'Hightown' Episode 1: Jailed Frankie surprisingly asks potential double agent Renee to get close to cop Ray
'Hightown', the Starz crime drama has set a solid premise with its first episode as we saw Sherry, a police CI (criminal informant) being shot in the face when she tries to score her drugs. Ray Abruzzo (James Badge Dale) is the cop who is in charge of this CI and as he investigates we are introduced to Renee Shaw aka Candy (Riley Voelkel). She is a stripper at a club that Ray visits to gather information about the perpetrator of the crime and initially, she comes across as a simple stripper that Ray is trying to trap into giving her more information.
It is later that we learn, Renee is Frankie's girlfriend. The same Frankie that Ray visited at the prison as soon as he saw Sherry's body. This man might be behind the bars and is at the moment unable to commit the crime directly but someone who works for him wants to impress the man. This is at least what Ray has gathered at the moment and by throwing a tantrum when he met Frankie, he cannot ask him who the real murderer could be. So instead, Ray tries to gather information from people who are close to Frankie. In this case, it is his girlfriend and baby's mother Renee.
Ray visits her house with a breakfast bag and coffee after his visit to the club is unsuccessful. Initially, he tries to use the bad cop routine to get Renee to cough up information. However, Renee is not new to any of this and instead, Ray had to return empty-handed. When he visits her house though, he is a good cop and tries to worm his way into the heart of the mother that Renee is and gets the information he needs from her. He also tells her that she is not Frankie's wife. He wants to cultivate her as a CI and that is pretty apparent but Renee might not fall for this.
However, what makes Renee's character interesting is how she is used by Frankie as well. After Ray's visit, Renee goes to see Frankie in the prison with her son when Frankie asks her if any cops have come by and she tells him half the truth. She tells him that Ray did come over, but that she didn't reveal anything to him. However, in reality, she did give Ray a lead that would help him pinpoint the murderer.
When Frankie hears the explanation from Renee he smiles and surprises her. While Renee expected him to tell her to stay away from cops and everything that they have to do; he ends up telling her to get as close with Ray as possible. He wants to use Renee to gather information about what the cops are up to and Ray wants to use her to feed him information about Frankie. How will Renee strike a balance and will she really be able to do as Frankie asks?
New episodes of 'Hightown' drops every Sunday on Starz.