The premise of Audience Network’s new series, Mr. Mercedes, based on Stephen King’s 2014 novel, promises to involve some violent material. The series follows Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), a demented killer who taunts a retired police detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) with a series of lurid letters and emails, forcing the ex-cop to undertake a private, and potentially felonious, crusade to bring the killer to justice before he is able to strike again.

Mr Mercedes premiere date Audience Network
Audience Network

During the show’s presentation at TCA, director Jack Bender insisted that, with all the real-life violence that has taken place in society, the show takes steps not to shine a glamorous light. “We all are affected by anything that happen,” said Bender speaking on recent violent attacks. “But speaking to that, I felt it was a responsibility to show that. It’s all about the repercussions and how many lives where effected.”

Bender continued, “It was my responsibility as a filmmaker to show it in a realistic way and not put any frame on it. Don’t glamorize it. Just put the audience in that horror without trying to walk the tight rope and getting into literal horror, which was never our desire.”

Joining Bender onstage were Gleeson, Treadaway, Mary Louise-Parker, Holland Taylor, Kelly Lynch, Jack Bender, Jharrel Jerome

Gleeson, who stars as retired police detective Bill Hodges, also admitted he worried about the prospect of giving people ideas. Jack made it very clear that from our point of view, there’s no indulgence in the violence for a titillating aspect. The great thing about it is that consequences are real,” he said.

The first season premieres August 9. Pending the show’s success, Bender shared that, although a second season would be trickier, “the plan is to go into the other two books” in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy.

David E. Kelley adapted the book for television and serves as executive producer, along with Bender, King and Temple Hill Entertainment’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey. Sonar Entertainment is producing the show, which also stars Scott Lawrence, Robert Stanton, Breeda Wool, Justine Lupe and Ann Cusack.