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Hightown Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Creator: Rebecca Perry Cutter
Stars: Monica Raymund, Riley Voelkel, Shane Harper
Opening Shot: Two women are talking in a car. One is sucking on a pot lollipop, and offers her friend a lick. The friend just got out of rehab, and she’s trying to stay sober.
The Gist: The girl with the weed pop, Sherry Henry (Masha King) is expecting a surprise from her jailed beau, Frankie Cuevas (Amaury Nolasco), but instead she gets two bullets in the head and gets dumped in the bay near Provincetown, in Cape Cod. The woman she was with went to pee in some tall weeds, and we see her cowering there as it all happens.
In Provincetown, we see Jackie Quiñones (Monica Raymund), an agent in the National Marine Fisheries Service, out on patrol and she’s completely hung over; she and her partner Ed Murphy (Mike Pniewski) are about to bust lobster fishermen for netting “eggers” and too-small lobster but they both decide that the paperwork is too much and let them go. One of the fishermen is Jackie’s friend Junior McCarthy (Shane Harper).
Provincetown is hopping because of Carnival, and Jackie just wants to get drunk and high and hook up with someone. She manages to do just that and, right around dawn the next morning, leaves the girl’s motel room and sits on the beach, when she sees a body washed up in the bay. The local cops are called, but also called are state police detectives Ray Abruzzo (James Badge Dale) and Alan Saintille (Dohn Norwood). They deal with narcotics cases and act as a helping hand to the local cops, but when they both see the body is Sherry, who is one of their informants, Ray goes off and starts his own investigation, starting with Cuevas.
He knows Cuevas didn’t do this, since he’s in prison but may know who did, either to impress him or at his own orders in order to plug the leak to the cops. He threatens to have the mother of his son Frankie Jr. (Rumi C. Jean-Louis) put away and for Frankie Jr. to go into the system, but Frankie Sr. doesn’t budge. So Ray goes to his son’s mother, Renee Shaw (Riley Voelkel), a local stripper. He ropes her into a soliciting beef in order to get some information; he even goes to her house with coffee and donuts to show he’s on the level (or to threaten her, whichever works better).
Back in P-town, Jackie is having nightmares about finding Sherry’s body. To compensate, she hooks up with a reveler at the Carnival parade. While driving her truck, all drugged up and with her hands in the other woman’s pants, she flips her car. The girl in the passenger seat is OK but in the hospital, and Jackie winds up in jail. Ed bails her out and wants her to go to rehab. She objects but he says it might be the only way she escapes a felony charge. She finally goes to rehab and starts breaking down in front of the psychiatrist, despite putting up a tough front, though she still doesn’t think she has a problem.
Renee visits Frankie Sr. in prison, and he asks her to get a little closer to Ray, and when we see Jackie at an AA meeting in rehab, we see the picture of Krista Collins (Crystal Lake Evans), the woman with Sherry the night she was killed.
Our Take: Hightown is one of those shows that is just kind of there, you know what I mean? There’s nothing glaringly wrong with it, just as there’s nothing so intriguing about it that you want to watch it week-to-week or even binge it once Starz has aired all the episodes. It’s just a fairly standard murder mystery/police procedural set against the backdrop of a town that most people outside the northeast, or the LGBTQIA+ community, know much about.
The series was created by Rebecca Cutter, perhaps best known for Gotham, and it’s one of those shows where you might hear someone say “The location is one of the characters.” Jerry Bruckheimer is one of the executive producers. The show was shot in and around P-town, and Cutter leans into its reputation as a party town and a safe haven for the gay community. “It’s a lesbian Shangri-La,” Jackie tells the psychiatrist in rehab, and, at least in her case, that might be her downfall.
We’ve seen the trope of the hard-partying cop who is more or less put on the path of sobriety or some sort of life redemption by the case he or she just can’t shake. This may be the first time we’ve seen that hard-partying cop be a “fish cop,” as Junior’s boss calls Jackie when she finds them later at her favorite watering hole. But it just shows what people are concerned with in P-town: Partying and fishing, in that order. And Cutter does a good job of capturing that provincial feeling, right down to the Patriots sweatshirt Ed wears to bail her out.
Ray’s side of the story feels like a standard-grade cop drama, and as quirky as he might be, we’re more interested in seeing how Jackie gets involved with the case in an effort to get the image of Sherry’s bloated body out of her head as well as a way to occupy herself as she tries to stay sober. How will she do it while still trying to party and hook up in her party-tastic hometown? To us, that’s where the rubber meets the road for Hightown.
Sex and Skin: Lots. Lots and lots and lots. From sex scenes between Jackie and her hook-ups, to lots of skin at Carnival to the fact that Jackie’s landlord waters his flowers while wearing a t-shirt and Speedo. But, because of where the show takes place, most of it feels matter-of-fact and not gratuitous.
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