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This Was The Inspiration Behind Mayor Of Kingstown

The Paramount+ crime drama "Mayor of Kingstown," created by Taylor Sheridan ("Yellowstone") and Hugh Dillon, is set in a Michigan town where the primary industry is incarceration. The show stars Jeremy Renner as Mike McLusky, a self-professed advocate for the prisoners who brokers deals between law enforcement and the heads of the warring factions within the walls of the seven prisons within a mere 10-mile radius.

Season 1 follows Mike, who feels obligated to take on the job after his brother Mitch (Kyle Chandler) is brutally murdered. Mike attempts to maintain peace as tension mounts between those who abuse their power under the guise of justice and those who become collateral damage. The series explores the prejudices within the judicial system and how and why the subjugated give in to their darkest, most violent impulses just to survive.

Sheridan and Dillon have created a bleak world where people, including Mike, step over the line between right and wrong to pursue personal agendas. Viewers may wonder if Kingstown and its characters are based on real-life people, places, and events. Dillon offers insight behind the inspiration for "Mayor of Kingstown."

"Mayor of Kingstown" co-creator grew up in a similar town

In an interview with Newsweek, "Mayor of Kingstown" co-creator Hugh Dillon, who plays Sheriff Donnie Haskell on "Yellowstone," revealed the inspiration for the series. Dillon, who serves as an executive producer on the series and stars as Detective Ian Ferguson, said he grew up in a town similar to Kingstown where there are "nine penitentiaries, a maximum, a medium and a women's [penitentiary], minimum security."

The actor-writer-producer revealed the parallels between his life and McLusky's. Dillon's mother was a teacher, and he ran with a crowd that included convicts and friends whose parents worked as guards. Dillon noted that "in this perfectly cultivated civilized world there's this brutality and these institutions." He recalled that as a child, he and his parents would drive by the prison and the guard tower looked to him like Disneyland. However, Dillon's childhood naivete eventually gave way to harsh realities. "And as I got older you see these things that happen in our society, child killers to serial killers to murderers to whatever horrific thing we're seeing in the news and they're coming to your town."

Dillon credited Sheridan, who was Dillon's acting coach 15 years ago, for encouraging him to turn his dream of creating a television series into a reality. Dillon told Newsweek, "And we would focus – hyper-focus – on keep[ing] it deconstructed, a character, a world, the emotions of the character."