tv

Stan's new murder mystery Hightown is an intriguing mix of complex characters and dark drama.

Stan’s new murder mystery Hightown manages to throw the audience off-kilter right from its opening moments.

The series kicks off with images of tourists and families frolicking happily along the picturesque beaches of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, the tone then shifts when images depicting drug use and arrests begin to appear against the backdrop of the famous holiday spot. Indicating that Hightown’s story is more interested in grit than gloss.

Hightown is the latest offering from Jerry Bruckheimer, the Executive Producer and creative mastermind behind everything from Flashdance, Top Gun, ArmageddonPearl Harbor to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The series is hooked on Jackie Quiñones (Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund), a local National Marine Fisheries service agent who spends her nights getting high and trawling the local hotspots for female tourists to hook up with, using her badge as an extra flirtation device to get invited back to the ladies’ various hotel rooms.

It’s after sneaking out of one of these hookups that Jackie stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been shot through the head and abandoned on one of Cape Cod’s most popular tourist beaches.

For the biggest pop culture and entertainment stories of the day, listen to The Spill.

It turns out that the body belongs to Sherry Henry, a fentanyl addict who’s been serving as a secret informant for state police detective Ray Abruzzo (James Badge Dale), who initially dismisses the information Jackie attempts to pass onto him about the body.

As a result of this trauma, Jackie spirals to the point that she’s involved in a car accident and lands herself in a rehab facility which, unbeknownst to her at the time, links her to people involved in Sherry’s murder. A discovery that prompts her to begin her own slightly off-the-books investigation into the murder, which propels her deep into the world of Cape Cod’s sprawling opioid epidemic.

One of the highs of Hightown is watching Jackie’s redemption slowly unfold on-screen. While she spends the majority of the first episode getting blackout drunk and hitting up bars for drugs, the discovery of Sherry’s body provides the catalyst for her life to shift.

It’s an interesting story arc to watch her work on her own sobriety for the first time while also delving into the town’s mess of murder, cover-ups and drug rings.

ADVERTISEMENT

While Hightown doesn’t shy away from violence or gore – the opening scenes of the premiere episode include a pretty rapid and brutal murder scene – it also doesn’t use violence against women in a gratuitous way, a trap many past crime dramas have fallen into over the years.

It’s also an interesting twist to see the classic protagonist stereotype of the womanising, haunted and rogue law official reimagined as a woman in Jackie when it’s usually a leading role reserved for men.

If you’re looking to get swept up in a new small-screen murder mystery, then Hightown needs to be on your watch list.

Hightown is now available to watch on Stan, new episodes premiere weekly.


Sign up for our weekly “TV and Movies” newsletter. Every week, our Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik gives you a backstage pass to the best movies, TV shows and celebrity interviews.


Need a distraction? Take our short survey now.

MMSurvey
00:00 / ???