The location: The Suriak Center rehab clinic.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A posh rehab center for the wealthy.

    (It may have been inspired by the actual Passages recovery center, which is also located in a mansion, in a residential section of Malibu, and which can boast of many celebrity clients. Ironically, the actual Passages is located just below the large Malibu home used on The O.C. as Julie & Caleb's mansion.)

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Unspecified, but probably somewhere on the coast of Orange County.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Season two, it makes its appearance in Episode 24, "The Dearly Beloved", when Kirsten Cohen is persuaded to check herself into the Suriak center to recover from alcoholism after a near-fatal drunk driving incident.

    We see it again at the start of the third season, in Episode 1, "The Aftermath", where the Kirsten makes friends with another recovering addict, Charolotte (played by Jeri Ryan).

    After she is told that she can leave the rehab clinic (in Episode 2, "The Shape of Things to Come", Kirsten is still reluctant to go back to her normal life so soon, and Charlotte talks the vulnerable woman into staying with her at Charlotte's place in Lake Arrowhead.

    Later (in episode 4, "The Last Waltz") we eavesdrop on a conversation (at the Pacific Sands Motel) between Charlotte and her boyfriend, and realize that Charlotte is a con artist, who out to swindle Kirsten.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. It is actually just a large, beautiful, private home.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The (12,279 square foot) mansion is located at 3300 Palos Verdes Drive, in Rancho Palos Verdes, on the west (ocean) side of Palos Verdes Drive W., between Marguerite Drive and Via Lorado Drive.

    Here is a map link of the exact location.

    And here is an aerial photo of the house courtesy of Live Local.

    By the way, don't bother to drive by. The house is located below street level, so only the very top of the house is visible from the front (on Palos Verdes Drive West), and if you take Marguerite Drive behind the home (where the fountains are), you'll find a high slope of land there which blocks the view. (The top photo on this page, from the show, was shot from the private, gated driveway of the mansion.)

    Warning: Remember that this is a private home. Do not trespass on their property,
    knock on their door, or do anything else to disturb the residents.

    (I shot the photo below in 2006, from Palos Verdes Drive West. As you can see,
    the house is located below street level, so only the top of the house is visible to passersby.)

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. I didn't. For some reason, I was convinced that it would be in Malibu (perhaps because the real Passages center is there), so I spent all of my time searching aerial photos of the Malibu coast.

    Fortunately, Paolo, one of a group of O.C. fans from Italy, managed to find it in Palos Verdes (using the aerial photos/maps, and looking for the home's distinctive fountain & hedges). They emailed me (in June 2006) to let me know where it was, and when I checked the aerial photos of the house, it was unmistakable. Then I drove by and took a look at it in person. Thanks, guys. (Grazie!)

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