- HBO's The Outsider just introduced the character Holly Gibney.
- Holly has been portrayed on another TV series, Audience Network's Mr. Mercedes.
- The character appears in multiple Stephen King novels.
Last night, HBOs The Outsider introduced the unique Holly Gibney, a character who knows a lot of things about cars and a little something about the occult, which, she admits, probably includes herself. Her name is one that die-hard Stephen King loyalists will almost surely recognize, as her character has already been adapted into the Audience Network's Mr. Mercedes seriesalthough, as you can see in the above image, the two portrayals are pretty different.
Gibney, in fact, is no one-off character in the Stephen King universe. In addition to her supporting role in The Outsider (while she enters the show in the third episode of ten, it takes about 300 pages for her to show up in the book), she appears throughout his Bill Hodges series. That series is a detective trilogy, also written by King, composed of Mr. Mercedes (2014) Finders Keepers (2015) and End of Watch (2016) (She will also appear in the upcoming If it Bleeds). In the trilogy, Holly assists retired detective Bill Hodges in tracking a serial killer. Shes described as a computer genius in her forties, and its implied that Holly has been diagnosed with some form of OCD, or perhaps Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In the novels, Gibney is white. She's played in the Audience Network series, Mr. Mercedes, based on the first of the Holly Gibney book, by Justine Lupe (also known as Willa on HBO's Succession). So, yes, if the name Holly Gibney seems familiar, then you probably watch far too much television. If not, know that hers is a character with multiple screen portrayals.
Is she any different in HBOs The Outsider? Like in the Audience Network series, Holly is also portrayed as affected by some form of OCD or ASD. Played by Cynthia Erivo, Hollys character was written to be separate from the portrayal in Mr. Mercedes, as Outsider showrunner Richard Price explained that hed never read the book or watched the show; he wanted to create the character fresh. (Apparently the only thing King insisted to Price was that Holly keep her name.)
So Price wanted to slightly differentiate his Outsider Holly from the Holly of Mr. Mercedes, the Bill Hodges series, and her appearances in King's other novels and short stories. Still, knowing that her character would be associated with similar developmental disorders like ASD, Erivo didnt want Holly to be a caricature .
Though she's only been in one episode thus far, we can't wait to see where Erivo goes with the hyper-intelligent Holly.