Quarry’s Latest Hit

September 13th, 2016 by Max Allan Collins

Caption: Quarry (Logan Marshall-Green, right) meets the Broker (Peter Mullan, left).

Barb and I, home battling a nasty viral chest thing, were not with a houseful of friends as we’d hoped to be, on the evening of the QUARRY TV series’ debut episode on Friday. Instead we coughed our way through this improbable chapter in my writing life.

I had seen the movie-length episode before, but not this finished cut, with all of the music cues and audio fixes and final edits. Both Barb and I loved it. Director Greg Yaitanes and writers Graham Gordy and Michael Fuller did a great job, and the rough cuts of the rest of the season that I’ve seen maintain the high standard of the opening.

When I first read Graham and Michael’s pilot script, I remember vividly being disappointed at first because elements of Quarry’s backstory seemed to be missing or changed – then I smiled big as in the final pages those elements presented themselves. The two writers did a fine job re-ordering aspects of the story (the Broker approaches Quarry earlier here than in the novels, for example), and the final, familiar-to-my-readers pay-off is handled crushingly well.

This is indeed an origin story. Initially Graham and Michael intended to serialize the novels themselves, but input from HBO/Cinemax led to this rather measured imagining of how Quarry becomes Quarry.

If the series lasts, it’s likely we’ll get into more familiar territory – the scripts for season two, if there is one, will be loosely based on QUARRY’S CHOICE. Incidentally, I like the Southern setting and the Memphis r & b scene – it provides great grit and color, and you may have noticed I’m a music fan. The Midwestern settings of the original novels were purposely bland, contrasting the over-the-top subject matter with an Americana backdrop. For cinematic purposes, this is better. (And one of my favorites of the novels, the aforementioned QUARRY’S CHOICE, has a Biloxi/Dixie Mafia setting.)

I know some of you, maybe a lot of you, don’t have Cinemax. Obviously there will be DVDs and Blu-rays, and probably other methods of accessing the episodes, like Roku.

The critical response has been extremely good. I am assembling below a sampling (and it’s just a sampling) of the many reviews. No expectation that you’ll wade through them all, nor any reward for doing so.















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7 Responses to “Quarry’s Latest Hit”

  1. Bill Crider says:

    I recorded it and watched it yesterday. I was glad that they did keep the crushingly satisfying scene, although I was beginning to wonder if it would be in there. I like the cast, particularly the Broker. The southern accent suits him. I’m looking forward to the rest of the episodes.

  2. Noelle says:

    Ok, here are some of my thoughts on Quarry. I loved it. I graduated high school in 1972 and I remember that time very well. I dislike it when shows try to portray timelines they obviously did not know on a personal level. They nailed 1972! The gold and green colors and the house with the little window in the front door were spot on. And I enjoyed seeing so many albums in one place….just like we all had back then. Music was our solace. I like that little beige statue Quarry bought at the airport for his wife….forget what those were called and have not seen one in a long time. You could buy them at Spencer’s gifts! My eyes began to moisten a bit when I saw his wife run and jump into his arms. Back in time, I used to do the same with my first boyfriend. Sex and pot were always a good combo. I’ve never been to Memphis but it looks great and they found the right cars for the period, too. The actors look like they walked out of 1972 and their clothes are appropriate. Quarry is very sexy in that working guy, take no shit way. His wife has the hair and skinny legs most of us girls had at the time! I am very familiar with Vietnam and what it did to the young men. We had several on the street where I grew up who went to Vietnam. They were just out of high school and they went over there one way and came back another way. Changed forever. I have not read the books (sorry) but I am fully engaged in this show and I’m thrilled to have something smart and intelligent to watch. My husband and I are happy to be able to enjoy a show we can discuss afterwards.

  3. Paul.Griffith says:

    I have come to the conclusion that Quarry, written in the early ’70’s, was way ahead of its time! It’s like Jimi Hendrix on guitar, it took us 20-30 years to catch up with his innovation! Thanks Max, you are truly one of a kind!

  4. Joe Menta says:

    Very good first episode, dark and moody yet things moved along. Very interesting decision to… spoiler ahead… make the Broker be the one who tips Quarry off to his wife’s infidelity, via making the dude she was cheating with be Quarry’s assigned target. The clean simplicity of the way it was handled in the book was great, too, but this alternate take was also good stuff.

  5. Cid says:

    Having watched the first two episodes I am not impressed. I know for a fact that Marine Corps Sergeants did not come back from Vietnam with long hair and big mustaches. Especially ones who had been there for two tours. Quarry would not have had long hair and a big mustache even in 1972. He was not your average Vietnam vet.
    The books are much better written than the screenplay. Lot more of Quarry, interaction with locals where his targets were, some about his home life, but mostly setting up the targets, the planning and accomplishing the “job.” Quarry is a loner, this TV star isn’t.
    Not sure why it had to be set in Memphis, other than getting money from Louisiana to film it in Louisiana. Doesn’t really seem to add much – and I’m from the South. Prefer the Midwest settings of the books. Although the book set in Gulfport/Biloxi is excellent.
    Not sure the 1972 setting really adds much to the story and series set in the near past often have difficulty developing an audience. Could very easily see Quarry as an Iraq war veteran and using current time.
    In the books, his wife was basically a footnote and quickly dispatched via divorce. Why is she so much of the series? Dump her and get on with the story of Quarry and his jobs.
    Did the screenwriters even bother to read the books?
    Hopefully the series will get better. Incidentally I have read all the books except the first of the 1970’s ones and the most recent.

  6. Max Allan Collins says:

    I think they’ve done a good job. The two writers are big fans of the books. The Memphis setting grew out of the need to shoot the series somewhere that offered a good incentive package — in other words, money was the reason. That said, the Memphis setting is grittier than my Midwestern one and has all that wonderful music.

    I was and am pleased that they stayed with the early ’70s setting. I tend to agree that Quarry’s hair should have been short, at least coming home. But the hair is very ’70s, so I just shrug.

    Joni did not have such a long-term role in the original books, but this is conceived as an ongoing narrative, not self-contained episodes, so I understand. An origin story.

    Bottom line for me is that the books are the books, and the series gets to be what it wants to be…it certainly promotes my work, and that’s what I care about. The reviews have been good, and if it comes back for a second season, we’ll be in more familiar territory (the second season would be based loosely on QUARRY’S CHOICE).

  7. Paul Schulz says:

    I’m three episodes in now and there is one aspect of the series that I think needs to be highlighted…the music. It’s funny, but in this year when two prestige music based series (Vinyl & Roadies) crashed and burned after only one season, it’s Quarry that has actually done the best job of capturing the music of it’s period. And that is both with the covers and the original material. The aforementioned series had major music industry talent behind them, but they just didn’t work for me on any level. Quarry on the other hand, feels “real” in how the music is blended into the series. Kudos to the producers for playing Roxy Music’s “Ladytron” in probably the one setting it would have been heard in Memphis back in ’72. Also, buried in the credits as Music Supervisor / Advisor / Consultant (I can’t remember the exact title) is David Porter. Given the series is set in Memphis, I’m assuming that is Stax’s David Porter, right? Even if he just came on board for some background briefing, I thinks it’s great the producers sought out his help. And yes, the series is definitely meeting my expectations and I’m in for however long it will be made. I’ll even pick up the Blu-Ray sets if and when they become available.