Kevin Bacon, star of Showtime’s forthcoming drama City on a Hill, said that he was attracted to the Boston crime thriller as it reminded him of Martin Scorsese and Sidney Lumet movies from the 1970s.
Bacon plays corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran Jackie Rohr in the series, which was written by Chuck MacLean (Boston Strangler) and based on an original idea by Ben Affleck.
Speaking at the Showtime day at TCA, he said, “The thing I loved immediately from reading the pilot was Jackie’s voice, which was something I heard. This world of ‘90s cops and robbers had a gritty vibe to me and was reminiscent of movies I loved in the ‘70s from Scorsese and Sidney Lumet and I felt there wasn’t much on TV in this pocket, there was nothing that felt like this.”
He added that in most crime dramas, the story ends when the work day is done, but in City on a Hill, the story follows his character home.
The 12-part series, executive produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Jennifer Todd, is set in early 1990s Boston when the city was rife with violent criminals emboldened by local law enforcement agencies in which corruption and racism was the norm, until it suddenly all changed. The drama is a fictional account of what was called the “Boston Miracle.” Driving that change is assistant district attorney Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge), who comes from Brooklyn and forms an unlikely alliance with Bacon’s Rohr. Together, they take on a family of armored car robbers from Charlestown in a case that grows to involve, and ultimately subvert, the entire criminal justice system of Boston.
City On A Hill also stars Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom), Mark O’Brien (Halt and Catch Fire), Jill Hennessy (Crossing Jordan), Lauren E. Banks (Instinct), Amanda Clayton (Tyler Perry’s If Loving You Is Wrong), Kevin Chapman (Brotherhood) and Jere Shea (Passion), with Kevin Dunn (Veep) recurring.
Oz and St Elsewhere creator Tom Fontana is showrunner and exec producer. It marks the first time that Fontana has worked with Showtime, and he credited the network with taking risks on the show and open to ideas and stories.
Twenty years on from HBO’s Oz, Fontana said that he doesn’t believe much has changed in the cable world. “I don’t think cable has changed very much,” he told Deadline. “I’d love to be able to claim that I had some great vision for TV over the next 25 years but all I was trying to do was to do Oz as honestly as I could do it. The thing I’m proudest of, which Oz maybe is partially responsible for, is that so many talented men and women who have had ideas have been given a chance to make those series. They don’t owe anything to Oz but it’s a really amazing journey that television has taken since Oz began. All it did was trust the writer, you might get something more interesting than you previously got,” he added.
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