Written by Chuck MacLean (Boston Strangler) based on an original idea by Affleck and MacLean, City On A Hill is set in Boston in the early ’90s when the city was rife with violent criminals emboldened by local law enforcement agencies, in which corruption and racism was the norm, until it all suddenly changed. The drama is a fictional account of what was called the “Boston Miracle” and centers on an African-American District Attorney who comes in from Brooklyn advocating change and the unlikely alliance he forms with a corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran who is invested in maintaining the status quo. Together they take on a family of armored car robbers from Charlestown in a case that grows to encompass and eventually upend Boston’s city-wide criminal justice system.
The project had been in a works for awhile, with Boston native Affleck at one point tipped to direct. Instead, he recruited his The Accountant director O’Connor, who also helmed the pilot for the acclaimed FX drama series The Americans.
“Chuck wrote a pressure-cooker of a script steeped in the tribal codes of a Shakespeare play — family, blood, betrayal, honor,” O’Connor said. “His take on the ties that bind is handled with a deep honesty and insight. I see the show as a brawling thriller — and an intimate family drama — played out on the rough streets of Boston.”
Affleck, Damon and Jennifer Todd (Jason Bourne) executive produce via Pearl Street, along with O’Connor and James Mangold (Logan). Showtime is the studio. Pearl Street developed the project with IMG.
This is Showtime’s first drama pilot order for 2017. The network’s previous drama pilot, The Chi, went to series. The network also has been ordering straight-to-series limited dramas, Including Twin Peaks, Purity starring Daniel Craig and Patrick Melrose starring Benedict Cumberbatch.