It’s finally spring and there’s no better place to be than in New York City. The streets and parks come alive and the city becomes the perfect backdrop for some of the best American mystery shows on TV.
You might be surprised to learn that certain shows that are supposed to be set in New York City aren’t actually filmed here, but instead filmed on a soundstage in Los Angeles. Through our research we discovered that Castle, Prime Suspect with Maria Bello, CSI:NY, and Awake weren’t filmed in The Big Apple. But don’t worry, the following shows are as authentic as it gets, right down to the pizza slices and Gray’s Papaya hotdogs in the background.
Law & Order
This is the show that started it all. Law & Order premiered in 1990 and stayed on the air until 2010 to see three mayors walk the steps of City Hall. The show, which inspired numerous spin-offs, was groundbreaking in its portrayal of New York City with ripped-from-the-headlines storylines that showed both the gritty and gilded faces of the city including lots of face-time in Central Park.
Fun fact: Did you know that Jerry Orbach, who played Detective Lennie Briscoe, was also a famous Broadway stage actor? So much so that they named a portion of 53rd Street “Jerry Orbach Way”!
The Mysteries of Laura
Before she reprised her role as fancy New Yorker Grace Adler, Debra Messing was Laura Diamond, a hard-as-nails NYPD detective and single mom who was just as tough at home in Brooklyn as she was on the bad guys. The Mysteries of Laura was a fun show with lots of city street scenes, including several foot and car chases on the DUMBO waterfront.
If you’ve ever seen Blue Bloods, you’ll know it’s New York City and not some set in LA. From the thumping nightclub action on the Meatpacking District to the soaring rides up and down the Henry Hudson Parkway, the show gives viewers an excellent taste of the city. It even gets the drab interiors of a New York police station right.
Similar to the other shows, Elementary gives you plenty of site seeing in New York City, especially the grittier side of the city. While Holmes and Watson are supposed to be crashing at his father’s brownstone in Brooklyn, we discovered that those street scenes are actually filmed in Harlem, with the interiors show on a set in Long Island City. Regardless, it’s all New York City and we love it!
We’re not sure if Alan Cumming’s new crime drama Instinct will make it to next season, but we’re sure enjoying seeing the city onscreen so far. With crime scenes in Central Park, SoHo, and the subway, New York City has never looked this good, even if it is a little dangerous.
What are your favorite New York City mysteries?