Warning: Some SPOILERS lie ahead for Mayor of Kingstown episodes 1 & 2!

Summary

  • Jeremy Renner’s return in
    Mayor of Kingstown
    season 3 promises intense plot twists and a new Russian mob boss arrival.
  • Despite Renner’s accident, the show remains unchanged, with co-creator/co-star Hugh Dillon praising the actor’s impressive transformation back into shape.
  • Dillon teases some major revelations and conflicts to come in season 3, expressing his hopes for an Emmy win for Renner and Michael Beach, and teasing his and co-creator Taylor Sheridan’s seven-season plan.

Jeremy Renner is back in full force in Mayor of Kingstown season 3. Co-created by Yellowstone‘s Taylor Sheridan and Hugh Dillon, the Paramount+ show revolves around Renner’s Mike McClusky, the middle child of the McLusky family who have served as mediators in the titular Michigan prison town between the local gangs, prisoners, guards and police. Following the death of the eldest McLusky sibling, the show finds Mike, who previously wanted to leave the town, having to take up the mantle of “Mayor” and try and keep the peace as things continue to escalate.

Following the Mayor of Kingstown season 2 finale, in which Mariam was left shot and in the hospital, and Milo’s boat exploded, leaving him seemingly dead, season 3 picks up with tensions at their highest in the titular town as a new Russian mob boss arrives in town and a drug war goes wide inside and outside the prison walls. Mike will find himself having to figure out a way to deescalate the situation and end the war, though the return of someone from his own prison past threatens to make matters complicated for him.

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Mayor Of Kingstown Recap: 10 Things To Remember Before Season 3

Mayor of Kingstown S2’s finale left many questions unanswered, making it imperative for some things to be remembered ahead of season 3’s release.

Alongside Renner, the ensemble Mayor of Kingstown season 3 cast features the returns of Dillon, Taylor Handley, Emma Laird, Tobi Bamtefa, Derek Webster, Nishi Munshi, Hamish Allan-Headley and Michael Beach. Currently holding a 67% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, season 3 is currently the best-reviewed chapter for the crime thriller thus far, setting up a promising future for the show.

In honor of the show’s return, Screen Rant interviewed creator/star Hugh Dillon to discuss Mayor of Kingstown season 3, Renner’s triumphant return following his snowplow accident the year before, what to expect from the new mafia villain Konstantin, Kareem’s rise to power as the warden, Mariam’s fate, and just how far into the future he and Sheridan have planned for the show.

Renner’s Accident Didn’t Result In Any Mayor Of Kingstown Season 3 Changes

With Mayor of Kingstown proving to be a brutal show full of intense stunts, many found themselves concerned about Renner jumping right back to work for season 3 following his accident, particularly since it was his first project back. Despite these concerns, Dillon assures that nothing in the season was changed to accommodate this factor, instead going on to praise Renner for his “incredible transformation” back into shape, while also humorously recalling having to get permission from the actor’s mother to bring him back:

Hugh Dillon: Nope, nope, nope. That’s a gift. I don’t know how we did it, but we did it. I can only just go back to so much of — we’re editing right now, and it’s been such an incredible journey that when you mention [Jeremy’s accident], I know where it was, what I was doing, and what we did. The first thing was to see him a couple weeks after his accident, and I’d gone up to his place, and he’s in a wheelchair beaten up, and his mom’s there. He wants to do the show and Taylor’s there, and he’s like, “We just protect Renner, whatever we need to do. He’s loyal and he’s our guy.” So, I was looking at Jeremy and you can see the fire in his eyes, a little pissed off, and he’s determined, and I know him, and I knew he was going to make it.

But from there to where we got was just probably the most incredible transformation I’ve seen any person, let alone an actor, make. We’ve all seen De Niro in Raging Bull, which I thought was the most incredible transition I’ve seen an actor make. So, I had to ask his mom, and he will tell you that she’s a very tough cookie. So, it’s not talking to his lawyers, managers, or agents, it’s her. And she’s basically, “Don’t f–k this up.” [Laughs] So it’s like, “We won’t, and I won’t”, and I meant it.

I would go and talk to him regularly. “Here’s where we’re at, this is what we’re thinking of doing.” It didn’t ever come into the conversation [about changes]. I will tell you, as we got closer, he was wondering, “Do I have that swagger?” And I know him and I know the show inside out, and I’m like, “He’s got it. He’s back.” But it wasn’t until he hit the ground in Pittsburgh, and it wasn’t until I watched him do his own stunts — and we didn’t think he was going to do that, and he did, but it was to prove it to himself. So much of what he does is kind of that.

