Showtime, looking for prestige TV hits, is turning to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The network announced it has picked up the pilot for the one-hour drama City on a Hill. Affleck and Damon will executive produce a script from Chuck MacLean (Boston Strangler), and Gavin O’Connor (The Accountant) set to direct. James Mangold (Logan) and Jennifer Todd (Jason Bourne) will also executive produce the show.
Per the press release, “In the early 90s, Boston was rife with violent criminals emboldened by local law enforcement agencies in which corruption and racism was the norm, and then it all suddenly changed. CITY ON A HILL is a fictional account of what was called the ‘Boston Miracle.’ At the center is an African-American District Attorney who comes in from Brooklyn advocating change and the unlikely alliance he forms with a corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran who is invested in maintaining the status quo. Together they take on a family of armored car robbers from Charlestown in a case that grows to encompass and eventually upend Boston’s city-wide criminal justice system.”
It kind of sounds like The Town but from the perspective of law enforcement, but it will be interesting to see if the assembled talent can elevate this from something that’s supposed to be good because it’s gritty into a story worth telling. Boston crime thrillers are a dime a dozen, so it will be interesting to see if the Affleck, Damon, et al. can devise a show that feels fresh and unique. For his part, O’Connor says of MacLean’s script:
“Chuck wrote a pressure-cooker of a script steeped in the tribal codes of a Shakespeare play — family, blood, betrayal, honor. His take on the ties that bind is handled with a deep honesty and insight. I see the show as a brawling thriller — and an intimate family drama — played out on the rough streets of Boston.”
With this kind of pedigree, I assume Showtime will eventually pick up the show, but we’ll have to wait and see how it all comes together.