In New “Murder in the First” TV Show, Hollywood Cops Live in Real Bernal Heights

Alabama at Ripley MitF

Last year around this time, Hollywood came to Bernalwood to shoot a new TV show. It finally premiered Monday night on TNT, and it’s called Murder in the First. It’s produced by Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, Murder One, Brooklyn South, City of Angels, LA Law, Philly, and of course, Cop Rock), so of course it’s about cops.

The pilot opens in Bernal Heights, where SFPD inspector Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson) lives in a cute little house near the top of Alabama St. with her adorable moppet of a daughter. Robertson has been in a ton of things, going back to the original Beverly Hills 90210 and earlier as a child star in Canada. Bonus Canadian content for Burrito Justice: she played Mrs. Hockey (Colleen Howe) in 2013’s “Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story.”

Murder in the First Pilot

Neighbor Hildy, the hot blonde cop/mom (try saying it; it’s fun), is partnered with Terry (Taye Diggs), whose wife is dying from cancer. It’s pretty heavy. They’re called to a crime scene that’s meant to be a Tenderloin SRO hotel, but if you zoom and enhance, the place turns out to be regularly and frequently patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department. Watch:

LAPD patrols

The pair do visit some real San Francisco locations as they run down leads on who killed the unsavory character in the hotel. Erich Blunt, a cartoonishly evil tech zillionaire played by Draco Malfoy with an American accent, quickly emerges as a person of interest. He is the CEO of “<APPLSN>,” which has a big campus right next to AT&T Park, and he says things like “Our apps are more than games. They are destinations where users go to get lost in alternate utopian realities.”

Hildy Terry and Erich

He also has enough money to hire one of the pilots from Wings to fly his entourage around on his private jet. But he’s probably too young to get that reference.


Meanwhile, the SFPD office where Hildy and Terry work looks like it hasn’t been painted since Harry Callahan worked there. Damn those tech company tax-break giveaways!

Paint Me

I won’t spoil the plot; it’s a police procedural at heart, though apparently they’re going to be spending the whole season solving one murder. (Or two, I guess. Another body does turn up by the end of the first show.) I wasn’t blown away by Murder In the First, but I’ll give it another chance next week.  The ratings were pretty good, no doubt because of all the Bernal Heights cameos.

The pilot airs a few more times this week if you want to catch it on the DVR, and it’s free on iTunes. I’ll leave you with one more glimpse of the lovely view from Alabama at Ripley. Enjoy.

Of course, real Bernal Heights moms are more savvy about their footwear:

10 thoughts on “In New “Murder in the First” TV Show, Hollywood Cops Live in Real Bernal Heights

  1. It’s a TNT summer series, so it’ll be what those shows tend to be – good filler when you don’t feel like watching Something Deep and Important On Netflix or whatever. I give them credit for more than just cutaway shots spliced in between scenes in Vancouver, but I had to laugh at the orange LAMTA bus driving through The “Tenderloin” as a SF film location fanatic.

    Biggest indication that this was a TV Show? A cop being able to live in Bernal Heights as a single mom in a picturesque house with a view…

    • I’m a single mom with a picturesque house with a view. But I’m not a cop.

  2. The big question: Could SFPD inspector Hildy Mulligan afford to live there IRL? Expert commentary to follow, no doubt.

    • Non-expert here! With an average SFPD salary of $134k and good child support award—if she bought in a down market she probably could. Now that’s a lot of overtime for someone with a kid that age, but hey, it’s TV.

  3. What about the lack of green compost bins out on the street? Did they think the rest of the country would get confused by three bins?

  4. I watched a bit of the filming and they had placed the largest, brightest lights I had ever seen outside a baseball stadium up on the road above Alabama (Bernal Heights Blvd.) and were filming pretty late into the evening. I guess they were able to mimic whatever damn time of day they wanted.

  5. I screened a rerun of the pilot episode last night. When they showed a school bus picking up Hildy’s daughter at the corner of Ripley & Alabama, I knew I was watching something fictional.

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