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'Mayor of Kingstown' Review: Jeremy Renner-starrer sheds light on harsh prison reality

As if life in prison isn't difficult, Kingstown shows a darker side of the world behind bars.
Jeremy Renner in 'Mayor of Kingstown' (Paramount+)
Jeremy Renner in 'Mayor of Kingstown' (Paramount+)

Paramount+ is on fire with its latest crime thriller series, 'Mayor of Kingstown', created by Taylor Sheridan ('Yellowstone') and by Hugh Dillon. The thriller focuses on a rather lonely place called Kingstown, where the only thriving business comes from being involved in the lives of the inmates there at the prison. In addition, the series stars Jeremy Renner and Dianne Weist in lead roles as a dynamic mother and son duo. 

Paramount+ welcomes us to Kingstown, Michigan, an eerie town where the only business that makes it big is the one involving being behind bars. Mike (Renner) works as a power-brokering liaison between the prison and the outside world. His job entails inheriting the duties of the town kingpin, from his brother (Kyle Chandler). In bits and pieces, Mike talks about his mother (Dianne Wiest) saying that “We don’t break the law. We bend it. To bring peace. For everybody".


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Having said that, it's safe to say that peace and serenity seem like a far cry for Kingstown. In the first episode of the series, a tiff between a prisoner and the police break out, eventually slowing down the prisoner with a stick. We're made to understand here that prison violence is plain horrific. Kingstown primarily serves as a prison town as a place that was initially built to support roughly 7 prisons in a ten-mile radius!

Dianne Wiest as Miriam McLusky plays the role of a prison teacher, who has cut off ties with her sons. We are made to see how she becomes aware of her child's failure in reaching his potential. Jeremy Renner as Mike McLusky, easily fits into an elite prestige look, without coming on too strong. Although Mike might be labeled the so-called mayor of Kingstown, he wasn't technically exactly elected, but still does the needful nonetheless. 

Moreover, the show around him treats the matter of unhappiness as a mere subject rather than something that needs to be dissected and explored further. In addition, the series has absolutely no filter when it comes to dark violence, coarse language, and corruption that takes place while in prison. With a genre like so, there's absolutely no chance of finding characters that we can sympathize with.

Events escalate from a solid 10 to a 100 when the police kill a murderer by forcing him into suicide. If this doesn't shake your trust, the prison guards pretend like nothing's happening just so that they have an excuse to beat and abuse their prisoners. In all, the show is moderately paced, filled with crime action, and is sure to leave the audience wanting more.

'Mayor of Kingstown' is available to stream on Paramount+.