This is a guy who’s driven, this is the guy who did his own stunts, who comes back from this kind of traumatic event. And yeah, I thought, “Oh, we’re going to get a stunt guy to come in here.” I was in that scene, and I watched him jump about two feet and do the work. And then I could see it on his face and I could tell in his energy that he knew he was confident, he was back. He had to do it for himself, because it doesn’t matter what anybody else does, you got to do it for yourself. And for as much as we did to make it work, he did it, and he brought it, on a human level and as an actor. It’s just been incredible to really witness it and be part of it.

Dillon Is Being Careful About Milo’s Fate (But Teases Big Things In Store)

Aidan Gillen as Milo Sunter in Mayor Kingstown

As the season 3 cast introduces new mafia boss Konstantin to the fold, fans of Mayor of Kingstown are still looking back to the explosive season 2 finale with questions about Milo’s fate. Though keeping his lips sealed about whether Aidan Gillen’s character is still alive in order to avoid giving “s–t away“, he does tease some major things to come from the show, while also hyping the new villain as an “old charming psychopath“:

Hugh Dillon: It’s going to unfold, as you know, and I don’t want to give s–t away. I don’t know if I can, I don’t know what the protocol is, but it’s a fascinating adventure. We’re wrapped up in the intricacies of human emotion, and I am fascinated. I grew up in a prison town, and you’d see a serial killer be arrested when I was a kid, where I grew up in Vancouver, and you’re kind of aware of it and the horror of this psychopath. And then, in the next minute, you realize they’re shipped to your town, and now they live a mile from your house.

I’ve always been fascinated with this element and Taylor has and everybody involved in this show. There’s a darkness that is fascinating and this character kind of embodies all of those elements of kind of an old charming psychopath. I’m just hesitant to give anything away, because I’ve gotten s–t for that before. That’s just the politics of making it. But I mean, it’s a great season. It’s the velocity and the intricacies of these characters and what Renner does with them, it’s all fascinating.

Mariam’s Fate Is A Reminder To The Audience “We’re Not Pulling Any Punches

Dianne Wiest as Mariam McLusky and Taylor Handley as Kyle in Mayor of Kingstown season 2 finale

While the season 2 ending left the character on a cliffhanger, Mayor of Kingstown season 3’s first episodes confirm that Dianne Wiest’s Mariam met her demise from the shootout in the finale, leaving the rest of the McLusky’s in an emotionally vulnerable position. For Dillon and Sheridan, this was not only a means of reminding audiences that they’re “not pulling any punches“, but also ties into the show’s overall themes of life being “fragile and unpredictable“:

Hugh Dillon: The thing that I love about it is those are the intricacies of human emotion that I’m talking about that fascinates me in how we absorb death and destruction and violence with our loved ones. I have lived elements of that with friends who have passed away, and violently or not, to be able to explore that is exciting because we’re not pulling any punches. And then the other thing that when Taylor and I first started this show and talking about it, we wanted to make it real and authentic and a movie, and to do that, you have to start with no one is safe and nothing is sacred.

This was like 15 years ago, Taylor had that opening of Mitch, before we even knew that Kyle Chandler would play Mitch, getting taken out out of the gate. And that was like 2004 or ’05. It went back a long time ago, just that initial thing. And that kind of has been our north star ever since, because that is where we exist, that’s where I exist in reality and with people, places, and things and friends. Life is fragile and unpredictable, and for some reason, we think it isn’t.

Dillon Wants To See Renner & Michael Beach Win “A F—-ng Emmy” For Season 3

Wide shot of Kareem (Michael Beach) observing the surroundings in the prision in Mayor of Kingstown season 3 episode 2
Image via Paramount+

Another major shift for Mayor of Kingstown season 3 is Kareem’s rise to warden of the prison, though unlike most that have held the job prior, he’s not playing along with Mike and Ian’s scheming. While Dillon remains careful about sharing too much for what’s to come from Kareem’s conflicts in season 3, he does hype up Michael Beach’s performance in the role in this season in particular, expressing his hopes for both him and Renner to win “a f—-ng Emmy“:

Hugh Dillon: It’s so funny, because when you asked the question, from where I stand, my immediate thought — I mean, so much of it is just gut instinct for me, my immediate thing is, f–k, Michael Beach is a great American actor. And then I hear the rest of your question, and like I said, we’re editing, so I’m just watching where his story goes and watching this thing that we’ve built out and watching where he’s come from season 1 to what he’s doing this year.

And I think that is the nature of the show that is fascinating, when you see a good person corrupted. That’s just a s—-ty way of saying it, that’s just too simplistic. But it goes back to life is messy, and life is compromised, and life is brutal, and life is created with choices and the choices we make. Beach just killed it this year, that guy should get a f—-ng Emmy. Both of them, Renner and Beach, that’s my f—-ng wish for the show. Renner, especially. But it’s just to watch him convey those emotions and watch that slow but inevitable creep that is so insidious in professional corruption, but also personal corruption, and it is that layered kind of thing that makes the show and the characters and the actors rock.

