Who Does Brett Gelman Play on ‘Mr. Mercedes’ Season 3?

Brett Gelman joins the cast of Mr. Mercedes for season 3. Gelman usually appears in comedies like Fleabag, or at least brings comic relief to shows like Stranger Things. Mr. Mercedes is a chance for Gelman to show he can get serious, and he spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet this summer about his role on Mr. Mercedes.

Brett Gelman
Brett Gelman | Jason Mendez/Getty Images

Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes premieres Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. on AT&T Audience Network. Based on the Stephen King trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes, season 3 focuses on the second book, Finders Keepers.

Brett Gelman plays a new character who was not in the ‘Mr. Mercedes’ books

Brett Gelman plays Roland Finkelstein, a lawyer representing Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool). Lou is on trial for murdering Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) at his trial for the Mr. Mercedes murders. Gelman was excited to create a new character for the show. 

Mr. Mercedes Season 3
Mr. Mercedes Season 3 | AT&T Audience Network

“That’s exciting,” Gelman said. “She goes on trial [in the book] but I think it’s handled differently.”

Brett Gelman has a bold strategy on ‘Mr. Mercedes’

Lou doesn’t want to plead insanity and end up in an institution so Finkelstein agrees to take her to trial. He knows it’s a long shot, but he’s not selling her a bill of goods. 

“I think he believes in it. I mean, he’s a realist in that nothing is guaranteed, but I think he believes it’s a good strategy and he knows what he’s up against and he knows he’s very much an asset to Lou because he knows that the potential for failure is possible. I think if you are open to that and honest about that, then you’re really going to push for what you think is right. That’s what he’s doing. I think that’s the thing that carries it through.”

Brett Gelman, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 7/23/19

The Judge (Glynn Turman) and DA (Natalie Paul) aren’t going to make it easy for Finkelstein and Lou though.

Brett Gelman
Brett Gelman | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

“I think that he knows how to roll with the punches,” Gelman said. “I think he has enough experience that he knows that the reputation of Glynn and Natalie’s characters and how good they are, that the judge is kind of a maniac and the DA wants to win and is good at it. So he’s thrown by it but he’s also I think used to being thrown.”

Brett Gelman is not comic relief on ‘Mr. Mercedes’

There is always macabre humor in Stephen King stories, but they didn’t hire Brett Gelman to make jokes on Mr. Mercedes

“There are certain moments of course where it’s funny,” Gelman said. “I think everything that’s great has a little bit of humor and a little bit of drama. It was sort of like whatever happens in the moment is what happens in the moment. It felt great to play a character that was the most normal character I’ve played.”

Brett Gelman dreamed of playing a lawyer 

Most actors end up playing a lot of doctors, cops and lawyers. Gelman never had so he relished the cinematic and television history of lawyers. 

“It’s such an actor’s fantasy to play those characters,” Gelman said. “I really got off on watching the great cinematic lawyer performances. I watched Paul Newman in The Verdict, Denzel in Philadelphia, Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind, Jimmy Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder. Just the excitement of that, humanizing the process is really an amazing challenge.”

Plus, David E. Kelley adapts Mr. Mercedes from the Stephen King books. Kelley is the foremost authority on legal drama having created Ally McBeal, The Practice and Boston Legal.

“It’s insane,” Gelman said. “To get to act his writing, [co-writer] Jonathan Shapiro’s writing but David E. Kelley’s such a legend. To get to act his writing and act lawyerese, to do monologues to the jury and cross-examination scenes that David E. Kelley wrote is insane.”