When Does ‘Mr. Mercedes’ Season 3 Start?

AT&T Audience Networks’ Mr. Mercedes adapted Stephen King’s book in 10 episodes. Fortunately, King wrote two more books in the series, giving them plenty of material for two more seasons. Season 2 skipped ahead to the third book, End of Watch, so it’s season 2 that returns to book 2, Finders Keepers. Fans of the books and the series just want to know when they can see season 3.

Mr. Mercedes
Mr. Mercedes season 3 | AT&T AUDIENCE Network

Mr. Mercedes is returning September 10 on AT&T Audience Network. That’s still over a month away so it can seem like a long wait. Mr. Mercedes director Jack Bender spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet after his panel for the Television Critics Association, so he gave Mr. Mercedes fans a few things to look forward to when season 3 returns. We’ll have more with the cast of Mr. Mercedes and Bender between now and September 10.

Stephen King explores another tortured author in ‘Mr. Mercedes’ season 3

Just as Finders Keepers did, season 3 centers on author John Rothstein (Bruce Dern) being robbed of his unpublished manuscripts. King just can’t help fantasizing about the tortures that can befall an author. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Stephen and he’s shared with me some of those stories and demons and fears and all that stuff, which I think all writers have,” Bender said. “Because of the paintbrushes that Stephen King has always painted with, and the stories he’s always told, he goes to some pretty crazy places and dark places.”

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern in Mr. Mercedes | AT&T AUDIENCE Network

It may be autobiographical too. When King retired his pseudonym, he wrote The Dark Half about a pseudonym coming to life and killing people. Of course, everybody knows the greatest Stephen King story of a tortured author.

“So I think clearly it’s classic Stephen King in that he’s had many other stories like Misery and various things where the writer is attacked, some obsessed fan is after him, something,” Bender said. “So I think in those ways it is classic Stephen King.”

‘Mr. Mercedes’ season 3 has a new villain

Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) is dead. While his crimes still haunt Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleason), Lou (Breeda Wool), Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) and Holly (Justine Lupe), Brady can’t commit any more crimes. Morris (Gabriel Ebert) can though.

“Brady influences season 3 in a way, but to bring on a new villain and new killer in the footsteps of Harry Treadaway and Brady as written by Stephen King and David Kelly and our writers was not easy to fill those shoes,” Bender said. “We found the right actor. Gabriel Ebert is a brilliant, brilliant actor.”

Gabriel Ebert
Gabriel Ebert | Rachel Murray/Getty Images for AT&T AUDIENCE Network

Where Brady was a calculating killer, Morris is driven more by desperation.

“David Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro wrote a brilliant character for him who is damaged in different ways than Brady was, but seriously f*cked up,” Bender said. “Even though he doesn’t enter the season as a murderer, he becomes one very quickly.” 

Hodges will have to adapt to the new killer. Morris is not seeking Hodges out the way Brady did. 

“He is not in any way reaching out to him, contacting him,” Bender said. “They’re not dance partners like Brady and Hodges were. He’s just on the hunt.” 

There’s a trial in ‘Mr. Mercedes’ season 3

Lou may have killed Brady to rid the world of a monster, but she still did it in public so now she is charged with murder. Season 3 deals with her trial, which is a new element to the show.

“That was all David Kelley and our writers,” Bender said. “There is no trial so there was no attorney. It wasn’t just David Kelley and Jonathan who are brilliant with lawyer shows that wanted a trial. It was a great way for the story to go and it was a natural place for the story to go after the end of season 2.”

Mr. Mercedes
Mr. Mercedes season 3 | AT&T AUDIENCE Network

Kelley is a legend of courtroom dramas like Ally McBeal, The Practice and Boston Legal. Mr. Mercedes is not a classic David E. Kelley courtroom drama though.

“Because of what’s on trial and what’s at stake and the characters who are in that courtroom, it is not a classic David Kelley courtroom,” Bender said. “The one thing that it is is like David Kelley writes brilliant both sides of the arguments. It’s really compelling. You really care about the characters and what their fate is going to be depending on the outcome of the trial. So it’s really the best of both worlds.”

Holland Taylor still makes her ‘Mr. Mercedes’ moments count

Ida Silver, played by Holland Taylor, was a new character Kelley and Shapiro created for Mr. Mercedes. Since she’s not in the books, they sometimes have to work extra hard to give her scenes.

Holland Taylor
Holland Taylor in Mr. Mercedes | AT&T AUDIENCE Network

“If you asked Holland Taylor, because she’s such a brilliant actress, would she have liked to have been more fully involved, the answer would probably be yes,” Bender said. “But, she still is a major part of our show and a lot of the heart of our show. In relation to Hodges, she and he share a lot that’s very valuable each season.”