‘Hightown’ 1×01 Review: Love You Like A Sister

Hightown Starz 2020 show
Jackie in ‘Hightown’ (Image: Screengrab)

Starz’s latest murder mystery, Hightown, features a very queer-inclusive setting and a lesbian lead who has a lot of issues to deal with.

I was interested in watching Hightown when I covered the trailer back in January. However, due to how I usually handle consuming content I don’t plan to review on a weekly basis, I decided to binge-watch the eight-episode first season once it had all aired. But then a reader of this website recommended I see the premiere. So, I was like, might as well review it!

In my previous coverage, I mentioned how Hightown is supposed to handle queer representation and storytelling from a woman’s perspective. This series was created by Rebecca Cutter (Gotham) and takes you on a journey featuring a woman’s path to sobriety while she tries to uncover the truth behind a murder. It also addresses Cape Cod’s opioid epidemic. So, yeah, Hightown is high in more than one way.

During the opening minutes of ‘Love You Like A Sister,’ the show lets you know that it takes place in a dangerous setting. Yes, Province Town or P-Town is all about the LGBTQ+ partying and expressing themselves; however, the danger beneath the surface is always present.

As far as my opinion goes, I think Hightown can be enjoyed by everyone. The premiere had well-written queer representation and introduced straight guy Detective Ray Abruzzo (James Badge Dale) along with a lesbian National Marines Fisheries Service Agent Jackie Quinones (Monica Raymund). In a sense, this show caters to a number of sexualities. We have Monica hooking up with other women while Ray visits a strip club.

Murder mystery stories on TV do follow a formula. So, it’s up to the writing team to make the audience care about the characters on the game board. And I think the premiere managed that. We got all the building blocks that can lead to some exciting developments for the main cast and the overarching mystery. 

An interesting thing, to me, was how both Jackie and Ray were shown as flawed characters. When it comes to team-ups, you always have one who is better adjusted than their partner. For example, in Elementary, Joan was the better adjusted one compared to Sherlock. However, in Hightown, Ray and Jackie have a lot of issues they need to deal with.

You can tell the two will have no other choice except to work together. That’s why I’m interested in seeing how their personalities will clash. I also want to learn more about their past. What led to Jackie having an addiction problem? Why does Ray not have boundaries when working with his secret contacts?

Junior (Shane Harper) is another character I want to know more about. I think he’s in more trouble than he can handle.

Also, shoutout to actress Riley Voelkel as Renee Segna. I don’t know about you, but her scenes reminded me of how Charlize Theron would play a similar role. With Renee being stuck between Ray and her criminal boyfriend Frankie, I wonder if she will be able to survive such a situation.

I was very surprised when Frankie asked Renee to get closer to Ray. ‘Love You Like A Sister’ does have some twists, but I wasn’t expecting that particular reveal at all.

All in all, ‘Love You Like A Sister’ did what a good premiere is supposed to do. It introduced us to the characters, the setting, and the main and minor plot threads.

If you’re into a murder mystery that has flawed characters and a queer lead, you should consider checking Hightown out. 

‘Love You Like A Sister’ aired on Starz on May 17, 2020.

Did you watch the premiere?

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Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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