‘Mr. Mercedes’: Who Is the New Villain in Season 3?

If you’re caught up on the first two seasons of Mr. Mercedes, you might be wondering how they can still call it Mr. Mercedes in Season 3. This article will discuss spoilers for the first two seasons, just in case you haven’t caught up yet. Stephen King didn’t call his follow-up books Mr. Mercedes, but the TV show adapted Finders Keepers and End of Watch under the Mr. Mercedes title. 

Gabriel Ebert
Gabriel Ebert | Charley Gallay/Getty Images for AT&T AUDIENCE Network

Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) was the Mr. Mercedes killer on the show. After the end of season 2, Brady is not coming back. That doesn’t let Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) off the hook though. There’s a new villain on Mr. Mercedes. Gabriel Ebert plays Morris Bellamy and Ebert spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about what he brings to Mr. Mercedes. Mr. Mercedes returns Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. on AT&T Audience Network.

Morris Bellamy becomes a killer in his very first ‘Mr. Mercedes’ scene

This may be a spoiler too unless you’ve read King’s book Finders Keepers. Bruce Dern plays the reclusive author John Rothstein. Morris robs Rothstein of some unpublished manuscripts but kills Rothstein in the botched robbery. Then he has an automobile accident and gets pulled from the wreck where the manuscripts are still in the truck.

“Morris needs to find those manuscripts,” Ebert said. “He’s got to find those manuscripts and he’s got to read them. I think one thing that’s great about Morris is there’s an integrity to his villainy because ultimately all he wants is to read these books. More than the money, more than the glory, he just wants to read these books. He’s a literare man.”

It’s just a book, man.

Gabriel Ebert in Mr. Mercedes
Gabriel Ebert in Mr. Mercedes | AT&T Audience Network

“One of the things that [writer] David Kelley is doing brilliantly throughout the season is paralleling the love that Bill Hodges has with Rothstein and the love that my character has with Rothstein. Not only Rothstein, but this one protagonist in his books called Jimmy Gold. It’s about these Jimmy Gold novels. For a man, for a man who wants to be a maverick, this guy is the guy. He’s like Jimmy Dean. He’s an archetype that you should aspire to. I think Hodges and Morris both aspired to this archetype, both deified it. It’s left us each in a quandary. I think one thing that’s beautiful over the season is they realize how that character actually led them astray.”

Gabriel Ebert, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 7/23/19

Morris is not another Brady Hartsfield on ‘Mr. Mercedes’

Brady got away with the crime, but couldn’t resist taunting Bill after Bill retired. Ultimately, Bill traced Brady and thwarted his next crime. Morris didn’t mean to be a killer. 

“I think Brady reveled in killing,” Ebert said. “Brady is a true psychopath. He enjoyed driving someone to madness, driving someone to suicide. He took almost a sexual pleasure in it. Morris takes no pleasure in that. He’s horrified at his own actions but he will continue doing what he has to do to read these books, but it isn’t his choice.”

Gabriel Ebert
Gabriel Ebert | Jemal Countess/Getty Images for The Lucille Lortel Foundation

Frankly, Morris would rather Bill not know about him, but Bill was a Rothstein fan so he’s interested in finding his favorite author’s killer. Morris’s injuries may just do him in before Bill even catches him.

“Even once I’m on the radar try and stay at least away from the center as I can. The cool thing about Morris is his focus on reading these unpublished manuscripts and what that will alleviate in his heart, if what he believes is in those manuscripts is. There’s an integrity to that. He cares so deeply about what’s in these pages, so he’s willing to sacrifice his body as long as he can read those words.”

Gabriel Ebert, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 7/23/19

Morris is younger on ‘Mr. Mercedes’

In the book, Morris is closer to Bill’s age. The Mr. Mercedes TV show made Morris younger. 

“I know in the book my character is about 35 years older than I am,” Ebert said. “He has a very different journey than my character has in this season. You meet my character well into his 60s in the books.”

Morris has a partner on ‘Mr. Mercedes’

Morris committed the crime, but he did not act alone. He’s in bed, literally, with Alma (Kate Mulgrew) who is orchestrating his crimes. 

“I think Morris and Alma combined fill the void of Brady,” Ebert said. “Alma brings the psychopathic singularly minded villainous quality. Morris I think brings the terror and the humanity and he’s ultimately the one who does most of the actions, the one who carries out a lot of the brutality.”

Alma was also obsessed with Rothstein, and her obsession goes even deeper than the pages. 

Gabriel Ebert in Mr. Mercedes | AT&T Audience Network

“Alma of course was also once a lover of John Rothstein’s. So I think Morris is enamored of the fact that she used to be a lover of Rothstein’s. Alma is enamored of the fact that Morris is a strong young man and that he loves these books as much as she does. She catches Morris at such a young age and works her way into his psyche, both sexually and his ambition, in a way that she can manipulate him and in a way that she can use him to carry out her desires.”

Gabriel Ebert, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 7/23/19

Like Brady Hartsfield, Morris had mommy issues. Alma fills the void, but not in a healthy way.

“I think that Morris’s relationship with his own mother, which you’ll also get to see in subsequent episodes, was one that was fraught,” Ebert said. “He was looking for other role models than the ones he got. So he finds Jimmy Gold and he finds Alma Lane. Not the best choices, one might say”

Gabriel Ebert did not read the ‘Mr. Mercedes’ books

Stephen King wrote a whole lot of source material from which Ebert could have drawn, but Mr. Mercedes Director and Executive Producer Jack Bender told him not to read it. 

“When I arrived, I talked to Jack and I said, ‘Hey, should I read this book before I start?’” Ebert said. “I only had about a week to prepare before we began filming. He said, ‘Don’t read the book, don’t read the book. Watch the show.’ So I watched the first two seasons and I feel like after I’m able to watch this season, I’ll read all the books.”

Gabriel Ebert
Gabriel Ebert | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for FIJI Water

Morris is different enough on Mr. Mercedes that it was most important for Ebert to see where he fit after two seasons.

“I think more important for the work that I had to do on this show was learning the tone of the show, learning the way in which storytelling was working, learning the way in which gore and horror was working and bringing myself to that, bringing myself to that style,” Ebert said. “Once I’m able to watch the show, then I’ll read the books.”