There’s a merciless predator on the loose in Cape Cod. A highly potent drug called Great White is killing users and making dealers rich.
In Season 2 of the gritty Starz crime drama Hightown, kingpin Frankie Cuevas (Amaury Nolasco) is out of prison, and he and his cousin, Jorge (new cast member Luis Guzmán), are determined to control the traffic by any means necessary.
Cuevas is also tightening the screws on disgraced former cop Ray Abruzzo (James Badge Dale), and newly minted state police officer Jackie Quiñones (Monica Raymund), no longer a “fish cop,” has a personal mission to bring Cuevas down.
Meanwhile, Cuevas’ enforcer Osito (Atkins Estimond) is wounded and incarcerated after his shootout with Quiñones in the Season 1 finale. Osito had the misfortune of rolling up at drug dealer Wayne’s (played by the late Craig muMs Grant) house while Abruzzo and his team were raiding the place. Osito had to decide whether to go for his gun or keep eating his burger. He chose poorly.
“I’ve got a bunch of bodies. Killing people is something that I’ve done since I was 15. [Jackie’s] a fish cop. She’s probably never even had to pull her gun,” Estimond says of Osito’s decision. “In my mind, I’m going to try her to see if she’s willing to be that person, if she’s willing to take a life. I made the assumption that she wasn’t, and clearly that backfired on me when she was.”
Osito’s decision to disobey Cuevas’ orders to kill Junior (Shane Harper) also backfired, as Junior’s reprieve quickly ended with a fatal overdose in the bus station bathroom.
“In that moment, he’s very much fighting against the code,” Estimond says of Osito’s choice to spare Junior. “He’s given an order, but that order would have him killing somebody who has become a friend to him, when friends are something that he’s very short on.”
It was another step in the Season 1 evolution of Osito from a cold-blooded killer to an honorable thug to a guy capable of compassion. Osito displayed a whole different element to his character when he told Junior the story of when he 15 years old and the emotions that ran through him when he first killed another man.
“That was the first time you really see the other side of him, that vulnerability,” Estimond says. “As an actor, it’s the kind of moment you dream for, to really be able to dive into a character and expose the pain, the rawness.” Estimond says viewers will see more of that depth as Osito tries to recover after losing everything.
“You’re looking at a complete fall. I came from a position of power on the streets. I commanded a lot of respect. I had all kinds of cars, guns, a beautiful girlfriend. I was making money,” Estimond says of Osito. “Now flip that: I’ve lost it all, I’m injured, I’m vulnerable and I’m in a place where I have no freedom, and I’m looking at losing my freedom completely.”
Osito is, however, trying to “seize the day” and do everything he can to get out of prison, or at least improve his accommodations. He’s even gaining wisdom by reading Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.
“It’s like, ‘The more I can take in, the better I can capitalize on my situation,’ Estimond says. “The better informed he is, the better decision he can make and the better he can exploit — if there is an angle to be exploited — the better he can do that.”
Osito might have a savior in the form of young, savvy drug dealer Charmaine (Imani Lewis), who wants to form a partnership. “After sifting through the tea leaves to see what her motivation was, he realizes she’s legit,” Estimond says. “She’s very much like a little sister to him.” And as Charmaine’s power grows, don’t expect Osito to stay behind bars for long.
Hightown Season 2 premieres Sunday, Oct. 17, at 8:55pm ET/PT on Starz.
— Hightown (@HightownSTARZ) October 7, 2021