‘Mayor of Kingstown’: Is the Show Filmed in Michigan?

by Matthew Memrick

“Mayor of Kingstown” town is a fictional U.S. setting in Michigan, but it’s based on show co-creator Hugh Dillon’s hometown.

Dillon, who also stars in “Mayor of Kingstown” and Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” series, is a prominent force behind the show. While “Yellowstone” is filmed in Montana, “Mayor of Kingstown” has an American feel, but there’s no real Kingstown, Mich.

Decider reported that the show is filmed right down the road in Toronto. However, according to IMDb, many prison yard scenes and exterior shots came from the historic Kingston Penitentiary.

“Mayor of Kingstown” Based On Canada Town

One of “The Limestone City’s” biggest attractions is Canada’s Penitentiary Museum. Unfortunately, it’s closed to visitors at this time.

According to the museum’s website, there were ten active prisons in the area during peak operations. That fact is part of the show’s prison industry theme and how prison life is so pervasive throughout the town.

Kingston’s economy also depends on the Correctional Service of Canada. While the town’s population is over 120,000 residents, more than 2,000 work for the federal agency.

All Dillon had to do was insert some story themes. Take systematic racism and inequality with prison life and you’ve got one dark American setting.

‘Mayor of Kingstown’ Talks About Growing Up

The 58-year-old Dillon told Newsweek about Kingston life. He said there were “9 penitentiaries” with various degrees of maximum, medium, and minimum security. One was a women’s prison.

“You know, as a kid, my mom was a teacher, my friend’s parents were prison guards, one was a warden,” Dillon said. Other friends had convict backgrounds.

Little did he know that he could inject his hometown into a dramatic series for the small screen one day. 

As a kid, he “was fascinated with (the prisons).” He said he’d drive with his parents in their car at 5, thinking that the prison towers were part of Disneyland. But, in reality, they were the “polar opposite.”

As he grew older, he accepted that society’s worst people could be coming to his hometown.

“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 said.

All that time in Kingston affected Dillon, but did it find its way into his subconscious?

“I don’t know how that bleeds into my psychology or how that works, but that’s what I brought [to the show],” he said.

Jeremy Renner stars as Mike McLusky, a member of the famed McLusky family, which serves as influential power brokers. The family works hard to keep their power, even if it leads to corruption.