Did you catch the series premiere of City on a Hill? If you did, it is highly unlikely you would want to miss the second episode. Televised on Showtime in these United States on Sunday, 23 June 2019, the Ed Bianchi directed episode ‘What They Saw in Southie High,’ is MUST see. There is no narrative recap from last weeks episode. Consequently, if you did not see the series premiere, watch it before you start viewing the second episode.

City on a Hill Promotional Poster
City on a Hill Promotional Poster. Image Credit: IMDb.com

SPOILER ALERT: If you have yet to watch the second episode of City on a Hill, stop reading NOW. There are spoilers ahead. Come back to the article once you have viewed the production.

Even though there is no recap of events that were depicted in the series premiere, the episode does begin with the caption cards that read:

Screen Capture: Taken from the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”FBI agent Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon) is meeting with a confidential informant. The informant, considering the way he is focusing on the ducks around him rather than getting down to business, is more than a tad nervous. “Make Way for Ducklings,” Jimmy Ryan (Mark O’Brien) said to Jackie. “You ever read that to your kids? You’ve got kids? Right?”

Screen Capture: Mark O'Brien and Kevin Bacon as Jimmy Ryan and FBI Agent Jackie Rohr, respectively, in the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”Jackie immediately picks up on how nervous Jimmy is and questions him on it. Jimmy wants money for the information he has. Jimmy wants $20 grand, but it doesn’t look like Jackie is going to bite. After pausing for a moment, possibly weighing his opinions in his head, Jimmy says, “The Ebb Tide.” This is apparently the place where the armoured car high-jackers got their guns.  Is Jimmy referencing The Ebb Tide Restaurant? The Ebb Tide Restaurant was established in 1959. Since this series is set in the 1980s, its possible Jimmy is referring to this establishment.

At the Ebb-tide…

Screen Capture: Taken from the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

When Jackie walks into the Ebb-tide, Mac The Bartender (Tommy Cummings) immediately recognises him for what he is. Consequently, Mac is not inclined to serve him anything. Jackie being Jackie does not take to kindly to being slighted in any way by anyone.

Screen Capture: Tommy Cummings and Kevin Bacon as Mac The Bartender and FBI Agent Jackie Rohr, respectively, in the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

The FBI agent takes a tiny vial out of his jacket pocket. As he taps the content out onto the bar, Jackie tells the bartender, “you know this place you got here … it’s f***ing filthy. You need to get someone to come in here and clean this sh*it up.” The content of the vial Jackie emptied onto the bar was cocaine. After he finishes snorting the drug from the bar surface with a rolled up fifty-dollar bill, the agent concludes his comment by saying, “or you might get a visit by the board of health.”

At Decourcy Ward’s Office…

Screen Capture: Aldis Hodge as ADA Decourcy Ward in the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

Rachel Benham (Sarah Shahi) walks into Assistant District Attorney Decourcy Ward’s (Aldis Hodge) office and begins talking to the ADA and Hank Signa (Jere Shea) about the armoured car case without as much as a formal introduction. It is clear she was under the impression they knew she was coming to work with them. When Decourcy asks her if he can help her, she tells the ADA that she has been assigned to him as an investigator.

As the air begins to thicken between Decourcy and Rachel, Hank tells the ADA he recruited her. He just said nothing about the recruitment until now. A moment later, Jackie walks into the office. When Jackie sees Rachel, he immediately kicks into a racist mode and notes that Decourcy “got one of every colour now.” Ignoring Rachel’s apparent disgust at his racist comment, Jackie asks the ADA about any connections he might know of with the Ebb Tide up in Revere. Decourcy has a folder on a K Kinkicki. Something went down in 1988.

