Showtime’s Boston-based crime drama City On A Hill may take place in the 1990s, but today’s conversations about racism and police corruption will find relevance in the series’ upcoming second season, executive producer and showrunner Tom Fontana revealed.
On Tuesday, Fontana joined Aldis Hodge, Kevin Bacon, Jill Hennessy, Pernell Walker and Lauren E. Banks, and executive producer Jennifer Todd to tease the sophomore season. While season two won’t explicitly cite the Black Lives Matter movement or George Floyd’s murder, given that it’s set in the 90s, Fontana said the City On a Hill team has approached the season’s storylines with a current-day lens.
“We went back to the scripts and did another draft of every script with the input of all the actors to make sure that we were reflecting what was going on in America now but with perspective of it being in the 90s,” Fontana said. “We couldn’t say things like “defund the police” or “Black Lives Matter” because those terms didn’t exist in the 1990s, but we tried to indicate those situations as best as we could.”
Season two centers on a federal housing project in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston that is plagued with drug violence and a rightful distrust in local law enforcement. As coalition leader Grace Campbell (Walker) works tirelessly on behalf of the community, her efforts are undermined by gang activity happening right under her nose. Irreverent FBI agent Jackie Rohr (Bacon)seeks to exploit Boston’s defective criminal justice system in a desperate attempt to salvage his own career. Unfortunately for Jackie, assistant district attorney Decourcy Ward (Hodge) is onto his adversary’s latest misstep.
With conversations about corruption in law enforcement and racial injustice from 90s echoing today, Hodge said there’s no escaping the societal issues. “There’s overt racism now and we’re experiencing it in a major way,” he added.
While Hodge said he can’t completely separate his own personal experiences from his character’s, the One Night In Miami actor said he’s fortunate enough to create avenues to address his needs and to communicate with viewers about the broader topics.
“This show is one of those venues where I can communicate what’s going on, how it is going on. Even though it is set in the 90s we’re still living this in 2021. I’m proud to go to work everyday and be able to set into Decourcy’s shoes with his mission to show what the fight is, how to fight in a different perspective, how to fight from inside,” he said.
City on a Hill is executive produced by Tom Fontana, who also serves as showrunner. In addition, the Showtime drama is executive produced by Jennifer Todd, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jorge Zamacona Barry Levinson, Chuck MacLean and Michael Cuesta. Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge and Michele Giordano serve as co-executive producers.
The Showtime crime drama returns for season two on Sunday, March 28 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Watch the teaser for the new season above.