Miracle Day US Locations
By Steven Barber
The fourth series of Torchwood brought the cast and crew to a whole New World: North America. As part of the production deal with STARZ, much of Torchwood Miracle Day would take place in the United States, China, South America as well as the United Kingdom, creating an international scope and scale to the production.
Much of the show was shot in and around Los Angeles, in areas ranging from downtown LA, to Venice Beach and the area of LA known as San Pedro. The second episode, Rendition, featured only two Los Angeles locations, so we’re combining Rendition’s sites with those of the third episode: Dead of Night.
Rendition follows our crew as they are hunted down and caught by the nefarious American CIA, and features one of the best Torchwood action sequences in the entire show as Gwen, Jack and Rhys battle an attack helicopter from a Jeep.
Unfortunately, that takes place in Cardiff, so no pics of that here. But what we miss in adventure we pick up in intrigue as the Torchwood team is brought to the United States and escapes to figure out how they’re going to fight the mysterious organization behind the Miracle, as well as the American government, itself caught up in the plot.
The following are the LA-area locations used for Torchwood Miracle Day: Rendition, and Torchwood Miracle Day: Dead of Night.
Used repeatedly in Torchwood's series 4, Los Angeles City Hall provided the backdrop for numerous “official” looking facilities. An iconic structure known worldwide for its appearance in numerous TV shows and movies, Los Angeles City Hall was for years the tallest structure in Los Angeles — you might recognize it from old episodes of Dragnet and Superman. City Hall was used by the Torchwood Miracle Day: Rendition and Dead of Night production company for scenes in which Jilly meets and attempts to recruit Dr. Vera.
City Hall is located downtown on Spring Street, between Temple and 1st. It is a block away from the 101 (Hollywood) Freeway.
While getting to City Hall is relatively easy, finding parking is not. Particularly during the work week. My suggestion is to visit the site on the weekends, but be aware of the rather large and sometimes aggressive homeless population in the area, particularly in the park south of City Hall.
433 South Spring
Spring Street again features in our countdown. There are roughly four city blocks in which various scenes from Torchwood were shot, ranging from the lobby of 419 Spring down to 650 S Spring, which was mentioned in the last entry as the site of the CIA headquarters for The New World.
Searching for 433 S Spring you cannot help but notice the presence of the Lunch Box Cafe. The lobby of this building was used for the scene in which Jilly initially approaches Oswald in Rendition. I’m not aware of any scenes using the Lunch Box itself.
As noted, Spring Street has several locations used in Miracle Day. Finding parking can be difficult, but what I found useful is jumping one block East to Main Street where street parking is easier to find, and the lots are a bit cheaper. As before, note you are in a major city and all due safety measures are recommended. None of the locations on Spring, except the Alexandria Hotel, allow for public access.
DEAD OF NIGHT LOCATIONS
The Golden Gopher
Yes, you read that right. The Golden Gopher. (Cue naughty laughter from John Barrowman.)
The Golden Gopher, despite the name, is a classic Los Angeles night spot opening originally in 1905. It’s a little difficult to find, though the truly adventurous souls might wait until later hours when the club is open and you can (try to) secure a table to watch the evening’s festivities. Be aware that the entertainment changes and may require a cover charge, but it’s a fascinating and fun “joint” if you’re in the right mood. You can find their schedule and basic history on their website:
Currently the Gopher is surrounded by construction, and that makes it a little more difficult to find. It’s located on the north side of 8th Street between Hill and Olive, directly across the street from a major building renovation. On the day I visited the entire block was marked off and traffic diverted to surrounding streets. If you’re visiting after hours or during the city’s almost continuous rush hour, you might consider a safe parking lot nearby. The LAPD are quick to ticket illegally parked cars.
419 S Spring
The other half of the entry above, 419 S Spring is the lobby used for the scene in which Jack is forcibly ejected from the studio.
The Glen Capri Motel
When your name is Oswald Danes and much of the United States population reviles you, it’s important you find a nondescript place to hide. And not have to spend a lot of money.
Welcome to the Glen Capri Motel, in Glendale, California. A few miles north of downtown Los Angeles, the Glen Capri is almost indiscernible from hundreds of other Southern California motels. With signs reflecting 1930s to 1950s architecture (Googlie or art deco), the buildings themselves are pretty similar. The Glen Capri is no different.
The Glen Capri can be located just a few minutes off the 5 freeway as it passes from Glendale in Burbank. Take the 5 north from downtown Los Angeles to Alameda Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley. Turn right on Alameda and drive the two city blocks to San Fernando Road, turning right. The Glen Capri is roughly a quarter mile down on the right (eastern) side of the road.
As always, enjoy your tour of the LA area and make sure to be as safe as possible. And if you see Captain Jack, run.
Next Month: We return to downtown and the ever-weird Venice Beach for episode 4, Torchwood Miracle Day: Escape to LA!