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Need a Map, '24'?

The first season of "24" to be set largely in D.C. offered us locals a gut-wrenching image in Monday's episode: two planes colliding in a fireball visible from the White House.

Horrible! Minutes later, an aide gave President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) the even-worse news: The planes "went down in a residential neighborhood near Edgeboro."

Um, where? What's the matter -- did the writers worry we'd panic if they crashed in, say, Falls Church? (And they came up with a mythical hybrid of Edgewater and Upper Marlboro?)

Nope, said executive producer Manny Coto: "I just pulled it out of my head. We're in the writers' room, and we need a name quickly because we don't want to stop the scene. We were fully intending that later on we'd go back and insert a real place -- and I think Edgeboro stayed." (After all, they didn't hesitate to nuke Valencia, Calif., last season.)

By The Reliable Source  |  January 28, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
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We in Chicago have tolerated this for years from movies and TV. Every once in a while, a movie like "The Fugitive" gets it right. But mostly, we get to hear about situations at the corner of State and Dearborn (they are parallel streets) or a someone ask for a can of "soda" (it's called "pop" here). Welcome to the Hollywood Geography Zone!

Posted by: askfirefly | January 28, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It is very frustrating, given the number of shows set in the area(Bones, Criminal Minds, NCIS, numerous "TV movies") to see one after the other boneheaded geographical errors that could easily be cured by looking at a gazetteer. My favorite is the NCIS episode in which the team travels to Highland Beach, correctly depicted on a video-displayed map, to visit a California marina and waterside dive. Just using any online mapping program would have disabused them of the presence of any such facilities at the location. Poetic license, especially in the case of shows based on forensics and procedure, should not extend to altering the character of existing locales. It would be better to just make them up, as in "24."

Posted by: mikehevans1 | January 28, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

One of the best D.C.-area geography film flub remains a scene in "Die Hard 2" when John McCain picks up a telephone at Dulles Airport and everyone can plainly see "Pacific Bell" on the phone.

And in another film, possibly "Murder at 1600," a character sits in his hotel room with a huge, dominant U.S. Capitol dome outside his window, appearing as if it's just blocks away, and the character says something like, "I'm here in my hotel room in Bethesda."

Posted by: thefrontpage1 | January 28, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Here is another two movies that got it wrong in DC No Way Out (1987) and True Lies (1994). First: Scene from No Way Out, location Georgetown Mall and Kevin Costner’s character runs down an escalator in the mall and catches the METRO train to the Pentagon Station. I still have not found this METRO station. Second: Scene from True Lies, location Georgetown Mall and Arnold’s character chases the bad guy out into the streets. The bad takes a motorcycle and takes off. Arnold then takes a horse from a DC Police Officer and gives chase through a park. I have no knowledge of a park of this size in Georgetown. Next he then chases the guy into a hotel. They both take an elevator a least 20 floors up and precede to the roof. What hotel in Washington DC has more than 12 floors above ground? I no of none that are more than twelve floors and none are twenty floors.

Posted by: wcmartinjr | January 28, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

It's a TV show for entertainment, not a reality show as some would think, it seems. The only reality is the newly referenced "Jack Bauer exception" to the President's ban on torture.

Posted by: IslandDawg | January 28, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Said executive producer Manny Coto: "I just pulled it out of my head."

Unfortunately, they continue to pull the remainder of the scripts from another body part.

Posted by: bored2tears | January 28, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

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