When Hightown Season 2 begins, Jackie Quiñones (Monica Raymund) is in a good place. She’s sober, and she’s working with the police. On the other hand, Ray Abruzzo (James Badge Dale) is not doing so well and no longer has his badge after the events of Season 1.
And not only is drug dealer Frankie Cuevas (Amaury Nolasco) free, but his cousin Jorge (Luis Guzmán) joins his operation, bringing a new level of violence and chaos. Can Jackie bring them down as deadly carfentanyl floods the Cape?
TV Insider chatted with Raymund and Dale about how their characters are doing heading into Season 2. Plus, watch an exclusive sneak peek above of Ray trying to get his badge back.
Jackie has a new uniform and a new partner. So how’s that work going for her? Does she feel like she’s accomplishing what she wants to?
Monica Raymund: We see her starting to. She’s figuring it out and trying to be among the adults. She’s got some time with sobriety under her belt when we come in in Season 2. She gets the job at the police department, so there’s one foot into the police department and one foot still at the National Marine Fisheries Service. She gets partnered up with this banging new partner, who’s the other woman in the force, and they start having a budding friendship. So things seem to be working out for her at the top of Season 2. It’s a great place to begin because at the end of Season 1, she was such a hot mess. So I’m glad to see her beginning in a fresh place.
But on the other side of things, Ray is not doing so well. How’s he handling everything?
James Badge Dale: Where we find Ray is in a place where he’s trying to handle everything. He’s trying his best, he’s trying to change. But sometimes your best-laid plans don’t work out the way you hoped. And I think Ray is finding himself in a bit of a downward spiral.
What’s the dynamic like between your characters this season? They have a common enemy in Frankie.
Raymund: Yeah, that’s a good point. That’s one of the things that ties us together. Both of us become sort of entrenched in the Frankie-ness of it all. It’s [Jackie’s] mission because it becomes her purpose. First, it’s sort of the Junior thing in Season 1, but really also these girls who keep showing up dead and Frankie’s the one who’s behind it. She wants to find redemption and some kind of justice for these girls who get caught up in Frankie’s web. For Jackie, that’s really a motivation to try to do good. She’s trying to save lives.
Dale: Ray’s a bit of a mystery to me, I’m going to be honest with you. I sometimes don’t know what Ray’s thinking or why he’s doing what he’s doing. But part of the fun of that is trying to figure it out, you know what I mean? There’s moments where we’re working together where there’s constant discovery and you want to stay in that place of constant discovery and kind of let things naturally build. We have a very kind of free and loose set and the actors are given a lot of their own volition to kind of create and to try things out and to take risks. It’s a journey, and it’s always a fun one to take.
Jackie’s father [played by Carlos Gomez] is coming in. What’s their relationship like?
Raymund: We finally get to meet her dad, and that’s obviously going to be a tricky relationship. It triggers all kinds of things for her. We know very little about him when we meet him, but you can see right away that she has a very complicated history [with him], even by the way that they hug when they first see each other. Her dad is messy, very messy, and Jackie’s trying to clean up her act, so it becomes a really difficult pull for her and we see her sort of walk on the edge for a little while.
What will we see from Ray and Renee (Riley Voelkel) this season?
Dale: Oh, what are we doing with Ray and Renee? I’ll be honest with you. Ray’s obsessed with Renee. Ray keeps dreaming about Renee. He thinks about Renee. He wants to call Renee, he wants to text Renee. Sometimes when you’re in love or you think you’re in love, it leads to bad decisions and Ray’s chock-full of bad decisions. So we’ll just see what happens.
Hightown, Season 2 Premiere, Sunday, October 17, 9/8c, Starz