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'City on a Hill' review: Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge headline Boston crime drama

Kevin Bacon, left, as Jackie Rohr and Aldis

Kevin Bacon, left, as Jackie Rohr and Aldis Hodge as Decourcy Ward in Showtime's "City On a Hill." Photo Credit: SHOWTIME/Francisco Roman

'City on a Hill' premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime

Odd couples come with a built-in magnetism, and the unlikely duo at the core of “City on a Hill” — a crime drama set in early 1990s Boston — is shaping up to be a wicked pissah.

Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge star, respectively, as Jackie Rohr, a veteran FBI agent as cocksure as he is crooked, and Decourcy Ward, an unflinchingly upright new assistant district attorney, who’s black and from Brooklyn. The series premieres on Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

Instant antagonists, the men unite to clean up violent crime. They start with a family of armored-car robbers led by Frankie Ryan (an ace Jonathan Tucker), a grocery clerk raising a family when he’s not pulling heists that recall Ben Affleck’s “The Town.” The team’s investigation eventually expands.

Laced with grit and humor, randy sex and twisty reveals (one is a true eyepopper), this fictionalized take on a slice of Beantown history created by Chuck MacLean and executive produced by Tom Fontana and Affleck gets a lift from sturdy chemistry between Bacon and Hodge.

Rich supporting characters spice the atmosphere in the three episodes made available. That includes Jackie’s long-suffering wife, Jenny (Jill Hennessy); Decourcy’s spouse, Siobhan (Lauren E. Banks), a successful lawyer whose job could conflict with his; and Frankie’s no-B.S. missus, Cathy (Amanda Clayton), who’s not above getting her hands dirty. Frankie’s out-of-control brother Jimmy (Mark O’Brien) looks like trouble.

As the show trains its eye on various institutions — justice, religion, marriage, family, among them — Jackie stays constant. “I treat everyone the same — bad,” he says.

“City on a Hill,” meanwhile, gets off to a good start.


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