What do you think of the latest episode of the Chuck MacLean created period crime drama City on a Hill? Set in Boston during the 1990s, the series revolves around DeCourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge) and Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon). DeCourcy is an assistant district attorney new to the city and Jackie is a corrupt venerated FBI agent. While these two characters have significant differences, they find common ground so that they can work together on bringing down corruption deep within the heart of the city.

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 latest episode, stop reading now. There are spoilers…

City on a Hill

At the beginning of the episode, we find “the investigation into the church shooting has yielded no convictions.” Consequently, “dedicated members of the community are moving to organize the Genesis Coalition.” Meanwhile, in Florida, “Jimmy Ryan (Mark O’Brien) has been arrested in Miami by the FBI on a drug charge.” Is Jimmy’s arrest connected to anything unfolding in Boston?

It does not take long for Jimmy to realise the venerated FBI agent is not someone one should cross without giving it serious thought. Even though Jimmy may have believed the bodies were in the back of the submerged truck, he should have made sure they were there before he told Jackie where he could find the vehicle. It’s called due diligence. Most people understand this concept. It’s a shame Jimmy doesn’t get it. Something else Jimmy is unlikely to get is his $18,000 back from Jackie. I guess that’s the price one pays for not covering your arse.

Everyone Has Nightmares…

The scene transitions to one of Catherine ‘Kick’ Ryan (Blake Baumgartner) having a nightmare. Her father, Frankie Ryan (Jonathan Tucker), tried to comfort her. Close by, at the door of the bedroom, Cathy Ryan (Amanda Clayton) is listening to her daughter tell Frankie about her nightmare. The nightmare revolves around there being burned bodies. One of the burned bodies is uncle Jimmy.

At Kick’s School…

At Kick’s school, Cathy speaks with Kate Southworth (Haviland Morris). The teacher tells Cathy that “Catherine has been sleeping in class.” Kick has been talking to the teacher about her nightmares.

City on a Hill

Cathy reminds Southworth the school did not bother to call her when Kick was assaulted by a fellow student. Even though the incident was not handled properly, the teacher said that the boy has been reprimanded. Despite this point, Southworth then tries to justify the boy’s actions because Kick apparently agitated him. Anyone can justify anything until they are on the receiving end. It should not matter that Kick agitated her attacker, there is no justification for hitting anyone in the face with a hockey stick. Cathy takes offence Southworth suggesting Kick talk to the school counsellor.

At home, Cathy tries to tell Kick she can speak to her about anything, but her approach is somewhat abrasive. Consequently, Kick has no interest in speaking with her mother about anything. If Cathy wants to get through to Kick, her approach needs to change. What would I know about children and speaking with them? Parenting is more than merely giving birth to a child, my mother frequently told me.

A Difference of Opinion…

That evening, even though Cathy tells Frankie about the teacher wanting Kick to see the school counsellor and has put a stop to it, he disagrees. Frankie feels it would be good for Kick to see the counsellor about whatever it is that’s presenting her from sleeping. Cathy expected him to support her position. Because he doesn’t support her, Cathy is angered.

Digging for Evidence…

City on a Hill

It’s evident from the way the state crime lab’s forensics expert is talking to Rachel Benham (Sarah Shahi), he does like how she is constantly riding his arse for him to get his job done as professionally as possible. If he does not want to work forensics correctly, one should seriously consider a new line of work, maybe a job that does not require meticulous attention to detail would be better fitting.

The Grand Jury…

City on a Hill

DeCourcy is approaching the grand jury in the same way he would a trial. It’s not a trail. Jackie correctly observes the assistant district attorney is not looking for a conviction. He needs to ask the questions that attain the best results so that the case can move forward. Even though the armoured car case is not directly tied to the Kinicki case, Jackie wants DeCourcy to pose questions which will lead the grand jury in that direction.

During the grand jury testimony given by Tommy Hayes (James Michael Cummings), the assistant district attorney puts questions to the part-time roofer that makes him stumble over his words. During a court case, Tommy changed his testimony from that which he gave during a prior police interview. In that interview, he did not mention to police anything about a car, the model or the colour of that car. Consequently, DeCourcy is curious as to why Tommy changed his testimony. The assistant district attorney wants to know what it is Tommy is hiding.

Later, during a second grand jury testimony, the assistant district attorney pushes the witness to answer questions pertaining to the armoured car robberies. Consequently, because of the line of questioning, Sheik Sheehan (Lucas Van Engen) attacks DeCourcy in full view of the grand jury. Because nothing is ever a secret for long in Boston, Cathy learns from a court reporter Sheik attacked the prosecutor. Cathy consequently relays this information to her husband.

What is Wrong with Rev. Jasper Fields…

 Seth Gilliam

There is something disturbingly off about the Rev. Jasper Fields (Seth Gilliam). Even though this is a man of the cloth, in a previous episode, he called DeCourcy “a house n****r” to his face. Do you not find it odd that such a person would resort to using such language? Later, when Siobhan Quays (Lauren E. Banks) calls the reverend on how he spoke to her husband,  Fields questioned whether the assistant district attorney had pressured her into speaking to him about the incident.

