'City On A Hill': Kevin Bacon's brazen and slick Jackie Rohr has been the man to watch in the series so far
Contains spoilers for Ep. 1 and 2
For decades now, Kevin Bacon has earned positive acclaim for dishing out admirable and memorable performances. But perhaps, his biggest challenge is playing a cocaine-fueled, chain-smoking, rotten and corrupt Fed, Jackie Rohr in Showtime's new crime drama, 'City On a Hill'.
The coke, the clothes, the gait, Rohr is practically a pipin' hot mess, but still has some incredible amounts of street-smartness to boot along with the minuses. 'City On a Hill' takes place during the Boston Miracle dating back to '90s; a police effort that infiltrated the most destructive and deadly gangs and brings about a dramatic change in the city's law enforcement strategy. While the events are pretty much real, the characters are fictional. But Bacon's Rohr is a persona that you could picture during those days.
Rohr is your typical corrupt officer. Not a task would go through if there wasn't something for him on the side, but he remains largely influential in the law enforcement system. Partnering with him is Aldis Hodge's Ward Decourcy, the District Attorney. Ward and Rohr are as different as chalk and cheese. Ward is a no-nonsense African-American who believes that no one is above the law- cops included. But more of Ward at a later time.
Back to Rohr then. Two episodes of 'City On a Hill' gives you a look at his life, professionally and personally. When Rohr gets into work mode, he brings out all the years of experience, the knack of obtaining information that one seldom gets to see. It's always at a price, not to forget, is downright crooked where even he goes toe-to-toe with the baddies.
His personal life is absolutely knackered. Let's start with him cheating on his wife and one of those episodes sees him in hospital testing for HIV. He has a mother-in-law who's wise to his antics, but he blackmails her rather smugly, he's got a daughter who is very much Rohr in his heydays, minus the drugs and the smokes. His relationship with his wife has gone so bad that in the second episode when she tries to seduce him and begs him to make love to her, Rohr just gives her a blank stare and thumbs-down the request without a second thought.
At work, Rohr is unethical, never goes by the rules, but assures you that there is a method to his madness. One of the instances is when he explains to Decourcy about how he gets things done and what makes him do it in that particular way. He also goes on to say that he's learned to work in tough scenarios and that sort of answers where he got that corrupt streak from.
Rohr is a far cry from what defines a perfect FBI agent, but still is a man who cares. Cares about his work since he takes pride in it.
Bacon may not have a 'Boston' accent, but he more than makes up for it with his acting skills. Portraying a persona that was just explained isn't an easy task, but not for Bacon's Rohr as he seamlessly breezes through playing a corrupt agent. His very appearance on screen gives the impression of a man who is trying to make an easy buck while doing his job.
In an interview to TV Insider, ahead of the show's premiere, Bacon said he couldn't play Rohr differently. "I couldn't find a way to play Jackie in a quiet, restrained way. He can't shut up," he explained. And clearly, Rohr is not a quiet man. He oozes confidence and at the same time knows when to be human.
Two episodes down and we see Rohr corrupt and with his smokes n' Coke. But what does the future hold in store in him and how will it change his persona? Guess we'll know as the show progresses.
'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.