City on a Hill Returns on Crave

Co-star Jill Hennessy previews season three of this gritty Boston crime thriller—and the rise of Jenny Rohr

Co-star Jill Hennessy previews season three of this gritty Boston crime thriller — and the rise of Jenny Rohr 

Edmonton-born actress Jill Hennessy can’t give too many details in advance, but she vows that the third season of City on a Hill takes her—and viewers—on a wild ride. 

The Boston-set series starts its latest round of loosely fact-based 1990s crime drama this Sunday. In it, Hennessy’s traumatic-past-plagued character Jenny Rohr experiences more personal upheaval as her ex-FBI-agent husband Jackie (Kevin Bacon) starts overseeing security for a rich family. Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney DeCourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge) steps up his efforts to reform the city’s justice system, which his defence-lawyer wife Siobhan Quays (Lauren E. Banks) runs up against with her latest case. 

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“This character has been a gift,” Hennessy says of Jenny, “especially in what might come off at first glance as a typical, male-driven crime drama. To play such a fractured yet vaguely heroic person is such a joy. Then to work with Kevin Bacon, he’s such a generous and fascinating actor. You just know you’re going to have fun passing the ball back and forth with him, in an acting sense.” 

In season three, notes Hennessy, Jenny “hits a few of her glass ceilings, shall I say, and manages to break through some of them. In one storyline, she confronts somebody—I hesitate to name the person—and things sort of get out of control. There’s an unpredictable sort of final grace note that I think is necessary for her. And a curveball halfway through the season throws Jenny for a loop.” 

City on a HillCrave1Law & Order and Crossing Jordan alum Hennessy enjoys exchanging ideas with City on a Hill executive producer Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street) and the show’s writers. She deems them “so receptive, and they’re always coming up with really brilliant, outside-the-box dialogue and plots and character arcs. It would be much easier to be complacent, but this is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.” 

Though the first season of City on a Hill used actual Boston locations extensively, the series has done considerable New York filming in Staten Island and Yonkers since. Also a singer, Hennessy has mastered a Boston accent for the show, and a very particular one. 

City on a HillCrave“You read the dialogue and you go back to the set and it all falls into place,” she maintains. “When I first got the character, I assumed she was from the [city’s] North End. I tried to look up videos of people from that era at that time, because dialects and accents change, not only by neighbourhood but by time period. I really wanted to go specific with the accent Jenny would have been raised with in her formative years.” 

City on a Hill returns Sunday, July 31 at 9 p.m. on Crave1