Monica Raymund Discusses Hightown, Revisiting Chicago Fire and Lie to Me, and More!

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Monica Raymund is about to return to the small screen in a big way. 

Best known for her roles on Chicago Fire and Lie to Me, the actress is leaving the world of broadcast TV behind in favor of premium cable with the lead role on Starz drama series Hightown. 

Raymund plays Jackie Quinones, a hard-partying National Marine Services Agent whose life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body. 

Jackie Quinones on Hightown

We got the opportunity to chat with Raymund about the thrilling new series. 

TV Fanatic: What drew you to Hightown?

Jackie Quinones is Upset Hightown

Monica Raymund: I was drawn to the story, and even more so, the character Jackie Quinones. I just thought she was a very compelling character, and I wanted a shot at playing someone like that on TV.

What sets Jackie apart from other leads on TV?

She's flawed, messy, and gritty. She's really rough around the edges. With this type of storyline and character, you often see men playing those kinds of characters.

So seeing a woman play this, you know, misfit, a girl who parties too much, an alcoholic who uses sex and drugs to kind of move through the world with an armor, that's a pretty masculine thing.

That's why I think it's so different. It's like you're seeing these characteristics in a woman. You're seeing how addiction is completely not biased, whatever your gender. 

Time for a Shot on Hightown

Jackie is battling to abstain from alcohol and drugs while simultaneously trying to solve a murder. How did you feel about that?

I love crime dramas. I love acting in and watching them. So trying to solve a murder felt kind of natural to me. Like, I've seen a lot of shows where there's all these murder investigations and mysteries, but what's really compelling about Jackie doing it is that she's finding herself.

It's really about her personal relationships with the other characters involved in that world. Yeah. That's what's specifically fascinating to me.

Like her relationship with Junior, and then Junior's relationship with all the bad guys and some of the drug dealers, and then her relationship with Ray Abruzzi down the line. Just starting to see like all of these little narratives finally intersecting throughout the season.

On the Beach - Hightown

What did you think the most challenging about playing this role compared to some of your previous roles?

I think the most challenging part is her journey to recovery because it's such a nonlinear path. You know, the path to recovery is a really windy one, and there's a lot of holes in the road and a lot of bends. 

And so playing a character who doesn't get it right, who tends to slip up a lot, that's a very fulfilling thing to play as an actor because it always gives me something new to play and I find the characters much more dynamic and interesting when they're this flawed.

If we switch gears, I know that the Chicago Fire has been renewed for three more seasons. Is there any chance we could see Dawson again down the line?

That's a good question. I mean, the door for Dawson is always open. You know, last time you saw her, she came into town from Puerto Rico because she's still doing hurricane relief work out there.

Hightown Promotional Photo

But with Matt Casey, we see the love is still very much alive there, but they kind of know that their paths are finished. Their journey with each other, it's finished. There will always be love there. So who knows if she'll ever come back?

Do you think Dawson would have any thoughts about Casey moving on because the show seems to be setting up a love storyline between Casey and Brett?

Dawson made the choice to leave, and I think that she knew that. The consequence of her leaving is that the love of her life will move on.

And she made that choice. She's a woman who kind of has her shit together. She's been bought, and she's grown.

Dawsey - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 9

She's a grown woman, so I don't think it would be a negative thing for her. I think it might be painful, but she would understand. I think she would wish them well.

With many TV shows being revived or rebooted, do you think there is a market for Lie to Me to stage a comeback?

I don't know, but a lot of people keep talking about it. A lot of fans are always like, do you think you should bring it back? And people think it could come back.

I have no idea. That's a question for producers. It's been, what, 12 years? It was a long time ago.

Dawson - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 9

Are you working on anything else at the moment?

As director, I am not able to talk too much about it, but there are a couple of things I'm hoping will come to fruition.

As an actor right now, I'm just kind of focused on Hightown. This is such a perfect project and we're about to hit the air, so I'm just focused on that. I like to really give myself to one project at a time.

Hightown is coming to Starz Sunday, May 17. 

Stick around TV Fanatic for a spoiler-free review ahead of the premiere, weekly episodic reviews, as well as more exclusive interviews with the cast and crew.  

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Hightown Quotes

It's like damn, these white girls love trouble.


Therapist: So, Jackie. Why are you here?
Jackie: You know I found a dead body yesterday?
Therapist: No, I didn't know that.