At 29:41, we see an aerial shot of a mountainous landscape.
What appears to be a freeway curves off to the left, at the base of the hills...
It took me forever to track this one down...
I finally found it way up in the Santa Clarita/Newhall area,
in a spot known as Castaic Junction, located at the crossroads
of Interstate 5 and State Route 126.
The hills you see in the screencap above are just northeast of Castaic Junction.
The camera is looking southwest, from those hills
- about a mile north of Six Flags Magic Mountain.
What looks like a curving freeway is actually where CA-126 (Henry Mayo Drive)
peters out into Newhall Ranch Road, where it curves east past the 5 Freeway.
That jigsaw puzzle shape in the lower left corner appears
to be a small refinery, and is located just north of Brady Parkway.
The cluster of low, white buildings to the left is a business park located on
the 28400 block of Westinghouse Place, in Santa Clarita.
Here is a matching Google Earth aerial view.
Here is a Google StreetView of those hills, seen from CA-126 turns east.
At 29:46, we see a car with Ray & Ani pull up to a white, Spanish-style mansion,
obviously located out in a very hilly part of the world.
There, they meet with Doctor Irving Pitlor (Rick Springfield),
a shrink who was treating the late Ben Caspere.
They ask him about Caspere's problems, and not surprisingly, learn that he
frequented escorts, and that his sexual tastes were "passive, not aggressive".
Given that they just showed us an establishing shot of a very hilly area, that turned out to be
in the Santa Clarita region, you might think that this mansion would be in the same area.
But no, they can't make it that easy for us...
Fortunately, this exact same Spanish mansion showed up on the sci-fi show "Stitchers"
on the very same week that this episode aired, and those "Stitchers" scenes revealed
a lot more about the location than these brief glimpses provided.
Those "Stitchers" shots revealed that there is a huge green field behind the house,
as well as what looks like a giant sandtrap, not to mention a row of flagpoles.
But the most important clue was a much better view of the very rocky hills
behind the house - hills that I've only seen in one place before: the Chatsworth area
and the Santa Susanna pass, which bridges the San Fernando Valley and the Simi Valley.
That's where they used to film a lot of old Westerns, such as "The Lone Ranger",
a locale chosen, in large part, because of those picturesque & uniquely rocky hills.
They also used those same hills recently as a backdrop to "The Last Man on Earth".
And fortunately, there aren't that many giant mansion estates in the Chatsworth area,
with huge green fields behind them, so finding it was just a matter of "flying" over the
Chatsworth hills, via Google Earth, until I spotted what looks like
(from the air) a giant, green football field.
The estate actually turned out to be located a few miles northwest of Chatsworth,
but in that same general stretch of rocky Santa Susanna hills.
This turns out to be a place called the Hummingbird Nest Ranch,
located at 2940 Kuehner Drive, in Simi Valley, CA.
Sitting on 123 acres, the estate has 57 bedrooms and 40 baths,
(but that includes the 16 guest houses, in addition to the main mansion).
The estate was up for sale recently at the tidy sum of $49,500,000.
Not surprisingly, the estate is often used as a wedding site, and for other events
that require a special setting - in addition to filming, of course.
When The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco got married, on New Years Eve 2014,
she chose this unique spot for the ceremony.
They have their own website at www.hummingbirdnestranch.com
This is as close as Google StreetView can get to the location.
At 33:21, we are shown what is supposed to be Vinci City Hall.
And, appropriately enough, a fake street sign outside says "Vinci Avenue".
If you've been following us so far, you can probably guess where this really is...
Yep, you're right. It's actually the Vernon City Hall. Or, more accurately,
the Vernon Civic Center, which also includes the Police Department.
(Ray's little house sits right behind that big building in the middle.)
The Center's address is 4305 S. Santa Fe Ave., in Vernon, CA.
That fake "Vinci Ave." sign reads "Santa Fe Ave" in real life.
Here is a matching Google StreetView of the Civic Center.
At 40:27, Frank gets news that Stan (his henchman) is dead. He and his men go
to what looks like some kind of factory, and find Frank's body lying in an oil pit.
Frank rages about who would want to kill Stan, then orders
his men to get his body out of the pit.
This could have been a difficult find. But fortunately, I had encountered this
before, on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
This scene was shot inside at an old favorite of L.A. location scouts:
Al Larson's Boat Shop, at 1046 S. Seaside Ave, on Terminal Island.
Terminal Island is located in the L.A. harbor, just across the main channel from
(east of) San Pedro, south of Wilmington, and east of Long Beach.
Al Larson's Boat Shop is just what it sounds like: a place where boats
are repaired - everything from tugboats and fireboats to yachts.
Established in 1903, it is the oldest shipyard in Southern California.
This scene was shot inside its large machine shop.
Here is a Google StreetView of the place.
At 45:24, Frank walks into a nightclub which he used to own.
He talks to the new owner, and then to a hooker who works out of the club.
Frank asks her about Ben Caspere. She tells them that Caspere
took his girls to a small house in Hollywood.
This scene was shot inside a former dance club in Koreatown, called Vibe.
Vibe was located at 721 Western Ave, in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles.
(That's on the west side of the street, just south of 7th Street,
about three miles west of downtown L.A.)
Here is a Google StreetView of the club's exterior.
50:11: Motorcycle Officer Paul Woodrugh stands on a balcony and looks
down at the street scene below:
At first, it appears that he is focused on a group of Halloween revelers in outrageous costumes,
passing by a 76 gas station below, including two young, gay guys in shorts, wearing angel wings:
But then it becomes obvious that he's actually focused on a more distant sight:
a corner where a young, gay hustler is getting out of a car, following a trick:
Given the mixed Halloween / gay theme, I think this is probably supposed to be
West Hollywood, which holds a huge Halloween street party every year.
But, of course, that's not where they really filmed this scene.
There are actually three different locations to be identified in this scene:
1. The gas station is the Union 76 station at 15410 Ventura Blvd, in Sherman Oaks. It's at the SW corner of Ventura Blvd & N. Sherman
Oaks Ave. (That's about 500 feet west of the Sherman Oaks Galleria.)
Here is a matching Google StreetView of that corner gas station.
2. The corner where the car drops off the hustler is actually a block away,
about 300 feet southeast of the 76 gas station. It's the southeast corner of Dickens Street and Sherman Oaks Ave.
Here is a matching Google StreetView of that corner.
3. Which means that Paul's balcony viewing point must be: up in the Marriott Courtyard hotel,
to the north of (across the street from) the gas station, at 15433 Ventura Blvd, in Sherman Oaks.
Here is a Google StreetView looking back at that Marriott hotel
from the hustler's corner. (You can see the gas station near the hotel.)
( The freeway glimpsed in the scene is the San Diego (405) Freeway,
as it enters the San Fernando Valley. )
54:40: Acting on the tip from the hooker at the nightclub, Ray goes to look for clues
at the Hollywood bungalow of the late Ben Caspere.
Inside the apartment, he finds a bizarre scene, including a puddle of blood on the floor,
and Big-Game-style trophy heads mounted on the wall - that, for some reason,
includes the head of a burro. ( Who shoots burros?? )
As Ray's looking around, he is suddenly blasted with a shotgun
wielded by someone wearing a bird-head mask.
Here is a Google StreetView of the walkway where Ray first walks down.
Ben Caspere's bungalow, which he enters, is way at the back of this walkway,
and isn't visible on StreetViews, although I spotted it via Bing aerial photos.
This was filmed at 1627 N. Kingsley Drive, on the east side of Hollywood
(between Thai Town and Little Armenia).
Here is a Google StreetView of that apartment complex.
More "True Detective" locations coming soon!