Thoughts on the First Episode of Hightown

Monica Raymund in Hightown

Starz advertised a deal I could not refuse in conjunction with the new series Hightown. I’m interested in Hightown because I’ll probably never make it to Cape Cod or Provincetown, and this story is set there. Ever since I memorized all the words to Patti Page’s “Old Cape Cod” as a kid, I’ve wanted to see that area.

Monica Raymund in Hightown

Hightown stars Monica Raymund as a cop with the Marine Fisheries Service. The opening episode showed Provincetown in all its LGBTQ glory during carnival. The camera lingered on the beach, showed the town from the air, and took us inside several buildings.

The episode also showed the dark side of the area with drugs, murder, and addiction.

Raymund as Jackie Quiñones is among the addicted. In episode one we see her snorting coke and drinking to excess. She drives drunk, has a wreck, and injures a woman she’d picked up at a bar.

Earlier that day, Jackie found a murdered woman on the beach. The scene haunts her. Because of the wreck, she’s forced into rehab. The description of the series explains that she sobers up and gets very involved in the murder investigation, but that didn’t happen in the first episode.

I also wanted to see the series because I’ve been a Monica Raymund fan since the old Lie to Me days. She never had enough to do in that series, but she stood out. I remember what a big deal it was in that series (2009 to 2011) when her character admitted to loving women. We forget sometimes the progress made in representing LGBTQ characters on television. The journey from Lie to Me to Hightown represents a huge cultural shift in the space of just over 10 years.

The series was created by Rebecca Perry Cutter with the first episode directed by Rachel Morrison. The first episode was strong enough to keep me coming back for more of this series.

Are you watching?

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on the First Episode of Hightown”

  1. Torben Retboll

    Your post about Hightown is based on the first episode. My comment is also based on the first episode. I was not impressed. I see several problems:

    #1. The song that is played at the beginning is just awful, just horrible. I cannot believe that any director would want to pick this tune to open the series. The idea is to draw viewers in. Not to scare them away!

    # 2. The main character is in law enforcement, but this principle is not very important for her. When she and her partner inspects a fishing boat and find illegal items on board, she wants to turn a blind eye to this, because they will have to do some paperwork and she wants to go to a carnival that same evening.

    # 3. When she visits the carnival, we get to see her lifestyle: drinking a lot of alcohol, doing a lot of drugs and driving while intoxicated. She says: “I like to party.”

    Excuse me, this set-up is totally unrealistic. A person who has such a life style can never be accepted as an officer of the law. She could never be sober long enough to study and to pass the necessary exams.

    Even if she could, she could never function as an officer of the law. Her colleagues would have to report her.

    # 4. While driving she causes a serious accident. Her partner tells her to go to rehab, but she does not want to do this. She says she does not have a problem. She is in total denial.

    Even when she is later admitted to a rehab centre, she still insists that she does not have a problem. Even though she clearly does. She says again: “I like to party. Everybody does that.” Not exactly true!

    The main character is totally irresponsible. In her job and in her life. She is not much of a role model, as far as I can see.

    Perhaps she will manage to turn her life around in the next episodes. If this happens, I must say that this is not realistic, either.

    I wonder who gave the green light for this kind of drama. It must be someone whose motto is: the more absurd and unrealistic, the better!

    1. christopher a swaby

      for what it is worth, i have worked in the American criminal justice system for 30 years. while i agree that the majority of law enforcement officers are not like the lead character, i have met quite a few who are. and i have known many functioning alcoholics and drug dealers, many of whom would say they didnt have a problem. it may well be that someone showing these traits would not be admitted to the law enforcement field in many countries; i tend to believe that were these traits known before she applied, she wouldnt be hired by an US law enforcement agency. and we have what we call the “blue wall of silence” or “blue code” here in America – police dont snitch on other police. you can find many stories of American law enforcement officers reporting other officers for violating regulations or breaking the law and then being fired because they violated the blue code.

      the lead character is clearly an extreme character. American viewers dont seem to be really good with nuanced characters – it appears we dont want to have to work too hard to understand our entertainment.

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