A Back-Alley Meeting…

Detective Hannahan (Robert Wahlberg), packed in a back-alley, takes a moment to gargle mouthwash from a travel size bottle. Before he can spit the mouthwash out of his mouth, Decourcy, Hank and Rachel are standing at the car door. Han is not the type to stand on ceremony. He immediately spits the mouthwash out of his mouth on to the ground in front of his three visitors. While he knows how Decourcy and Hank are, the detective seems to think Rachel is “new at this.”

A Little DIY Can Cover All Sins…

Evidence suggests armoured car heists is not the only thing Frankie Ryan (Jonathan Tucker) is good at. He can also turn his hand to a little DIY when there is the need for hiding the proceeds of a heist. Because he needed a place to stash a significant amount of money, Frankie installs a new medicine cabinet in the restroom of his residence. It’s the standard type of cabinet one sees in almost every home. When he finishes up, he seems pleased with his handy work. Who would think of looking behind the medicine cabinet for the money?

Later in the episode, Jimmy was staring directly at the mirror and did not know the money was behind the cabinet. He was annoyed that Frankie is listening to Cathy Ryan (Amanda Clayton).

A Night on the Town…

Frankie and Jimmy go gambling with some of the money they stole during the latest heist. Even though Jimmy feels more comfortable in a tracksuit, Frankie made him wear a regular suit and tie for the casino. This is not somewhere one would want to be seen in the kind of attire Jimmy likes to walk around town in, that much is certain.

While Frankie and Jimmy are getting busy laundering some of the heist money through the casino, Jackie is getting busy a different way. His enjoyment abruptly ends when he sees something which questions not as much the health of the woman he’s banging, but whether he has contracted a commutable STD. Consequently, he immediately sees a doctor. Dr Gibbs (Andrew Polk) is the typical ER doc. He would rather ask the patient what is wrong than read the chart.

Meanwhile, Frankie and Jimmy leave the casino much drunker than they went into the establishment. What are they going to tell Cathy?

At Decourcy’s Residence…

It’s Sunday morning. The ADA and Siobhan Quays (Lauren E. Banks) are getting ready to attend church. Because Rev. Jasper Fields (Seth Gilliam) is one of Siobhan’s clients, she promised the new ADA would be attending his church services.

The killing is not just on the streets. During the service, as the reverend is delivering his sermon, a young man rushes into the building and proceeds down the aisle. He is closely followed by two youths of a similar age. Gunfire rings out in the church and the parishioners duck for cover.

Screen Capture: Taken from the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

The individual that was followed into the church was shot execution style with a shot to the head. He was shot in the head. As the two shooters make their escape from the church, they both use their jackets to cover the bottom half of their faces. The ADA is stunned by what he witnessed.

It is never easy for anyone, but unlike for Siobhan, Decourcy finds it marginally easier because of his background. The ADA immediately went into work mode. This surprised his wife because she has not the experience he does.

Seeing the police officer was not getting anywhere asking Kayla Wiley (MaYaa Boateng) about the shooters, Decourcy stepped into put questions to the witness. Because of the way he conducted himself with Kayla, she was more forthcoming with answers. Unfortunately, because the shooters covered much of their faces, she could not identify them.

Someone to Talk to…

Decourcy steps out of the church to take a moment to himself. Even though Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest because it is the Sabbath, for Christians, it has been a long hard day. Not long thereafter, Jackie shows up at the church. Even though the ADA tells Jackie he needs to get back in there, when the FBI agent questions whether there is anyone in the church Decourcy can talk to on a personal level, he is somehow lost for words.

Screen Capture: Aldis Hodge as ADA Decourcy Ward in the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

The ADA ends up going for a drink with Jackie. Interestingly, as the two men sit together drinking their respective drinks, we find the issue Decourcy is having a problem with is that he “instinctively put his arms up, instinctively” when the police entered the church. “That was the smart thing to do,” Jackie tells Decourcy. He would have “done the same thing if circumstances were the same but then, [he] looks as guilty as f***.”

“One has to pay at all times, and sometimes, one must pay rather dearly for being honest,” Jackie tells Decourcy. The case the ADA is pursuing will be no cake walk. Along the way, people are going to get hurt.

