Hightown star James Badge Dale admits he ‘didn’t want to play’ Ray Abruzzo

Official Trailer – Hightown Season 2 on Starz

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Hightown season two is set to premiere on Starz on October 17 in the USA. Following on from the intense first season, Ray Abruzzo (played by James Badge Dale) will once again be tackling a new case while dealing with his family’s past. Express.co.uk recently sat down with Dale to discuss the season and the challenges of playing the morally grey Ray.

In May 2020, Starz launched Hightown season one, a new crime-drama series starring Monica Raymund and James Badge Dale as Jackie Quinones and Ray Abruzzo, respectively.

The show doesn’t shy away from difficult themes such as substance abuse, addiction, and neglect, with Jackie taking on the brunt of the trauma.

During the first season, she was already dealing with addiction when she came across a body in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

This encouraged her to deal with her substance abuse while encountering Ray, the detective leading the case.

Season one established Ray as a morally ambiguous figure and a man willing to give everything to the case.

Over the course of the season, the lines blur between Jackie and Ray, leading directly into season two, where the former is now a fully-fledged cop in her own right.

Now working alongside Ray, she is once again confronted with his abrasive and no-nonsense attitude, inevitably leading to more conflict between the two.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dale went into detail about playing the character of Ray and where he is emotionally in season two.

“The first time I read Ray, I didn’t want to play him,” Dale explained. “And the second time I read him I was like ‘Oh man, I can’t stand this guy.’

“There’s moments I wake up and I don’t like Ray, I show up to work some days and I don’t know… how do I, me, James Badge, I’m not this guy but this guy is this guy.”

In season two, Ray is coming to terms with the man he is while reflecting on who he was in the past, acknowledging the fact he is not good a heart.

Dale continued: “Ray’s not a bad guy but he’s not a good guy and he really does live in that grey world.

“I think Ray is growing and he’s changing, and Ray has an opportunity….

I don’t know where Ray ends up, but he’s still here and he’s got to commit.”

How the relationship between Ray and Jackie will continue to grow remains to be seen, though it is known they won’t be partners in the force during season two.

While Jackie’s struggles are through her ongoing addiction, Ray is emotionally switched off, mainly due to events which transpired before season one.

Throughout the first season, Ray references his previous family, though they never make an appearance in the show.

It is known more of Ray’s background will be explored in season two, and more detail will be given about his family.

The series has been created by Rebecca Perry Cutter, best known as one of the writers behind Gotham and The Mentalist.

Currently, season three of Hightown is unconfirmed by Starz.

Hightown season two premieres October 17 on Starz in the USA. The UK release is set for the same date on StarzPlay on Amazon Prime.

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