FIRST, I want to THANK ALL THE PEOPLE WHO TOOK THE TIME TO LEAVE COMMENTS about my previous pics. I REALLY DO APPRECIATE you all taking the time to do that. I spend a good amount of time on both taking the pics and posting them up and it really does me good to know that the effort is appreciated. Thank you!
Well about three weeks ago Law & Order: SVU came back up to Harlem to shoot their season finale, "Shattered". The shoot took place on 118th St. between Morningside Avenue and Manhattan Avenue and between Manhattan Avenue and 8th Ave/Frederick Douglas Blvd. If the location seems familiar to you that is because SVU has taped around here several times before (you can see pictures from one of those shoots HERE) and about a month ago Rescue Me also filmed here (you can see those pictures HERE and HERE.)
When I got there they were setting up a scene with a cab and a big truck. After watching the taping I think the scene is likely the episode's opening scene.
Because they weren't yet filming and because I didn't see any cast members around I decided to walk around and take pictures of anything that was visually interesting. I then saw this van and I took a picture of it because I liked its colors.
They then started filming a scene, but I still didn't see any major cast members around so I was a bit worried that none of them was there, but then I noticed Mariska Hargitay's and Christopher Meloni's trailers on another block so I had a suspicion that they would likely show up on the set later.
The scene involved a young boy almost getting hit by a cab. From what dialogue I could overhear the boy said something crass to the cab driver and the cab driver said something like, "Is that what they teach you? To back talk adults?"
A bicyclist then rode into the scene and said something like, "It wasn't your fault kid. He almost ran me over also."
A trucker then leaned out of his truck and said something like, "If you all don't move then I'm running all of your asses over."
The kid then walked off until he couldn't be seen and then a scream was emitted.
The cab driver and the bike rider tried to look for the boy and one of them screamed out, "Call 911."
After they filmed that scene a few more times, with the camera equipment facing towards the actors, they moved the camera towards the side of the cars. They then filmed just the cab speeding down the street, with none of the actors around.
They then stopped the car and put in on brake and moved the camera equipment a bit closer. Then then had about 3 or 4 people get behind the cab and rock it back and forth while they took close up shots of the kid pretending to be almost hit by the car.
They then moved the car away and set themselves and the camera equipment up in the middle of the street. I have seen the guy in the green jacket multiple times on their set and have thought that he was the director. It turns out his name is George Pattison and he is the Director of Photography. I wish there was a way that I could do some sort of Vulcan Mind Meld with him and have all of his experience and knowledge dumped into my head! Lol! :D
Then then filmed just the boy crossing the street and pretending to be hit by the car. The camera came towards the boy in the same direction that the cab had.
Then then used a stand-in and a dummy, instead of the boy himself.
Things got slow at that time and I decided to go get some tea because, though it was Spring, it was a freakin' windy and cold day. The day had initially started out sunny and a bit warm, but it then quickly became cloudy and cold. The combination of the facts that it was cloudy and I don't have a fast telephoto lens meant that some of my photos came out blurry. I apologize for that. A fast lens lets one get great pictures in low light conditions. One day I am going to have the camera equipment of my dreams, but for now what I have is going to have to do, but like I said I apologize for the poor quality of some of the photos.
As I was walking around I saw this building ....
.... and thought to myself, "Oh Good! A new party store! I have to remember it is here for the future. It must be connected to the cute van I saw earlier." I then opened the door and walked inside. As soon as I walked inside I knew something was strange because there was a just one wall (a partition really) full of party items and the partition was right by the front door (like only a foot and half away from the door) so that one couldn't see the rest of the store. My first thought was that it must be a drug spot fronting as a store and I turned to quickly get out of there. This woman then popped out from behind the partition and gave me the strangest of looks, as I am sure I was giving her. Since neither of us were saying anything I then said, "Does the store have a card so that I have the information for any parties I throw in the future?" I just wanted to say something so that if the place was a drug front I didn't want the person thinking I was there looking for drugs. The woman again looked at me funny and then chuckled as she said, "This is not a real store..." (my mind was thinking, "Oh Sh-t!") "... it is part of a TV set. We are filming a TV show here." I let out a big sigh of relief and couldn't stop laughing. The building, the store and the van was all part of SVU. Lol! :D :D
I then walked back to the corner where they were filming. During the time I was away they had brought over two fake cop cars. You can tell they are fake cop cars because they say 27th Precinct on them and there is no 27th Precinct in NYC. It only exists in the Law & Order series. (By the way, the cancellation of the parent (main) Law & Order series feels like the death of a NYC family member. :( )
I then heard over a crew member's walkie talkie that Mariska and Chris were walking to the set. It must feel so odd to have to walk with a body guard. I hope they only need them in order to make certain that they get to the set without being mobbed by fans and not that their lives have been threatened. It would be such a shame if it is for the second reason. :(
I didn't see when he walked over, but Ice-T was also on set and it looked like everyone was in a very good mood.
