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‘Mare of Easttown’ Finale’s Julianne Nicholson Breaks Down the Tragic Twist



Over Mare of Easttown’s seven-episode run on HBO, its obsessed audience has transformed into amateur sleuths, putting a gumshoe’s fedora on their Twitter avatars as they piece together the crime thriller’s central mystery: Who killed Erin McMenamin?

A Google search of that very question yields dozens of blog posts and fan forums ranking the possible suspects. Now that Sunday night’s finale has aired, suffice it to say that the actual killer was likely a surprise to even the series’ most keen-eyed viewers, though one of the most popular theories surrounding the whodunnit was confirmed.

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed

Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead from Sunday’s finale. Do not read further if you do not want to know what happened!)

As many Mare fans pointed out over the course of the series, you don’t cast Julianne Nicholson in the friend role if she’s not going to have some meaty material in the end. That was exactly the case for the actress, known for delivering shattering, emotionally brittle performances in films like August: Osage County and Black Mass.

First, it appears that Nicholson’s character Lori Ross, best friend of Kate Winslet’s titular detective Mare, shoulders the burden of the revelation that her husband, John Ross (Joe Tippett), is the father of Erin’s baby, DJ, and the one who killed her. But, in the kind of last-act twist that has your jaw successively dropping until it crashes through the floor, it turns out that Lori and John were covering for their young son, Ryan (Cameron).

After learning of John and Erin’s affair, Ryan stole a gun from a neighbor—the same neighbor who reported the “ferret stalker” in the show’s premiere (full circle!)—and confronted Erin. He meant to just scare her into leaving his family alone, but things got out of hand and he accidentally killed her.

That leads to a series of what may rank as some of the most heartbreaking TV scenes of the year, all at the hand of Nicholson’s acting, a steely face trembling over an open wound. There’s her reaction to Ryan storming into the house screaming, “It’s Mare! She knows!,” fired off like gunshots to the heart as Lori hurriedly envelopes him in her arms, inconsolable over the boy’s certain fate.

There’s the almost mafioso way she hisses at Mare in the interrogation room, practically shooting venom as she justified, “I agreed to lie to protect my son. And I would have taken that to my grave if you didn’t show up at the house today.” She breaks down in her car, screaming at Mare in disbelief, “My Ryan!” as she tries to console her, like a mother lion’s pained roar.

Then there are the quiet moments as Lori resigns to her new life—when John asks her to raise DJ as her own, when she takes DJ to get his ear surgery—emotionally flattened by the series of tragic events and with no other recourse but to morosely soldier on.

When we connect with Nicholson over Zoom to talk about the finale, we joke about how, when we last spoke in 2016 when she was starring on another slow-burn crime-mystery series, Eyewitness and told me, “I would love not cry at work,” joking about how serious her characters tend to be. “Sounds really nice.”

She laughs again when I bring it up this time. “Yesterday, somebody was like, do you ever want to do a comedy? I have to start saying no. No more grief.”

Still, as Sunday night’s Mare of Easttown finale proved, she’s really good at playing grief.

The series is the rare occasion in recent years of ratings and viewership growing week after week, with social media engagement doubling between episodes five and six. The show has become an obsession to the point that Saturday Night Live even parodied it. In the age of bingeing, people are breaking their habits and watching on a weekly basis, both to avoid spoilers and join the watercooler conversation.

We all together screamed over Evan Peters’ Detective Zabel (first his drunk acting, then his shocking death), raved over Kate Winslet’s performance, been amused by the ludicrous “Delco accent,” celebrated the Jean Smartaissance, and had a collective heart attack while watching Carrie (Sosie Bacon) fall asleep while little Drew was facedown in the bathtub.

The show had thoughtfully and deliberately scattered puzzle pieces across different episodes—from the “ferret stalker” to the significance of Freddie Hanlon’s addiction to the specific kind of gun used to kill Erin—and now, they finally fit together.

