New crime drama Quarry explores the darker side of life

Quarry drags a troubled Vietnam vet through the mud and blood of a Mississippi crime spree rife with murder and corruption.
Logan Marshall-Green in Quarry. Courtesy HBO / OSN
Logan Marshall-Green in Quarry. Courtesy HBO / OSN

When cult crime thriller Banshee completed its final season in the spring, it left an aching void in the lives of so-called “fanshees”, devotees of the show’s self-­destructive, ultra-violent, damaged characters, who made a life of crime look like the life of Riley.

It’s a gap that might be filled by Quarry, a sassy new hard-boiled series that explores the darker side of life, with a cast of tough nuts galore.

The show shares two important characteristics with fellow TV newcomer Hap and Leonard: it is based on a long-running series of novels by an acclaimed author – in this case, mystery writer Max Allan Collins – and, with its 1970s setting, it is a period piece.

The adaptation is being overseen by Greg Yaitanes – a former director and executive producer on Banshee, who also helped to bring us acclaimed shows including Damages, Lost, Prison Break, Heroes and Grey’s Anatomy over the years. In addition to his executive-producer duties on Quarry, he directs all eight episodes of the first season, which begins on Saturday on OSN First HD. The drama tells the story of Mac Conway, a marine who returns to Memphis from the Vietnam War in 1972 to find himself shunned by those he loves, and demonised by the public.

As he struggles to cope with his combat experiences and readapt to normal society, he is lured into an underground network of killing and corruption that spans the length of the ­Mississippi ­River.

“Death isn’t complicated – death’s just a switch that gets flipped off,” says Conway, who is brought to life by American actor Logan Marshall-Green, 39, who appeared in Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus in 2012 and will next year be seen in ­Spider-Man: Homecoming .

“[Marshall-Green] brings such a raw and caged energy to Mac,” says Yaitanes, “and he’s often said he’s basically playing his own father in that performance and bringing out qualities and aspects that he remembers.”

Knee-deep in the Mississippi mud and blood with ­Marshall-Green is his co-star Jodi Balfour (Final Destination 5, Bomb Girls), who stars as Joni, the love of Mac’s life and a reporter at the local paper. Despite the fact she outgrew their old life while he was off at war, she remains devoted to him – even as she discovers he has changed.

Mac and Joni “are two lost souls trying to find each other”, says Marshall-Green.

“Something really works between us,” says Balfour, who hails from South Africa. “We lock into a presence and a dynamic that has just been so fun to play with.”

Everybody’s got to serve someone – and taking a special interest in Mac is The Broker – portrayed by Scottish actor Peter Mullan (Olive Kitteridge, My name Is Joe) – as a cunning, enigmatic crime boss.

“There’s an element of dislocation,” adds Balfour. “Joni’s spending time trying to find her husband whom she knows – and noticing there’s definitely been a shift deep, deep inside of Mac.”

Michael Fuller, co-creator of the series with Graham Gordy, says: “The thing that was the most interesting to us about Quarry is that it’s a crime drama.

“There are elements of action, obviously, but our template was always the great films of the 1970s – Straight Time, Friends of Eddie Coyle, The French Connection – where you’re leading first and foremost with characters, and investing in the characters, because that’s what makes things unique, entertaining and engaging for us … when you do get to those action set pieces.”

Gordy adds: “One of the big catalysts for us is that Mac was a Vietnam vet ... This is a guy who’s suffering from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] ... in an era in which there was no acronym.”

“I came to this role wanting to start a dialogue about the word ‘veteran’ and the word ‘re-entry’,” says Marshall-Green, “because that is something that, even way back then and all the way to today – is the elephant in the room when it comes to veterans affairs, I believe, is re-entry.

“We send these men, these boys, and these girls, to war now. We take a lot of time, we spend a lot of money, to turn them into killing machines. And we spend no money into taking and putting them into a calming pool to let them cool down and become citizens again.”

• Quarry begins at 11pm on Saturday, September 10 on OSN First HD

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: September 6, 2016 04:00 AM

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