'City on a Hill': Aldis Hodge's Ward Decourcy is a determined man out to straighten Boston's crooked justice system
This article contains spoilers for 'City On a Hill'
'City on a Hill' is set in a Boston that is corrupt and fractured. The show's two main characters, veteran FBI agent Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon) and district attorney Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge) are as different as chalk and cheese. Their opinions clash and the duo have nothing in common, except their desire to mop up the streets filled with criminals and gangsters, and radically change Boston into something better.
Bacon's Rohr is described as a "classic Boston a*****e, with the coke, the clothes and the gait". Meanwhile, Hodge's Ward is no-nonsense, ambitious and is a legit lawyer trying to break into Boston's corrupt White power framework. His Steve Rogers-like morals is a perfect foil to Rohr's corrupt nature.
Ward’s an outsider from Brooklyn and a black prosecutor in a city with a white power base. (Ward’s boss, played by Kevin Dunn, dismisses him as "just a Brownsville porch monkey, but his wife’s got money.")
Ward may be fictional, just like Rohr, but writer Chuck Maclean, in an interview with The Boston Globe said that Ward’s character was partly inspired by Ralph Martin, who former Gov. William Weld appointed as Suffolk County’s first black District Attorney in 1992.
Back to Hodge's Ward. When he's introduced, Ward is at a coffee bar discussing work with a colleague when two cops walk into the store and knock him off balance, and how does he retaliate? By paying for their coffees. Call it a subtle insult, but that's Ward.
Over the course of the series, it is revealed that Ward is a DA who is thorough in his research, logical and a man who lives by the rules. But these very traits cause him trouble and Ward soon finds himself at the receiving end even from people of his community. Being black was a single reason enough to throw Ward off and the authorities do just that. At this stage, it is too early to deduce if Ward remains this way or falls prey to the city's corrupt state like most cops and lawyers did, but at the moment he is a man who lives by his terms.
In one of the instances, Ward is snubbed by his own community and in Rohr, he finds an unusual ally as he talks him through about how to get around stiffs. Three episodes into the series, which is a slow burner, the show establishes its leads right at the start. At the moment, Ward is a man on a mission and how he goes about accomplishing it with Rohr remains to be seen.
'City On A Hill' airs on Sundays on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The crime drama is created and written by Chuck MacLean. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jennifer Todd, James Mangold, and Michael Cuesta serve as executive producers.