So we talked to Nicholson about everything: Her reaction to who did it, dealing with Lori’s grief as a mother herself, and the fact that the show’s costume designer camped out at a Wawa, spending hours taking photos of people as references for the show’s characters’ wardrobes.

The internet has been playing a “Who killed Erin?” sleuthing game throughout this entire series. Did you have your own journey with that? I’m curious how much you knew going into this.

Kate called me and said, “I’m doing a show. The part is my best friend. You have to do it. I’m sending you episodes one through six.” So they sent them and I read those. Like the audience, I thought with every episode that I knew who did it—and then it would be revealed that I did not know who did it. (Laughs) It wasn’t until we knew that I was doing the job that I was sent episode seven. I was surprised! Were you surprised?

So here’s the thing: I am not alone in thinking that the killer was going to be connected to Lori somehow, the reasoning being that you were cast in that role and you don’t cast you in that role if there’s not going to be some sort of emotional climax. Beyond that I just assumed it was John, and that was going to be it. I didn’t expect that last twist.

OK good. Me too. Then when I was reading it I was like, oh no is Lori going to be the killer? I had already agreed to do it at that time and I was like, I don’t want to kill a teenage girl! I was sort of relieved when it was my son.

What was your reaction to it being Lori’s son?

Oh god, it’s terrible. The idea of it being all John’s fault, and for something like that to happen, it’s tragic. That scene where she goes to visit him later with her daughter and the baby, it’s just so awful to think that is where he is now. That informs every day from then on. Every day starts with that, knowing where her son is.

Throughout the whole series, Lori seems like someone who is just so worn down, like she’s exhausted from shouldering the weight of so much. The finale piles that on even more, but there is something really recognizable about a mother and a wife who is carrying a lot.

Like the audience, I thought with every episode that I knew who did it—and then it would be revealed that I did not know who did it. I was surprised! Were you surprised?

Obviously these are extreme examples of what’s going on with these characters’ lives. But I think it’s not uncommon for, in particular, moms to be taking it on and just still getting it done and making sure that everything’s okay for everyone around them. It felt like an honest depiction of a woman who lives in that place, in that social standing and in that community. It felt pretty honest to those places.

Everything about her was so recognizable, down to her wardrobe, the baggy t-shirts and sweats.

I loved the wardrobe. I thought Meghan Kasperlik, our costume designer, did such a great job. She would always bring in these really specific choices for Lori. There were even details like I felt like she should wear a sports bra under that shirt. There’s certain things that are just, like, it’s comfort. You know? It’s just a particular style. Our costume designer would spend hours at Wawa, just sort of like blindly snapping pics of people for reference. Then she’d go to stores and find versions of that, which was great and I think really informs the believability of the characters.

I don’t know if it exists anymore, but there used to be a site called People of Walmart. People would send in photos of people at Walmart in embarrassing outfits.

People of Wawa!

I wanted to talk to you about some specific scenes from the finale. I was struck by the one at the courthouse, where John asks Lori to take DJ in and raise him. It’s the kind of thing that could have been this whole big, explosive scene. But you played it silently.

If I’m not mistaken, I think Lori originally had a line or two there. One of the things I loved about Brad [Ingelsby, the creator] was that he was always there to say if you don’t want to say that, if you think of something better, or if you don’t want to say anything, then great. So the scene when John tells Lori at the table, I said I don’t think she says anything. And with the courthouse too. I feel like it’s expected in a television show to have that dramatic moment but, in life, what’s going to happen when someone asks you that? It’s going to take a minute. You don’t know what that feeling is going to be or what that response is going to be. So they were open to that and they thought that could work. Sometimes it’s more interesting to see that person have the experience than hear them tell you about it.

The scene where Lori takes DJ to get his ear surgery is also fascinating. We’ve spent seven episodes waiting for this poor child to get his surgery, so it should be a triumphant moment. But Lori is so despondent, and the situation she’s in is so tragic.