In the Parking Structure…

You must like a jazz aficionado. It is arguably one of the best genres of music ever created. Nothing beats a little John Coltrane or Miles Davis on a slow morning. Decourcy, when it comes to jazz, knows what’s what and who’s who in the jazz world.

Decourcy is taking a moment to listen to a little jazz when Hank taps on the driver’s seat window to the car. Hank must have thought the ADA was going to spend the day listening to jazz because it did not look like Decourcy had any plans on vacating his seat for any reason.

Books and Covers…

Rachel proves the age-old adage one should never judge a book by its cover. This is a person that has serious investigative skills. She knows how to do the research required to dig dirt up on anyone. In this case, Rachel was able to find a witness that changed his statement. He gave one to the cops on the scene, but when he testified, there was a modification made to what he said. He changed his statement.

How does Mr Hayes own his own home?

Decourcy and Rachel pay a visit to Tommy Hayes (James Michael Cummings). When Decourcy asks about the man in the blue caprice, Tommy realises he does need a lawyer. When Rachel complements Decourcy’s brass, the ADA tells her that he picks his moments. It is not good to show all your cards at the same time. When Rachel makes an off-hand reference to canapes, the scene transitions to the grocery store where Frankie works.

After Frankie finishes helping a customer, Tommy approaches him. He tells Frankie he’s going to need a lawyer. Tommy makes a reference to “our dear dear friend.” I wonder where the writers of the teleplay for this episode got the idea for that phrasing. Did they just pluck it out of the air or was it inspired by current events? Who knows? I am sure someone does. Frankie observes the more important question is “why the f*** are they bringing up Kinkicki now?”

The Community Meeting…

Andre Benjamin (KeiLyn Durrel Jones) greets Siobhan when she arrives with her husband at the meeting. Addressing Decourcy seems to have been an afterthought. Andre did not realise Siobhan was bringing Decourcy with her to the meeting.

Screen Capture: Aldis Hodge as ADA Decourcy Ward in the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

When Decourcy correctly observes he was not the one hiding on Sunday, Jasper calls the ADA a “house n*****.” The term, notably censored for taste because of its inflammatory racial nature, has its roots deep in American history. The status of a house n***** was significantly higher than that of individuals that were forced to work in the fields. It’s interesting, how the reverend would use such a racially charged term when moments earlier, he stated: “The prosecutor chooses which cases are baseless and which accusations are racist.”

At Decourcy’s Residence…

Jackie visits Siobhan to have a quiet word about her husband. The FBI agent does not want Siobhan to push him into investigating the church shooting. Just like her husband, Siobhan is a qualified lawyer. She knows what Jackie is talking about. It is the way things work in Boston.

Is Jimmy Paying Rent Now?

When Cathy sees Jimmy over at the house again, she seems annoyed. Considering how much time he spends there, she wanted to know if he was “paying rent.” Frankie tells Jimmy that Tommy got questioned about Kinkicki. When he realises Frankie gave Tommy the money he needs for a lawyer, he becomes enraged. This could be the reason Jimmy tells Jackie where the armoured car was dumped.

Screen Capture: Taken from the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

Jimmy finally comes around to giving Jackie the location of the armoured car. Because it was in the first place anyone would look, consequently, no one bothered looking for it there. It was in the river.

Screen Capture: Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge, Jere Shea and Sarah Shahi as FBI Agent Jackie Rohr, ADA Decourcy Ward, Hank Signa and Rachel Benham, respectively, in the Ed Bianchi directed City on a Hill episode “What They Saw in Southie High”

The tail end of the episode saw Jackie, Decourcy, Rachel and Hank are standing by the river when the crane operator lifts the armoured truck from the river. The armoured car, coupled with the water inside it, was too heavy for the crane to handle. Consequently, the armoured car dropped back into the river.