Roush Review: 'City on a Hill' Is a Familiar Crime Drama With Unpredictable Energy

Matt Roush
Review Claire Folger/SHOWTIME

Jerks have all the fun — or at least that's how it seems in the '90s-set crime drama City on a Hill that, despite thick Boston accents and local color, is as generic as its title and twice as clichéd.

Kevin Bacon struts in full debauched swagger as crooked FBI agent Jackie Rohr, hopped up on booze and coke while throwing profanely racist shade and cheating on his wife (poor Jill Hennessy). When this cocky but tiresome schmuck crosses paths with impossibly noble ADA Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge), a straight-arrow crusader who's fresh from a commission seeking jail time for dirty cops, it seems more like an opportunity for odd-couple farce than gritty procedural action.

Kevin Bacon on Letting Loose as 'City on a Hill's FBI Agent Jackie Rohr

Kevin Bacon on Letting Loose as 'City on a Hill's FBI Agent Jackie Rohr

Plus, he talks about working with showrunner Tom Fontana.

Jonathan Tucker and Mark O'Brien in City on a Hill (Credit: Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME)

But as the series slowly progresses — I've only previewed the first three of 10 episodes, which didn't leave me wanting more — they will join forces to take down a crew of working-class armored-truck robbers led by Frankie Ryan (Jonathan Tucker), a grocer by day whose hothead brother Jimmy (Mark O'Brien, also making the most of being a creep) could be their downfall.

The scenes involving the Ryans, including an impressive Amanda Clayton as Frankie’s greedy moll of a wife, at least have an unpredictable energy. The rest of this City feels as grindingly familiar as yesterday's tabloid headline. 

City on a Hill, Series Premiere, Sunday, June 23, 9/8c, Showtime