That was one of the things that we talked about before filming, because the question of her taking that child is, like, not everyone would. Right? And if you do, that’s not as simple yes. And I bet the feelings around that change day to day, hour to hour. But it’s only a little baby. And he’s the half brother of your other two children, but like, this is where he comes from. So it’s just so layered.

I can’t stop thinking about the future of these characters. We see how intertwined this community is, and now everyone knows that Lori is raising the illegitimate child of her husband whose mother was killed by her son.

I know! I know. She should move to South Beach and yuk it up.

That’s the thing about those communities, though. The people never move.

I know, yeah. She’s not going anywhere.

Lori tells Mare, “I agreed to lie to protect my son.” As a mother yourself, what did you think of her decision to cover up for him?

I would have done the same thing. Also because it’s John’s fault and he’ll take the blame. I mean, you don’t want to pick apart my answer…it’s not foolproof, this plan. But it all happened because of John, and he’s happy to take the rap for it. It was an accident on Ryan’s behalf. It should have never happened. But if John’s willing to serve the punishment, then I would be fine with that. Let the kid live his life not in jail. Going to visit him in that place was awful. When she asked him, “Are you making any new friends?” It’s just like such a terrible thing to imagine.

Awful because you were thinking about what if this was your own family?

Yeah. I thought about that a lot. My son is very close in age to Ryan on the show and has a similar personality. Just nice kids. Thinking about a life being taken away in that way, to someone who that shouldn’t have happened to, it’s just terrible. It’s too much.

The scene where he runs into the house screaming that Mare is coming and you just hold him…that, like, broke me.

That was really hard too. The age that Cameron [who plays Ryan] was and that our son is too, it’s like the sweet spot where they’re not children. They’re not little kids, but they are still a little bit. They’ve got one foot in teen and one foot in kid, so they still want to, you know, sit on your lap. They still want to cuddle. It’s this funny place. I just felt very easy with Cameron. He’s also such a nice kid. We went out for dinner and we would hang out on set and he would tell me about his basketball games and his mom was great. So it was just a terrible thing to imagine.

You’ve done crime shows before on television. What do you think it is about this one that’s connected in the way that it’s become such an obsession?

I like to think that it’s the interest of the specificity of the place. Like Delco in particular, where I can’t really bring to mind another story from there. So it’s sort of peeping into a place we don’t know, and a community we don’t know. All of our intention was to create those people and those relationships as the foundation, and that hopefully was the interesting thing about the show before you add the crime. I think it’s great that it’s all these women: Mare and her mom and her daughter, Lori and the whole basketball team. Maybe something people are responding to, hopefully.

It’s interesting that for all the obsession over who was the killer and the online odds rankings and guessing and all that, the series ends on the theme of how a community deals with pain and grief. It doesn’t end when the mystery is solved. It ends with Mare trying to heal after her son’s suicide.

Yes. Come for the crime, stay for the grace.

The casting aspect of all that online sleuthing was interesting. Just as people assumed Lori was connected somehow because you were cast in the role, people couldn’t let go of the idea that Guy Pearce also must have something to do with it. But he really was just the nice love interest.

Sometimes you don’t want to be murderers and mothers of dead kids. Sometimes we just want to be people at a bar, having a beer, writing a book.


Woman passenger from UK tests Covid positive at Hyderabad airport



Hyderabad: A 35-year-old international passenger who reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19 after undergoing an RT-PCR test at the airport itself. The woman passenger had traveled from the United Kingdom, which has been categorised as an ‘At Risk Country’. 

The passenger has been admitted to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) and samples were collected and sent for genetic sequencing. Officials said she did not have any symptoms and that her health condition was being monitored closely. 

According to officials, the woman hails from Rangareddy district and was on a visit to UK from Hyderabad. Though her close relatives tested negative, their health condition is also being monitored. 

