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‘Mare of Easttown’ Actor Cameron Mann Had No Idea About Ryan’s Twist When He Signed On

”And much like Ryan I also had to keep it secret for a very long time,“ Mann tells EW

(Warning: This post contains major spoilers through the finale of “Mare of Easttown”).

HBO’s Kate Winslet-led limited series “Mare of Easttown” concluded Sunday with a shocking finale that dropped more than one bombshell on the audience, including the identity of Erin McMenamin’s (Cailee Spaeny) killer.

The beginning of the hour led fans to believe that John Ross (Joe Tippett), the husband of Mare’s (Winslet) best friend, Lori (Julianne Nicholson), was the one who murdered Erin — his cousin’s daughter, with whom he was having an affair and secretly fathered a child. But that revelation was debunked towards the end of the episode, which saw Mare figure out the true culprit was Lori and John’s young son, Ryan (Cameron Mann), and John and Lori had lied about the crime to protect his family.

And the reason the preteen had killed Erin was because he thought he was protecting his family, by threatening Erin with a gun to end her affair with his father. Then Ryan shot the gun by accident, killing Erin, and he told his father, who covered it up.

Mann, who is 15 years old now and was 13 when production on “Mare of Easttown” began in 2019, had no idea about this twist when he first signed on to the show.


“The scenes for the initial audition didn’t really reveal much about the character but I knew Kate Winslet was starring in this so I knew it was pretty big-time,” Mann told Entertainment Weekly in a joint interview with Nicholson published Thursday. “Initially I didn’t know that my character would be such a big part in the show. We got Episode 7 just before filming started, and I’d read the other six episodes but I had no idea that this plot twist was coming. Knowing I would play such a key role was super exciting. And much like Ryan I also had to keep it secret for a very long time. No one knew except for my parents.”

Mann says it wasn’t easy keeping that secret, too, because his friends who are “Mare of Easttown” fans were dying to hear about the show.

“It was [hard] because I have so many friends at school who kept asking me to tell them who the killer was,” Mann told EW. “Obviously, I wasn’t just going to tell them that it was me. I wanted them to watch the show and find out for themselves.”

Though Ryan’s arrest was heartbreaking for his mother — and for fans who were saddened to see what had actually happened — Mann says he sees the way Mare ultimately helped Ryan, in a way, by taking him in.

“Yeah I think Ryan was feeling panicked but also some relief. Mare did kind of help him because that secret was really torturing Ryan. He knows that no matter what his mom loves him unconditionally. But that’s also what’s so heartbreaking when he’s taken away in the police car without her. It’s like his childhood is ending right there because his mom can’t fix this.”

Mann said in an Instagram post Thursday that he’s “loved hearing everyone’s theories these past few weeks” about “Mare of Easttown’s” killer, being one of the few people who knew the real answer.

“Now that the finale is out, I can say how cool it has been to be a part of something so special,” Mann wrote. “And to get to work with the incredible @JulianneNicholson and Kate Winslet! I’ve learned so much from these legendary actresses and the entire experience is one I will never forget. Brad Ingelsby—thanks for your crazy imagination! Thanks @craigzobel and Gavin O’Connor for your guidance. I will never ever forget my time as Ryan Ross! Finish the series before reading… ‘It’s Mare. She knows!!'”