Starz debuted a new drama this month called Hightown, about a fisheries agent and party girl in Provincetown, Massachusetts, named Jackie Quinones (Monica Raymund) who finds herself embroiled in the local opioid epidemic when she finds a body in Cape Cod Bay. Jackie butts heads with local cop Ray Abruzzo (James Badge Dale) as they try to figure out how the dead woman connects to several local, shady figures.
The Actors Were Drawn to the Dark Realism of the Writing
Speaking with Raymund and Dale at the 2020 Television Critics Association winter press tour, the actors said that they really responded to creator Rebecca Cutter’s writing, saying that she has created this very realistic portrayal of a town with a dark side, of the drug epidemic, of a woman battling addiction demons.
“It’s just a very open, intense, realistic world and portrayal of circumstances really going on today,” said Dale, with Raymund adding, “I found [Jackie] very compelling as well — trying to navigate the world while you’re just trying to get a little bit from air. You feel like you’re drowning. And whether it’s getting sober, or whether it’s finding out who killed this girl, or whether it’s getting down to the bottom of something, there’s this drive in this character that comes with perpetual mobility, right? It’s like that motor of her as it keeps going and going and going. That’s interesting to me.”
Dale echoed Raymund’s sentiments about his character, saying that Ray is someone who is “so obsessed with his work” that he’s “completely lost sight of a normal life.”
The show certainly begins with a crime at its center, but, as Dale said, it’s not a whodunit mystery. It’s more about “the effects and repercussions of an act.”
“It’s the collateral damage that happens with everybody for being involved in this — because every character in the show has had something to do with [the victim].”
Jackie and Ray Are On a Collision Course
In that vein, creator Rebecca Cutter told Heavy that the twists and turns come more in the form of how Jackie and Ray approach the crime differently — and they are certainly on a collision course in the first season of the show.
“‘Collision Course’ is the word that I like to use. It’s certainly rocky. I think Ray is dismissive of Jackie’s capabilities. She’s not really a cop. We know there’s obviously this sort of chip on her shoulder thing about being called a ‘fish cop.'” said Cutter. “And you know, she sort of goes on this journey very much on her own, and it’s really fun to see her how she does it without the long arm of the law on her side. But ultimately, it’s funny because they actually are very similar characters and they have a lot of the same pathos, so there’s some buddying up that happens later. But it’s certainly not Starsky and Hutch.”
Hightown airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.
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