When a show starts out with a gaping flaw it makes it hard for me to enjoy anything after that point.
What tends to happen next is that I’ll be more likely to be on the lookout for other things that don’t make any sense – and usually finding them.
This was the experience I had when sitting down to watch a few episodes of Mr Mercedes, which began airing a month ago on Foxtel’s showcase channel.
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It’s based on a Stephen King novel about a murderer taunting the retired police detective who wasn’t able to catch him.
The series starts with the killer – named Mr Mercedes – plowing his car into a queue of people, killing seven of them. And this is where the gaping flaw exists.
We see the killer revving his car just 30 metres from the queue. Yet, after he releases the brake and speeds towards them, it takes around 30 seconds of screen time before reaching the queue.
Taking half a minute to travel 30 metres? That’s pretty slow – like 3.km/h slow. More than enough time for every single person in the queue to easily get out of the way – and maybe get home and make a cup of tea too.
Right there is where the series lost me. I tried to give it a chance – watched the rest of that episode and the next two after that. Yet all I could see was the inconsistencies, the cliches, the flaws.
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That includes the tired cliche of the killer who got away taunting the police. It happens regularly in TV shows and movies, but I’d be surprised if there is even a single instance of it happening in the real world.
That includes the flaw of keeping the car used in the crime in a police garage, without so much as a tarpaulin to stop any cross-contamination of evidence.
That includes the flaw of allowing the detective to climb into the car and sit behind the wheel to achieve no real purpose.
That includes the detective who has gotten fat since he retired – as numerous other characters inform him. Yet when he starts a freelance investigation of Mr Mercedes and dons the old suits he wore on the job two years ago they all still miraculously fit.
The series has been given some very big thumbs up by others but spotting these and other problems left me with the feeling of a show that was cutting corners.