The new TV fall season has barely begun, yet what is most likely going to be one of the fall’s most interesting shows premiered on Cinemax last Friday night. Quarry is based on a series of Max Allan Collins novels. The show follows the story of Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green), a recently discharged marine just back from Vietnam. Set in the early 1970’s, the political winds of the county were blowing against the war. Unlike soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan now, nobody was thanking Vietnam Vets for their service. Mac and his fellow marine and friend, Arthur, are greeted by protestors at their home town Memphis airport.
Mac is soon back home with his beautiful wife, Joni, nicely played by Jodi Balfour. Unceremoniously welcomed home, shunned by both family and friends, even his father doesn’t want him to come over to his house because his second wife is very much against the war. Mac also has a hard time finding a job. No one seems to want to hire a vet struggling to cope with the trauma of war. It’s almost like they would be guilty be association. He’s approached by a mysterious character known only as the Broker (Paul Mullan) and is soon drawn into a network of crime and murder. Mac accepts the first assignment reluctantly until he discovers the target was his wife’s lover.
The first episode is a setup for the seven episodes to follow. As the scenario builds, it may seem a bit slow at first, however, it’s a steady climb in the right driection. Mac, as played by Marshall-Green, is a stringy haired loner, a flawed and tortured character trying to adjust to his return to civilian life and deal with his past. His time in Vietnam involved a My Lai type incident that made headlines back home.
Filmed in both Memphis and Louisana, the show has an excellent eye for detail capturing the 1970’s in style, feel and music with plenty of blues and soul in the first episode. The album, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul is significant to the storyline. Set design and dress are depicted with a nice eye for detail. The mood and atmosphere reflect the social unrest of the period. My only quarrel, and it’s a minor one, is with the length of Mac’s hair and his long, long sideburns in the very first scenes at the airport when he and his buddy are still in uniform. Both are way too long for someone just days or less discharged from the marines.
The writing, the series was created by Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller, displays a moral complexity blurring the lines between right and wrong. Viewers should also realize that Quarry looks to be as much a character study as well as it is an action show. If you’re looking for a pure shoot’em up you may be disappointed.
The supporting cast which includes Damon Herriman who portrayed Dewy Crowe in the sorely missed, Justified, is top notch. Quarry manages to remain true to its pulp fiction roots.