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Revealed: how Sidney Powell could be disbarred for lying in court for Trump | US elections 2020



Sidney Powell, the former lawyer for Donald Trump who filed lawsuits across America for the former president, hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has on several occasions represented to federal courts that people were co-counsel or plaintiffs in her cases without seeking their permission to do so, the Guardian has learned.

Some of these individuals say that they only found out that Powell had named them once the cases were already filed.

During this same period of time, Powell also named several other lawyers – with their permission in those instances – as co-counsel in her election-related cases, despite the fact that they played virtually no role whatsoever in bringing or litigating those cases.

Both Powell’s naming of other people as plaintiffs or co-counsel without their consent and representing that other attorneys were central to her cases when, in fact, their roles were nominal or nonexistent, constitute serious potential violations of the American Bar Association model rules for professional conduct, top legal ethicists told the Guardian.

Powell’s misrepresentations to the courts in those particular instances often aided fundraising for her nonprofit, Defending the Republic. Powell had told prospective donors that the attorneys were integral members of an “elite strike force” who had played outsized roles in her cases – when in fact they were barely involved if at all.

A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020.
A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Powell did not respond to multiple requests for comment via phone, email, and over social media.

The State Bar of Texas is already investigating Powell for making other allegedly false and misleading statements to federal courts by propagating increasingly implausible conspiracy theories to federal courts that Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States was illegitimate.

The Texas bar held its first closed-door hearing regarding the allegations about Powell on 4 November. Investigations by state bar associations are ordinarily conducted behind closed doors and thus largely opaque to the public.

A federal grand jury has also been separately investigating Powell, Defending the Republic, as well as a political action committee that goes by the same name, for fundraising fraud, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.

Among those who have alleged that Powell falsely named them as co-counsel is attorney Linn Wood, who brought and litigated with Powell many of her lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the election with her, including in the hotly contested state of Michigan.

The Michigan case was a futile attempt by Powell to erase Joe Biden’s victory in that state and name Trump as the winner. On 25 August, federal district court Judge Linda Parker, of Michigan, sanctioned Powell and nine other attorneys who worked with her for having engaged in “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” in bringing the case in the first place. Powell’s claims of election fraud, Parker asserted, had no basis in law and were solely based on “speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion”.

Parker further concluded that the conduct of Powell, Wood, and the eight other attorneys who they worked with, warranted a “referral for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment to the appropriate disciplinary authority for each state … in which each attorney is admitted”.

Wood told the court in the Michigan case that Powell had wrongly named him as one of her co-counsel in the Michigan case. During a hearing in the case to determine whether to sanction Wood, his defense largely rested on his claim that he had not been involved in the case at all. Powell, Wood told the court, had put his name on the lawsuit without her even telling him.

A man holds a sign reading "The dead cannot vote" at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Trump supporters attend a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, where Sidney Powell spoke on efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Wood said: “I do not specifically recall being asked about the Michigan complaint … In this case obviously my name was included. My experience or my skills apparently were never needed, so I didn’t have any involvement with it.”

Wood’s attorney, Paul Stablein, was also categorical in asserting that his client had nothing to do with the case, telling the Guardian in an interview: “He didn’t draft the complaint. He didn’t sign it. He did not authorize anyone to put his name on it.”

Powell has denied she would have ever named Wood as a co-counsel without Wood’s permission.

But other people have since come forward to say that Powell has said that they were named as plaintiffs or lawyers in her election-related cases without their permission.

In a Wisconsin voting case, a former Republican candidate for Congress, Derrick Van Orden, said he only learned after the fact that he had been named as a plaintiff in one of Powell’s cases.

“I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission,” Van Orden said in a statement he posted on Twitter, “To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.”

Jason Shepherd, the Republican chairman of Georgia’s Cobb county, was similarly listed as a plaintiff in a Georgia election case without his approval.

In a 26 November 2020 statement, Shepherd said he had been talking to an associate of Powell’s prior to the case’s filing about the “Cobb GOP being a plaintiff” but said he first “needed more information to at least make sure the executive officers were in agreeing to us being a party in the suit”. The Cobb County Republican party later agreed to remain plaintiffs in the case instead of withdrawing.

