‘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.