‘City on a Hill’: Kevin Bacon Teases ‘Power Shift’ for Jackie & Decourcy in Season 3

Kevin Bacon as Jackie Rohr in City on a Hill
Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME

Now that Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon) is no longer with the FBI and has thrown his badge into the Boston Harbor, what’s next for him? If you ask his wife, Jenny (Jill Hennessy), it’s not what he’s doing when City on a Hill Season 3 begins.

But Jackie does soon get a new job, working security for Sinclair (guest star Corbin Bernsen) and his family, which will test him. And with the new gig comes a new dynamic with ADA Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge), not that the two will ever really trust one another.

Here, Bacon catches us up on where we find Jackie in Season 3.

Jackie’s no longer with the FBI. How’s he handling that when the season begins? Does he miss it at all?

Kevin Bacon: I don’t know. He convinces himself that nothing’s ever wrong with him in Jackie’s world, you know what I mean? But yeah, I think, deep down, he probably misses it. He’s tending a little bar, picking up some shifts. He’s basically sitting on the couch and drinking beer and not really doing much and I think the one that really misses it is Jenny. I think his wife misses him being out of the house, so that’s when just kind of serendipitously the Corbin Bernsen character shows up and offers him a job.

That security gig is something he’d mentioned wanting back in Season 1, right?

Yeah, in Season 1, he says, “A few years down the line, I’m going to get this done, I’m going to retire, I’m going to go into private security, make a mint, and it’s going to be easy.” So basically it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy which goes terribly wrong.

Kevin Bacon as Jackie Rohr and Corbin Bernsen as Sinclair Dryden in City on a Hill

Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME

Talk about the Jackie and Sinclair dynamic. In the trailer, Sinclair remarks that he could depend on Jackie when he was running the Boston bureau and that’s why he wants to hire him, so is Sinclair going to take advantage of that or at least think he can?

Yeah, I think that he thinks the Jackie is one of those trustworthy dudes, that he can do his bidding, that Jackie is going to look the other way, be part of that sort of old boys network and not call Sinclair out for the crimes that he’s committing.

What does Jackie think of the Sinclair he’s seeing now versus the one from back then?

I think it’s really disappointing. Jackie looked up to Sinclair. And although he would never want to admit it, because he, in theory, has a kind of disdain for people of privilege and rich people, I think that there’s a part of him that that goes, “Yeah, I wish that was my life. I wish I was living in a big house in Beacon Hill and had a hot young wife.” It’s very disappointing to him when the truth comes out about who Sinclair is, and that obviously puts him at a very, very interesting moral crossroads.

Kevin Bacon as Jackie Rohr and Aldis Hodge as Decourcy Ward in City on a Hill

Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME

What’s Jackie and Decourcy’s dynamic like this season, given the job change ?

There’s a little bit of a power shift there. I think that Jackie really needs Decourcy a lot more than Decourcy needs Jackie this season. So it’s up to Jackie to use his powers of persuasion to get Decourcy on board with going after Sinclair. There’s nothing better than the scenes I get to play with Aldis Hodge. He’s so good, and I think that dynamic between those characters, even though we’re not exactly in the same worlds, we’re not really in the same neighborhoods — Decourcy doesn’t overlap that much this year with Beacon Hill, he rolls over there, once in a while — we still have a lot of great stuff that we get to play together and that’s one of the great benefits of this show.

Can Jackie ever earn Decourcy’s trust?

I don’t know. Can Jackie earn anybody’s trust? I guess he can. That’s the question. I think there’s a part of Decourcy that very, very begrudgingly is not 100 percent dismissive of Jackie. If he was, he wouldn’t have to see him. He’s a strong guy. He’s a smart guy. He’s trying to use Jackie to the extent that he needs him, but at the same time, he is part of a group that was kind of getting things done in a way. Jackie does have a way of kind of working his way in and getting things done, and he also has his finger on the pulse very directly of Boston and of crime and cops and law enforcement in Boston. I think Decourcy would very begrudgingly admit that there were things that he could learn from Jackie.

Kevin Bacon as Jackie Rohr in City on a Hill

Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME

Then there’s the question of if Jackie can trust him because of their different morals.

Yes. I think Jackie is inherently a mistrustful sort of person. He kind of needs to be, that’s a self-preservation kind of thing, I think, and certainly in some ways, someone that has a very, very low moral bar is often threatened by people that are trying to do the right thing. I think they look at that as a threat in a strange sort of way. That’s partly guilt, I think, about the way that they’re living their lives, and I think Jackie is a perfect example of that, so yeah, he looks at Decourcy and goes, he does have a morality to him and I don’t. [Laughs]

I was going to say Jackie and ethical will probably never belong in the same sentence without the word “not” in there, but is there anything about this season that could change that?

Seeing what Sinclair has done with young women makes Jackie think about Benedetta [Lucia Ryan], about his daughter, and maybe in some ways will give him a little bit of pause in terms of the way that he treats women and certainly young women, I guess, I don’t know. I think that if Jackie ever had a come-to-Jesus moment, the show’s pretty much over.

Speaking of his daughter, how is that dynamic this season with her out of the house?

Yeah, out of the house, in college, it’s an empty nest, so what does that do to Jackie’s relationship with her and what does that do to his relationship with Jenny, being just in the house with Jenny? You see it all the time and in people — people that I know, we went through it and there’s a lot of other people that I know that have kids are going through that right now. I think that letting her go and letting her go to NYU and letting her have a relationship with Faust [David Iacono], a young handsome dude, is tough for him. He is nothing if he’s not a protective dad and she is ready to fly.

Kevin Bacon as Jackie Rohr and Jill Hennessy as Jenny Rohr in City on a Hill

Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME

How’s his and Jenny’s marriage? With their daughter gone, there isn’t that reason to stay together…

She [gives him] a little bit of a comeuppance. She kind of calls his bluff in this season and does something — it’s a giant spoiler — that he never expected that she would ever do, and it truly comes as a shock to him, and I think that in and of itself is rocking his world. Are they going to survive? Will this marriage survive? I don’t know. That’s a tough one.

I thought at this point, nothing would break apart that marriage, but it sounds like something could?

It does feel like that, doesn’t it? Listen, I think most marriages don’t work, right? I don’t know what the statistics are, but when you take two people as volatile and as strong as Jackie and Jenny, there’s a lot that can go wrong there, and once Benedetta is gone and in college, people, as you know, stay together because of children, time and time again, and once those kids are cooked — which, by the way, as a sidebar, they never are — but once at least they’re out of the house, who knows? I think that’s a moment when a lot of marriages start to fall apart.

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In what part of his life — professional or personal — do you think Jackie will most surprise fans this season?

I think the fact that he’s faced with a do the right thing situation and he does — badly — the right thing … he does a lot of terrible things all season, but in terms of calling out a crime where he sees it and sacrificing his job and money and power, influence, all those things, focus for his retirement, he does actually make the less selfish choice.

And that’s like all the things he cares about!

Exactly, yeah. [Laughs] Those are all the things he cares about. Well, not all the things. There are some other things.

City on a Hill, Season 3 Premiere, Sunday, July 31, 10/9c, Showtime