In an entertainment world where true crime stories reign, you're probably wondering if Starz' latest drama Hightown is based on a true story. It's led by Jackie Quiñones (Monica Raymund), a substance dependent National Marine Fisheries Service agent who discovers a dead body and immediately links it to the local drug trafficking operation in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Though the story isn't based on true events, it is directly inspired by its Cape Cod backdrop.
“Cape Cod was hit very hard by the opioid epidemic, but that’s probably the least specific thing about the show,” Hightown creator Rebecca Cutter told Elle. “You could have written a show that took place in West Virginia or Ohio or Florida or Vermont. I hope that part of it is relatable all across America, [while] at the same time introducing you to this really wild, special, beautiful place."
She continued, “[Provincetown] is the very outermost tip of Cape Cod. It’s very isolated and a very special unicorn of a place. It’s this haven for LGBTQ tourists, it’s an artist colony, it has this very specific flavor." All of which comes through in Jackie's personal mission to solve the murder she discovers. The series was initially dubbed P-Town, according to Newsday.com, and was also shot there.
As for Jackie and the rest of Hightown's characters, they were manifested by Cutter. “I was driving and I got the idea of Jackie Quiñones — this strong party girl, kind of Don Draper as a woman, with really unapologetic desires and appetites,” she told Elle. “This idea of her owning P-Town and being the mayor of P-Town in her own mind [puts] her on a sobriety journey that mirrors a crime journey."
She may not be a real person, but there are real people like her, which is what gives the story its raw edge. "I’ve never seen a show that’s this brutally honest with these types of characters," executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer told Belmont's Wicked Local News. "It really gives the inside look of what this world is really like and what people go through, and the trouble you have with addiction and recovery and redemption. It’s really a powerful, powerful series.”