Leslie Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut Law School, said in an interview: “Misrepresentations to the court are very serious because lawyers are officers of the court. Bringing a lawsuit in someone’s name when they haven’t consented to being a party is a very serious misrepresentation and one for which a lawyer should expect to face serious discipline.”

Nora Freeman Engstrom, a law professor at Stanford University, says that Powell’s actions appear to violate Rule 3.3 of the ABA’s model rules of professional misconduct which hold that “a lawyer shall not knowingly … make a false statement of fact of law to a tribunal”.

Since election day last year, federal and state courts have dismissed more than 60 lawsuits alleging electoral fraud and irregularities by Powell, and other Trump allies.

Shortly after the election, Trump named Powell as a senior member of an “elite strike force” who would prove that Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential race because the election was stolen from him. But Trump refused to pay her for her services. To remedy this, Powell set up a new nonprofit called Defending the Republic; its stated purpose is to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”.

As a nonprofit, the group is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of “dark money” and donors are legally protected from the ordinary requirements to disclose their identities to the public. Powell warned supporters that for her to succeed, “millions of dollars must be raised”.

Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, Powell told prospective donors that Defending the Republic had a vast team of experienced litigators.

Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Among the attorneys who Powell said made up this “taskforce” were Emily Newman, who had served Trump as the White House liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security. Newman had been a founding board member of Defending the Republic.

But facing sanctions in the Michigan case, some of the attorneys attempted to distance themselves from having played much of a meaningful role in her litigation.

Newman’s attorney told Parker, the judge, that Newman had “not played a role in the drafting of the complaint … My client was a contract lawyer working from home who spent maybe five hours on this matter. She really wasn’t involved … Her role was de minimis.”

To have standing to file her Michigan case, Powell was initially unable to find a local attorney to be co-counsel on her case but eventually attorney Gregory Rohl agreed to help out.

But when Rohl was sanctioned by Parker and referred to the Michigan attorney disciplinary board for further investigation, his defense was that he, too, was barely involved in the case. He claimed that he only received a copy of “the already prepared” 830-page initial complaint at the last minute, reviewed it for “well over an hour”, while then “making no additions, decisions or corrections” to the original.

As with Newman, Parker, found that Rohl violated ethics rules by making little, if any, effort to verify the facts of the claims in Powell’s filings.

In sanctioning Rohl, the judge wrote that “the court finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that Rohl read an 830-page complaint in just ‘well over an hour’ on the day he filed it. So, Rohl’s argument in and of itself reveals sanctionable conduct.”

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Govt to introduce important Bill, Covid situation likely to be discussed



The government on Thursday will table ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill 2021’ in the Lok Sabha. A discussion on Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its various related aspects is also likely to take place in the lower House.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will move the ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill’ in the Lok Sabha to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998.

Under rule 193, a discussion on Covid-19 pandemic and various aspects related to it will likely take place. According to sources, the members may also raise their concern and ask for the government’s preparedness for the new Omicron variant. Under Rule 193, members can seek details about the new Covid variant. “Short duration discussion is likely to be held in the Lok Sabha on the Covid and its various aspects, including new Omicron variant,” sources said.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Prahlad Singh Patel, General V.K. Singh, Krishan Pal, Bhanu Pratap Verma, Rameshwar Teli and Kaushal Kishore will lay papers on the table. Reports and action reports of different standing committees will also be laid in the day.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Amendment) Bill 2021 (ART) by voice vote as the amendments moved by the DMK MP N.K. Prem Chandran, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy and Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut were negated. The ART Bill seeks to regulate fertility clinics. All such clinics will have to be registered under the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India.

The opposition is likely to continue to raise its voices on price rise, unemployment and extended jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in some states. The opposition parties are also demanding a law guaranteeing the minimum support price (MSP).

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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