It then seemed like Mariska quieted down and was zoning into Olivia Benson mode.
At the exact same time that they were going to start filming a nearby school got out and a crowd formed on the corner. Everyone was so excited to see the filming, and Mariska in particular, that they started shouting out her name. Mariska smiled at them at first...
... but after she smiled at them the crowd got even louder so she had to cutely ask them to quiet down a little.
You could tell though that although she might have been a bit annoyed, she wasn't angry and took it all in stride.
In the past I have seen Chris get understandably annoyed by fans yelling out their names during shootings, but it didn't seem to bother him at all that day. He was in a great mood. They all were. Ice-T even smiled at me, like he remembered me from before. Lol! (Yeah right! I'm not that conceited to really think that! :D)
They then got serious and started taking about the upcoming scene.
The shoot consisted of Benson, Stabler and Tutuola arriving on the scene of where the missing boy was last seen and getting information from the cab driver, the bicyclist and the truck driver.
During one of the breaks a crew member said that I should have been taking his picture, not theirs, because he was going to be famous. So I said I would gladly take his picture. The problem is that I forgot to get his name. Lol! How cool would it be if one day he does indeed become a mega star? :D
During the break Mariska chatted with a friend of hers. It wasn't until she got up that I saw what her directors chair said. You just GOT TO LOVE what it says!! :D :D :D
Edited To Add: One of the great members over at SVUFans.net kindly informed me that the person Mariska was speaking to was likely Linda Fairstein. I KNEW she looked familiar but I just could not place her. I am so bummed that I didn't recognize her off the bat because I would have definitely walked up to her and thanked her for all the wonderful legal work she has done.
In case you don't know who she is:
Linda Fairstein (born 1947) is an American author and former prosecutor focusing on crimes of violence against women and children. She served as head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's office from 1976 until 2002 and is the author of a series of novels featuring Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper.As another SVUFans.net member informed me, Linda Fairstein is also a Vice-Chair on the board of Mariska's Joyful Heart Foundation.
Photo by Peter Simon
They then set up the equipment for closeups of the scene. They set up this really bright light and I thought it was so cool that when I zoomed in on just the light itself, the brightness of it caused the camera's sensors to compensate for the bright light and create a silhouette effect. Ok, maybe you all don't find that cool, but the geek in me sure does! :D
They then shot Fin speaking to the truck driver. The first picture below is bad, but I included it because I think it is cool because it shows how they had put markers on the ground to make certain that the actors stood in the exact right spots for each take.
I don't know why, maybe it was because it was the last day of on location shooting, but the crew were very relaxed about letting people come close to the filming equipment, so I was able to get this blurry shot of what the scene looked like on their monitor while they were filming it.
One of cool things about taking on location pics is that I get to me some very nice people. Not only nice people, but CUTE doggies too!!
The woman's name is Nicole and after reading on the GREAT On Location Vacations site that SVU was going to film that day, she came all the way down from Albany (which is over three hours away) to watch the filming and to try and meet the cast.
You can't tell from my pictures because I was way too close to be able to take good pictures of them because I still had on my zoom lens ...
... but her dream came true and she was able to meet and get pictures with all of them. Nicole graciously sent me her pictures so that I could post them here. I Love seeing the smiles on people's faces when they get to me an actor they admire.
CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO OF THIS POST.