For Hightown creator and executive producer Rebecca Cutter, the series is a reflection of what she loves: a “tough guy” story with “ball-breaking language.” The dark Starz crime drama tackles sobriety, Cape Cod’s opioid epidemic and a murder investigation, and Cutter said that we don’t see the female perspective from women in this type of gritty world — and Hightown serves exactly this.
During the show’s TCA panel Tuesday, Cutter was joined by a huge panel including fellow executive producer Gary Lennon, director Rachel Morrison as well as stars Monica Raymund, James Badge Dale, Riley Voelkel, Shane Harper, Amaury Nolasco, Atkins Estimond and Dohn Norwood.
The drama is right up Cutter’s alley as she grew up reading dark crime dramas by authors like Dennis Lehane, and it is told very much from a female perspective even if it is a “tough guy” story. The story hits close to home for Cutter as it has glimpses of her own life as she is sober and has been affected by opioids.
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Raymund, known for her work on Chicago Fire, said her character Jackie Quinones is something very different than Fire‘s Gabriela Dawson. “She’s trying to fill a hole in her life,” she said. “She’s battling inner demons…it’s a character-driven show that centers around a murder.”
Raymund also chimes in about the female perspective of the show and says that it is an interesting time for women in entertainment and what inclusivity looks like — but we are far from parity. “We get to see stories unfold no matter what [kind of body you have],” she said. “It’s fun to give different points of view as a woman.”
But for Cutter, when it comes to women-centric storytelling, she doesn’t chase the marketplace. “I chase the stories that I am interested in,” she said.
Hightown, set in beautiful but bleak Cape Cod, follows one woman’s journey to sobriety, overshadowed by an unfolding murder investigation. Raymund’s Jackie is a hard-partying National Marine Fisheries Service agent, who has her freewheeling life thrown into disarray when she discovers a body on the beach – another casualty of Cape Cod’s opioid epidemic. To deal with the trauma, Jackie takes the first steps toward sobriety until she becomes convinced it’s up to her to solve the murder.
Hightown is created and executive produced by Cutter, with Lennon executive producing with Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed from Jerry Bruckheimer TV. Morrison directed the first two episodes of the series.