Southern California locations where
In Season 2, "True Detective" uses a number of establishing shots to show us a gritty view
of the fictional industrial city of Vinci, California, where most of the action takes place.
So, let's get those establishing shots out of the way first...
They start out at 9:54 with an aerial shot of the City of Vinci water tower.
In reality, this is actually the City of Vernon water tower. They simply changed the sign.
This water tower located just behind (east of) Vernon's Fire Station #3,
The city of Vernon is located about three miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
The large white building seen in front of the tower, in the photo above, houses
This, and the two next industrial photos seen below were shot at the same power plant:
The first shot (above) is an aerial view of the Malburg plant, looking northwest. The street running
Here is a matching Google Earth shot of the plant.
While the shot below is simply a shot of those same two smokestacks, only taken
They then shifted to a different location for this establishing shot seen at 16:39:
In fact, technically, they are no longer in Vernon, although they are only three blocks
The large flat building in the foreground, with the yellow pipes at one end.
The camera is looking southwest.
The building with a touch of
red on it, next door, is 1625 Perrino Place.
And they downright "cheated" for this establishing shot of Vinci, seen at 16:39:
(...if one can be accused of cheating in a business where fooling the public
This is nowhere near Vernon. In fact, they traveled some 15 miles south, to the City of Carson, CA.
This is actually the Tesoro Refinery, at 2350 E. 223rd Street,
The camera is looking south from the corner of WIlmington Blvd & 223rd Street.
Here's a Google StreetView of that flag as seen from Wilmington Blvd, in Carson.
And here is a matching Google Earth aerial view.
And then there are those freeway interchange shots. (They love those on this show.)
We see one freeway interchange at 21:19:
This is the interchange of the 405 (San Diego) Freeway and the 118 (Ronald Reagan) Freeway,
The camera is looking south, right down the 405, from just north of the 118.
Here is a matching Google Earth aerial view.
And here's a Google StreetView of what it looks like driving south on the 405 there.
While that 405/118 exchange (above) is a fairly simple one (by L.A. standards),
This monster cloverleaf is the interchange of
The Harbor Freeway links downtown Los Angeles with the L.A. Harbor to the south.
The camera is looking northwest (and almost straight down).
Here is a matching Google Earth aerial view.
And here's a Google StreetView of what it
At 02:20, as the episode opens, we see Ray Velcoro dropping off
At 36:07, we see the school again, only this time Ray finds out that his son is
We also learn that Chad is staying with his mother and her new husband,
This was shot at Torrance Elementary School,
For the uninitiated, Torrance is a mostly residential city in the South Bay region.
This location is about four miles inland from (east of) the beach at Redondo.
( This same school is seen again in the final episode of the show, when
Here is a Google StreetView of the school.
At 05:53, there is a flashback scene, where we are introduced to the two key characters:
Frank gives him a name, along with a vague hint that
Sure enough, 20 years later, Ray is on the take from Frank,
This flashback scene was shot inside a bar/nightclub known as La Zona Rosa,
at 1010 E. Cesar Chavez Avenue, in East L.A.
Look carefully at the scene where Ray walks into the bar, and on the floor
you can see the same round symbol that is also on the La Zona Rosa sign.
Here is a Google StreetView of the place,
Frank is a former mobster, turned casino owner, in an effort to go legit.
But his lifestyle has obviously made him rich. We see his house at 08:39:
This is 22035 Saddle Peak Road, in the Topanga hills above Malibu, CA.
It was listed for sale recently at $6 million.
Here are some photos of the home:
[ Warning: This is a private home. Do not trespass on their property,
At 10:08, we see Frank's "Vinci Gardens Casino".
This is actually the Normandie Casino, a card club at
The casino opened back in 1940, and for a long time it was the only
The 'Vinci Gardens' sign you see on top is fake, of course. The real casino
The Interior scenes were also shot here (at least some of them).
Here is a Google StreetView of the Normandie Casino.
But later, at 56:50, we see another shot of the casino's exterior,
I found the first casino rather quickly, but trying to find this
I checked every gambling casino in the L.A. area, and none of them matched.
Then I noticed a small blue Honda sign in the distance, and realized that there
So, I began looking at every Honda dealership in L.A., but I still didn't find it.
After looking in vain at dozens of them, I finally found it near the bottom
This turned out to be the Player's Casino, at 6580 Auto Center Drive, in Ventura.
Ventura, in case you don't know, is about 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles,
Here is a Google StreetView of the Players Casino.
More "True Detective" Locations! Just click below.
The photos on this page are stills from "True Detective - Season 2"
(which you can buy by clicking here) and are copyright Showtime.
The rest of the page is Copyright © 2020-Gary Wayne / Seeing-Stars.com