Is Hightown a True Story?

The TV series, ‘Hightown,’ created by Rebecca Perry Cutter, follows an officer from the Marine Fisheries department in Cape Cod. Her life is set to change dramatically when she stumbles upon the body of a dead woman. The series also digs into its protagonist, Jackie Quiñones’ (Monica Raymund) problems with drugs and alcohol. While it is a clear cut mystery thriller, it also aims to embrace several other themes.

Is Hightown Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Hightown’ is not based on a specific true story. Though it is fictitious, it borrows its inspiration from authentic events and issues. It addresses several problems like drug trafficking, addiction, along with a trace of LGBTQ themes. In an interview, Cutter said: “ Cape Cod was hit very hard by the opioid epidemic, but that’s probably the least specific thing about the show.”

And this makes sense, considering Cape Cod is more or less submerged in its battle against deaths due to opioid overdose.

The Drug Problem in Cape Cod 

In 2018 alone, there were more than 2000 people who died due to drug overdose. The series presents this as the backdrop of the whole series. It is has been a running issue for several years now.

And, drugs obviously come from an established drug trafficking business, which has also seen a significant rise in Cape Cod. Even recently, in 2020, the trial against Terrell Mair, who is believed by the police to be one of the biggest heroin traffickers in Cape Cod, is proof of how serious this issue is. And as the series opens itself up to its protagonist, even she can be seen battling her fair share of trouble with substance abuse. Even though the drama series is focused on this dark aspect, it also shows how bad it can get costing several people their lives.

In this manner, the series aims to bring some insight into how the seemingly cultural hub of  Provincetown, Cape Cod, has a dark underbelly. It is made more apparent as the plot unveils to reveal the drug trafficking business and its players, who have a major control in the area. Though it has seen some changes in recent times, it still continues to be an issue.

While this is the macro perspective offered in terms of the locality of the series, there is the individualistic take on Jackie’s life as she is addicted to drugs and booze herself. She sees a therapist and is confronted by the fact that she might need to make a change in her lifestyle; she is just not ready for. This is because addiction works precisely like that. Thus, substance abuse on a personal front becomes engrained in the more massive social ring of the drug trafficking business in the series.


Though the show doesn’t aim to harp on LGBTQ themes, it is represented as the norm in the protagonist’s life. As the character scouts through gay nightclubs trying to attract lesbian companionship for the night, it seeks to create an individualistic take on the lonely life of the character, devoid of immense focus on her sexuality.

Jackie is shown to be unapologetic for her indulgent sexual side. In other words, it aims to bring normalcy to her sexuality, which is only a small detail in the larger picture of the plot.

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