"Sure, Mare of Easttown is a grim, small-town murder show so typical to the prestige crime genre that it’s already inspired an SNL spoof featuring Kate McKinnon vaping a soft pretzel while explaining that she’s a grandma by virtue of being 'a Philly 40,'" says Jodi Walker. "But as audiences who have slowly made their way to the weekly series have discovered, there’s something else there. Orbiting around the signature murdered/missing girls, as pursued by the brooding detective with a dangerous devotion to justice, are itty-bitty scenes depicting the bizarre minutiae that comes with being a real person who lives in a real place and gets real hammered on real Jameson. 'The writers clearly Googled,' exclaims the Delco Daily in the SNL parody. 'They knew the foods and the towns!' That’s both accurate and funny, but obviously not the whole story. Because yes, this show is set in a town in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, so a lot of the show’s best details revolve around turning 'daughter' into a four-syllable word, and discussing different kinds of sandwiches and where to get them (Coco’s for cheesesteaks, Laspadas for hoagies, Wawa for miscellaneous). But I’d wager that what takes Mare of Easttown beyond parody is that writer and show creator Brad Ingelsby also knows people. When he writes them, he knows what concerts they’ve been to and what games they like to play on their iPad, and whether they’re the heartbreaker or the heartbroken—and so we get to know that too. Mare of Easttown is still incredibly dark, but its moments of specificity manage to be so humanizing that they act as a sort of life raft to get us through the bleak and murky waters of investigating who murdered Erin McMenamin and kidnapped Katie Bailey. World-building is not a storytelling technique reserved for the fantasy genre, and alongside Inglesby’s scripts, Craig Zobel’s mastery of mise-en-scène brings a surprising amount of humor—and, dare I say, joy—to what could otherwise be just another budget whodunit."