There's no shortage of townie pride in City on a Hill, the hit Boston-set series which airs its season finale on Showtime this Sunday. This fictionalized account of crime in the Hub during the early '90s is brought to life thanks to the talents of several New England natives, including Rhode Island's own Amanda Clayton. Ahead of this weekend's finale, we chatted with the local star about her time on the show, her thoughts on a possible return for season 2 and more.
As a New England native, was the experience of filming this Boston-set series a bit more special for you?
It’s a dream come true. Just to audition and even be apart of it, was like, this is it. This is my thing. This is what I do. This is who I am. There’s something about being from here - I’m in Rhode Island right now as we speak. There’s quite a few of us in the cast who are from the New England area. Jonathan Tucker, who plays my husband, is from Charlestown. It brings the authenticity of things to life. It’s really fun to not just be apart of the show, but to be apart of that group of people from the same area. We just kind of get it.
Between portraying Boston’s iconic accent to showcasing some the quirks of its locals, do you feel like the show offers an authentic peek into the city?
There’s a funny thing that actually started happening on the pilot. They asked some people to dial their accents back. People were talking about how it’s almost too authentic, it’s almost unbelievable. People are going to hear it and go, “No one really talks like that.” Everyone was like, “Don’t go too far with it. Just kind of dial it back a little bit.” I remember there was a story that they went into one of the local bars and were like, “There were a bunch of regulars who come there all the time, we could use them.” Production was like, “It’s too real. People are going to think we made up these caricatures of these people.”
We get comments sometimes about the references to Massachusetts, tBoston, the Celtics, Red Sox, this and that. The regionalism, it is what people do in New England, Boston, Rhode Island and everything. We take pride. It’s kind of an ego thing. It’s a little pride thing. We do discuss and make references. A lot of people are like, “We get it, you’re in Boston.” But yeah, that’s what we do when we’re there. I think it’s great that it becomes it’s own character as part of the show. We don’t shy away from taking that townie pride in where we’re from and showing it.
You play a tough townie in the form of Cathy Ryan, a criminal’s wife on City on a Hill. What drew you to this character?
She’s not the typical mafia wife you see a lot of the time that are sort of clueless, taking the money going to buy pursues and furs and handbags. She’s actually in it with her husband. Tucker and I developed this really great relationship with one another and really established that we’ve been together our whole lives and it was never not going to be us together. This is truly a ride or die situation. Neither one of us is ever in the dark. The way that they love each other and stick by each other, that core family value is something that’s very New England to me and very familiar to me. She’s sort of a representation of all of the women I knew growing up - my mom, my grandmother, my aunt, my friends’ parents - the type of woman who doesn’t look her hardship in the face and go woe is me, but instead says, “I’m going to pull myself up by my bootstraps and I’m going to get this done.” As I would get more and more scripts and read further into her, I kept seeing that actually happening in the script. It was refreshing to really see this woman not go, “Oh no, what do we do?” She’s actually taking charge and control of the situations.
What are your thoughts going into the season finale?
I’m excited, especially after we saw episode 8 and Jackie [Kevin Bacon] kind of losing grips on his stuff. And Decourcy [Aldis Hodge] kind of slipping in his relationship. Everything’s coming to a more rapid boil right now and everything over the next two episodes is a full charge to the end... Episode 10 kind of wraps everybody up in a really great way and leaves everything situated to bounce into season 2, which we are very fortunate to be able to come back and do next year.
Speaking of the recent news about the show's renewal, what are you looking forward to going into season 2?
I would love to see Cathy end up in a season 2. It’s a situation where the show could go off in any direction and could almost be anthology-esque where they can go on to a different neighborhood and the FBI, local police take charge in different situations. I do know that they want to continue our story along and I guess it depends on whatever makes sense. There’s no guarantees in this business, but I think people have been responding really great to the Ryan family storyline. I would love to see her just sort of come into her own now with the decisions that she’s made by the end of this season and really see the effects of what that means for her and her family moving forward in the aftermath of what happens in the final episode. It’s an exciting time! Either way, I’m super happy to see the show come back.
City on a Hill season finale airs August 18 at 9 pm on Showtime.
Photography by: Photo by Eric Ogden/SHOWTIME