Quarry: Can Cinemax Get Us to Root for a Vietnam Vet-Turned-Hit Man?

Michael Logan
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HBO

Television viewers somehow found a way to see past the heinous sins of Tony Soprano, Dexter Morgan and Walter White—hell, we even rooted for them—but will we embrace an out-of-work war vet who is forced to make his living as a hit man?

Cinemax’s new 1970s-era crime-noir drama Quarry stars Logan Marshall-Green (Spider-Man: Homecoming) as Mac Conway, a U.S. marine who returns home to Memphis after a stint in Vietnam that saw him involved in a shocking My Lai–level massacre. Ostracized by the public and spurned by his father, Mac can’t find work, and his PTSD is off the charts. Enter The Broker (Peter Mullan), a cunning crime lord who cons Mac into joining his team of assassins and gives him the code name “Quarry.”

“Mac is a decent guy who finds himself in an extraordinarily horrible situation at a time when post-traumatic stress didn’t even have a name,” says showrunner Greg Yaitanes (House, Banshee). “It’ll be up to the audience to decide if he’s truly opposed to being a killer or if he secretly craves it. And whatever you think is fine with us.”

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For a period piece, this couldn’t be more relevant. “What’s shocking is how similar 2016 is to the early ’70s,” Yaitanes says. “Quarry is set against the backdrop of a war and an election that are both polarizing. Race is also an explosive issue, and so is the treatment of war vets and the price paid by their wives and families. A lot of this will hit very close to home.”

Quarry, Series premiere, Friday, Sept. 9, 10/9c, Cinemax