The location of Wednesday’s episode of CBS hit-show “Criminal Minds” likely sounded familiar to Florida residents and holds a special place in the heart of the show’s producer.
The episode, which aired at 9 p.m. on CBS, was set in Bradenton.
Filming, however, took place in Los Angeles. With only seven days to prepare before shooting an episode, “Criminal Minds” executive producer/showrunner Erica Messer said, the locations department works mostly with information available online.
Messer said the writer was going to pick a Gulf Coast town in Florida anyway, because “it’s easy to have L.A. look like Florida, especially when it’s not raining.” The show is set in a different U.S. city every episode.
So Messer, familiar with the area, offered up Bradenton as an option. Messer said she’s “been here a lot,” and her brother is an assistant chief of the Bradenton Police Department.
“It’s a place that has a lot of fondness,” Messer said. “It was, with all things equal, why not have it be in a town that I know some people there.”
Messer said she visited Bradenton when her brother first started at the department and has been down for the holidays.
In Wednesday’s episode, the Behavioral Analysis Unit team investigated “the cause of several fatal car crashes involving drivers and pedestrians,” according to CBS.
The episode’s writer, Stephanie Sengupta, came up with the idea for the episode’s plot line.
“We all sort of write our own fear and she said, oh my gosh, with all these smart cars that drive themselves and park themselves, wouldn’t it be terrifying if your car became a weapon,” Messer said. “When you stop and think about it, it’s incredibly scary.”
A preview of the episode was posted on Twitter on Wednesday that mentions the city and gave insight to the investigation.
Bradenton Police Department posted to Facebook on Wednesday that the city would be the setting of the episode and added that the BAU asks for a little help from BPD.
“Typically, every week the FBI needs to work with local police whether that’s the county sheriff or city police or an FBI field office, so we sort of pick and choose who we’re going to go with. And in this case, city seemed to make the most sense,” Messer said.
Full episodes of Criminal Minds can be viewed on CBS’s website after they’ve aired.