SPOILER ALERT! This story contains plot points from the season 2 premiere of Mayor of Kingston.
Jeremy Renner’s protagonist returned to Paramount+ today to address the fallout from last season’s prison riot and the escape of big bad Milo Sutter (Aiden Gillen). Here, Hugh Dillon – who created the drama with Taylor Sheridan and stars as Det. Ian Ferguson – talks about where the new season is headed and how Renner’s injuries will affect when – or if – production resumes on a third season. (The show has not yet received a third season).
TBEN: First things first: did your character real do you have to shoot that pit bull 12 times?
HUGE DILLON Well yes! What I liked was how that is a real story. It came from Taylor. It happened in LA. I love showing real life on the show. The guy we use as a creative consultant just sent me something about a prison that caught a man trying to bring crystal meth into prison on a backpack he put on a pigeon. Everything I see now is through the lens of, would that happen to the mayor of Kingstown?
TBEN Is there a theme for this season?
DILLON If anything, everyone is hyper-vigilant. It’s more intimate. We explore why these characters do what they do. We really steer what triggers these people who are prone to their darkest impulses.
TBEN Why is Mike (Renner) so worried about Milo’s escape? Is it all about Iris’ safety?
DILLON It’s all. Milo is the head of the snake, a venomous snake. He has escaped to the city and there is money involved. There’s history, there’s the girl.
TBEN Why do mobsters like Bunny (Tobi Bamtefa) continue to tolerate Mike?
DILLON It goes back to decades of knowing each other. Mike was in jail and at some point it’s just the city, you know? These are alliances that people make. Everything has pretty much come to this stage. Mike is based on a guy I really knew in Kingstown when I first brought it to Taylor. Growing up, I played hockey with boys whose parents were cops. My coach would have a gun holster on his ankle and leave it on the couch. There were other children whose parents were in prison. I grew up with a man I modeled Mike after. He just knew everyone.
TBEN Is that guy still in Kingstown?
DILLON He passed away from throat cancer a few years ago.
TBEN Why were the stormtroopers in Miriam’s (Dianne Wiest) class? Was it a result of the riot?
DILLON Yes. at that point it’s us against them. They’re on lockdown. That’s why I love the show and some of these scenes with Dianne, who is adamant about some of these things because she’s a person who has gone out and protested on Riker’s Island. She has very precise thoughts about how this works. Her reality bled pretty well into the show.
There’s no way Captain Moore (Michael Beach) is ready to go back to work, right?
DILLON No. There is another actor who is just incredible. His performance this entire season has been spectacular.
TBEN Who is really responsible for the riot? Is it time for new gang leaders?
DILLON I don’t want to go too deep into that. But there you can land wherever you want. That will resolve itself.
TBEN Where did you shoot the prison tent city?
DILLON A place called Carrie Furnace, just outside of Pittsburgh. It was a large steel mill. That’s part of the fun of making these shows, scouting and seeing the places we can use. Pittsburgh is such a big character.
TBEN How do you balance your full-time role as Ian with the role of showrunner?
DILLON Taylor was my acting coach years ago and I learned everything from him. He coached me on a show called Flashpoint. He is driven. He’s a master. If you’re passionate about it, which I am, it’s effortless in a way. It’s this show I dreamed of making.
TBEN I know you are still waiting to hear if there will be a season 3. If you’re on some sort of normal schedule, when would you start production?
DILLON Taylor and I have multiple ideas for multiple seasons. If everything went according to plan with Paramount+ and the rest, I would think we would start in August, September, maybe pre-production in the summer.
TBEN How did you hear about Jeremy’s injury?
DILLON I heard about it from one of the other producers. I saw it on the news and then he sent me a video. He’s very funny. I just think about that man’s world and I’m glad he’s surrounded by his family. Anything we can do to help we will. That is the most important. He’s like family.