City on a Hill

Later, Kayla Wiley (MaYaa Boateng) speaks with Siobhan about the reverend. Kayla speaks of a time when Fields made comments about her swimsuit. This was four years ago. The church had sent a group to Haiti. “The reverend said he wished he had a camera so that he could enjoy her figure a little longer,” Kayla told Siobhan. Even though there is no evidence of the reverend making such a request, it sounds like something Fields would say.

At the Meeting…

In a public meeting, Siobhan asks for attendees to tell their stories. She wants to know what drew them to attend the meeting. Close to the beginning of the meeting, DeCourcy enters the room. The assistant district attorney attending the meeting does not slip Fields’ attention.

Fields speaks about how the city has failed them. When Maurice Jones (Leland Fowler) shows contempt for what the reverend expressed, Fields took offence. Seeing Fields begin to speak to the meeting attendee in the same way he had previously spoken to her husband, Siobhan cuts into the discourse and gives the attention of the meeting to Maurice. A smile immediately passes over DeCourcy’s face.

Maurice talks about a young girl named Tiffani Moore. For years ago, she visited her mother for the weekend. During the visit, she is hit by a stray bullet. Maurice believes nothing has changed in the past four years. People of good conscience need to step up and do something meaningful.

Siobhan vividly recalls the young girl Maurice speaks of during the meeting. Tiffani was 12 years old when she was accidentally shot and killed. “A child gunned down randomly is the height of senseless violence,” Siobhan said. “No mother should have to grieve her daughter for something like that.”

Crossing a Line…

During a one on one meeting between Siobhan and Fields, the reverend begins to speak of Siobhan’s appearance. While it did not look like Siobhan believe what Kayla was saying earlier that day, when Fields says Siobhan “is cute when she argues,” Siobhan begins to think that there must be something to Kayla’s allegations.


 Seth Gilliam

When the reverend says Siobhan “would give Vanessa Williams a run for her money in that dress,” it prompts her to mention to the reverend the conversation she had with Kayla. Fields offers up a seriously flimsy explanation for what he may or may not have said to Kayla during the church’s Haiti trip. When he suggests he speak with Kayla about the matter, for legal reasons and the sake of the coalition, Siobhan immediately shuts the reverend down. If the reverend thinks he can tangle Siobhan without getting his feet burned, he is seriously mistaken.

Jackie is Mugged…

Did you see the brief scene where Jackie is attacked by two muggers? This scene shows the streets of Boston, especially during the period in which the series is set, is not a safe place for anyone to roam alone. Instead of taking his wallet, his gun and his badge, when the muggers discovered Jackie is law enforcement, they ran off. The incident left the FBI agent with a minor facial injury.

Jenny wants a Life of Her Own…

Jill Hennessy

Jenny Rohr (Jill Hennessy) returns to her church to speak with Father Dermot Doyle (Mark Ryder) because she is seeking advice about her future. She is tired of being a stay-at-home mother. Jenny wants to go back to school so that she can complete her teaching degree. Sometimes, while there is no reversing many of the choices we make during our lives, there are times when we can change the course of our lives. Because there are a million directions one can go in life, one’s true path is never set in stone until the end. This is something Jenny will have to learn if she wants to break free of her current situation.

Doyle suggests to Jenny she considers volunteering at the Catholic school one or two days per week. “The teachers are understaffed and overworked,” Doyle tells Jenny. Consequently, they could use her help. While this could be good for Jenny, Jackie might not agree with his wife spending more time away from home. Jackie is one of those men that believes a woman’s place is in the home. It’s the early 1990s. Despite the series being set in the early 1990s, there are still men that feel a woman’s place is the home. The only place such arcane beliefs belong in the past.

Jill Hennessy

Later, when Jenny tells Jackie her good news, a look passes between him and their daughter which the college hopeful immediately picks up on. Their expressions suggest they do not believe Jenny capable becoming a teacher.

Jackie warns Doyle Off…

Not surprisingly, Jackie speaks with Doyle about his apparent interest in Jenny. Without Jackie having to mention either his wife’s name or his own, Doyle immediately knows he is talking about Jenny. Consequently, Jackie jumps to the conclusion Doyle only has eyes for his wife.

Kevin Bacon

The story Jackie recites doesn’t resemble anything approaching justice. Jackie tells Doyle, come Sunday morning, the collection plate will reflect decently on him. All Doyle must do is stray away from his wife.

Jenny doesn’t buy into Doyle’s Explanation…

Jill Hennessy

When Jenny arrives at the school, moments after settling into the classroom, Doyle arrives. Doyle tells Jenny there are complications with the school’s insurance. The Catholic Church is very particular when it comes to legal matters. While what Doyle expresses has ring of truth to it, he is only trying to appease Jackie. As a pain of glass, Jenny sees through what Doyle is saying. She knows Jackie has spoken with Doyle. It is written all over the Catholic father’s face.