and all this stuff we live surrounded by. I fought to keep the character first focus of the show alive and well.”
Admittedly, I’m a bit disappointed. While Finders Keepers was definitely sort of its own thing, it was a story I enjoyed. That being said, in the interest of keeping the series more cohesive in terms of its conflict, it makes a whole lot of sense.
What do you think of their decision to cut down most of the content from that second book? Let us know your thoughts down below!