Mayor Of Kingstown Is Dillon’s Passion Project (& Will Be For Years To Come)

Ian (Hugh Dillon) in Mayor of Kingstown season 3 episode 1
Image via Paramount+

In reflecting on the creative journey of putting the show together thus far, Dillon recalls just how much of a personal story Mayor of Kingstown is for him, pulling from his own life and past to flesh out the world and characters. Dillon even goes on to note how much of a fan he is of his show, explaining that his and Sheridan’s approach isn’t down to an algorithm, but rather is “f—-ng s–t that we’re genuinely interested in“:

Hugh Dillon: Well, that’s kind of why we do it. This isn’t an algorithm. This isn’t, “Oh, I wonder if it’s going to work.” It’s f—-g s–t that we’re genuinely interested in. I grew up in a prison town. My friend’s dad’s a prison guard. I was into all sorts of s–t that should have put me in jail and I somehow f—-n’ pulled out of it. But that is where my interest is. And then, I was lucky that I was interested in film, ’70s film, in particular, and I was interested in rock and roll. That just gave me enough to kind of pull out of crime and drugs.

So this is the show that I care about, this is the world that I’m interested in, and these are the characters that Taylor and I have been talking about for 17 years. So it’s just on every level a gift to be here now talking to you about season 3 and all that we’ve been through with Jeremy. I can’t wait for people to see it. And if I could f—-ng tell you every little thing, I would.

While looking to the future of the show beyond season 3, Dillon is very eager about his and Sheridan’s plans for Mayor of Kingstown, recalling the early discussions he had with the future Yellowstone franchise mogul and how they ultimately landed on a seven-season vision for the crime thriller, right down to its closing scene. Though he notes they have a long road ahead to reach that point, he’s very confident in what they’ve got cooking:

Hugh Dillon: Well, Taylor’s my mentor, he has been. He’s coached me, this was the first thing he ever wrote, and he was my acting coach. He coached me on 100 episodes of TV, and we would talk about this all the time. And when we first mapped it out, he’s the king at knowing where it ends. I like intros, and I like explosive intros. [Chuckles] And he has an ending for it in season 7. Whether it goes that far or that’s where we get [who knows], but he has an ending and everyone knows about it, the broad strokes. And when you talk to him, he will tell you in detail. So, our goal is to get to that season 7, because that’s as far as we can get, because that’s where he’s always had it. 15 years ago, he had it. 15 years ago, “So, here’s how it’s starting, Mitch is going to get killed off in the first 10 pages, and season 7, episode 10, this is where Mike’s going to be.” I’m like, “Holy f–k, I’m in. Okay.”

That dude thinks big picture, he always has. Even before he became the mogul in the Taylorverse, he always did. And that’s why he was my mentor, he was my coach. And that’s why when we started Mayor, Mayor was my first thing, I was like, “Dude, this is the town I’m from.” He looked it up and went, “Holy f–k, there are nine penitentiaries,” and we would just exchange stories between where I’m from and his upbringing in Texas.

I had seen him be able to articulate characters and worlds and what was good and bad in a script, and all of these things. And I’d been a songwriter my whole life, I wrote songs, and I’d take stabs at writing plays, but this guy could unravel it. And I’ve played with great musicians who just understand all of it. I can play chords on a guitar, but there are musicians who can assemble and put it together, and put it back or take it apart, and put it back together and play every single note and understand every single note, and where it comes from, and the history of that note, and Taylor’s one of those guys.

About Mayor of Kingstown Season 3

In season three, a series of explosions rock Kingstown and its citizens, as a new face of the Russian mob sets up shop in the city, and a drug war rages inside and outside prison walls. The pressure is on Mike McLusky (Renner) to end the war but things get complicated when a familiar face from his incarcerated past threatens to undermine the Mayor’s attempts to keep the peace among all factions.

In addition to Renner, MAYOR OF KINGSTOWN stars an impressive ensemble cast, including series regulars Hugh Dillon, Taylor Handley, Emma Laird, Tobi Bamtefa, Derek Webster, Nishi Munshi, Hamish Allan-Headley and Michael Beach.

The series is executive produced by Taylor Sheridan, Hugh Dillon, Jeremy Renner, Antoine Fuqua, David C. Glasser, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, Michael Friedman, Dave Erickson, Regina Corrado, Christoph Schrewe and Keith Cox.

Check out our previous Mayor of Kingstown season 3 interview with Jeremy Renner!

New episodes of

Mayor of Kingstown

air Sundays on Paramount+.

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