Cinemax has an amazing series on their hands with a period piece about a reluctant hitman caught up in a violent lifestyle after returning from the Vietnam war. Quarry is an extraordinary television show that has beauty and sorrow mixed in with action and intense scenes of violence. The show doesn't offer up innocent characters but a conflicted protagonist and corrupt and criminal supporting figures with nearly everyone having a mistake or skeleton in their closet that drives them to extreme measures.
Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green) is happy to be home from the war but conflict follows him as a mysterious incident causes protesters to attack him upon exiting the airport. He returns to his wife Joni (Jodi Balfour) but something isn't right in their domestic dream. Mac is approached by a besuited man known only as The Broker (Peter Mullan) who asks Mac to use his talents at killing and later bestows the moniker of Quarry on him. Mac refuses but his fellow soldier Arthur (Jamie Hector) takes The Broker up on the offer.
Things do not work out well in many aspects of Quarry's life and the show ratchets up the tension and stakes. Quarry is forced to work for The Broker and partners with Buddy (Damon Herriman). Among great acting, Herriman's performance is spectacular as the eccentric assassin. Marshall-Green rocks the mustache and carries the show on his back as well, making watching this show a pleasure. Balfour is also extraordinary as the conflicted wife of a soldier who was left for two tours. There are also great supporting performances from the likes Peter Mullan as the Broker and Ann Dowd as Buddy's mom.
Based on a series of novels by Max Allan Collins, the show has a lot of material to work with for what I hope will be many seasons to come. The show wades into the racial tension of 1972 in Memphis, adding even more tension to a show that feels like it will explode off the screen. The scenes do not hold back on intense and graphic violence that shocked me as I watched each episode especially when it came out of nowhere. The finale has one tragic and gripping war scene that does not cut away from the harshness of combat.
Quarry tells a story about a hitman but the issues it explores in the subplots and minor characters is where the show really shines as it shows a tumultuous time that feels, unfortunately, too familiar to our current predicament. From the poor treatment of veterans with PTSD to poverty and racial strife to war crimes, Quarry does not shy away from complex issues and provides no simple compact answers that can be resolved in one season or possibly ever.