I really want to like City on a Hill. And if you put all the little pieces together, the formula should work for me.
First, there’s the main character. Young black lawyer, righteous, wanting to rip apart corruption in 1990s Boston. He even has a cool name. DeCourcy Ward. Other than a few cameos I’ve seen him in, none of them memorable, I don’t know his work, but he’s decent enough.
Second, let’s throw in an FBI agent who’s moving and shaking in the area. With another cool name, Jackie Rohr. Team them up, now you got something to work with. Except that he’s a bigot, it should be fine, right? And he’s played by Kevin Bacon? That seems like a no-brainer. Well, okay, maybe not that horrible attempt at an accent. Meh.
And we’re going to need a bad guy, right? How about Jonathan Tucker as Frankie Ryan, a guy working in a grocery store with produce by day and robbing armored cars by night. Tucker was awesome back in the day in The Black Donnelly’s, and he gets to re-embrace his cinematic roots again.
Then, just for fun, how about we sprinkle a bunch of other well-known faces around:
- Mark O’Brian as Frankie’s idiot brother and federal snitch…I had trouble recognizing as Des from Republic of Doyle, I admit, but nice to see him here;
- Jill Hennessy from Law and Order and from Crossing Jordan plays Jackie’s rough around the edges wife, and I like her in most (but not all) things;
- Kevin Chapman pays a Boston PD detective, and I haven’t seen him much since playing Fusco on Person of Interest, definitely a plus, and he is GREAT in the first episode;
And Michael O’Keefe is in the opening as another FBI agent, and I was disappointed to see he’s not in other episodes.
So lots of familiar faces. None of them doing anything worth watching.
There’s an armored truck robbery, people get shot, there’s a strong slow contemplative feel to the show, not just bam bam, chase the bad guys. Conflict. Motives. Principles of law and order. Righteousness vs. getting the job done.
And I just didn’t care. I don’t care about DeCourcy and whatever is going on with his wife’s desire to climb social ladders. I don’t care about Jackie and who he is married to vs. who he is sleeping with. I don’t even care about Frankie and his desire to do right by his extended family. And it’s Showtime, so they can swear a blue streak all they want, it doesn’t make it interesting.
It’s on Showtime, so the economics of the show are different, but I’m going to predict CANCELLATION.