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Hulu Renews ’Harlots’ for a Second Season of Bawdy Prostitution

TCA: The battle of the brothels will continue in 1760s Georgian London.

Eloise Smyth, "Harlots"

Eloise Smyth, “Harlots”

Hulu

Get ready for more betrayals and bawdy behavior. “Harlots” will be back for another season.

On Thursday, Hulu’s SVP of Content Craig Erwich announced at the Television Critics Association press tour that it had renewed the prostitution drama for a second season. Set in 1760s Georgian London, the series focuses on the how the city became a hub for lucrative prostitution.

At the center of “Harlots” is Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton), a brothel owner for the people who grew up in the business herself. Her chief rival is Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), a madam who tries to set her prostitutes apart by giving them education and then charging a pretty penny to her higher-ranking clientele.

When last we left them, Margaret was dealing with her two daughters, who also followed her into the family whoring business. Lucy (Eloise Smyth) had killed a nobleman client (Hugh Skinner), while elder daughter Charlotte (“Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay) betrayed her family and defected to Quigley’s business.

"Harlots"

“Harlots”

Liam Daniel/Hulu

While Margaret saw pimping out her own daughters as nurturing and a smart business move — after all, as daughters of a prostitute, what other profession was there for them? — it’s clear that doing so was not without consequences. Charlotte has held resentment for it, and blames her mother for also forcing Lucy. It also didn’t help that in helping Lucy evade the law, Margaret put Charlotte in danger.

While Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” has rightfully gained attention for painting a bleak and possible future for women, in a way “Harlots” has been its sleeper hit companion series. Despite being set in 1760s Georgian London, “Harlots” also shares similar themes, such as women’s agency, reproductive rights, and freedom to own property and work their own businesses.

Season 1 of “Harlots” is currently available for streaming on Hulu. Season 2 will return in 2018.

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