True Detective: Night Country Isn’t Set in a Real Place

True Detective: Night Country Isn’t Set in a Real Place

preview for True Detective: Night Country - Official Teaser (HBO Max)

WHEN A LOCATION is integral to the plot of a television show, viewers take notice. Take The White Lotus, for example, which centers on affluent vacationers who always seem to find trouble at one of the many picturesque real-life resorts of different names around the world. Or Only Murders in the Building, which focuses on the tight-knit residents of a historic New York apartment building, as Town & Country reports. And while The Arconia isn’t real, the exterior shots of the building are those of a real Manhattan apartment, enticing intrigued fans of the show to spot the edifice while they’re walking around the city.

Despite its more macabre tone, True Detective: Night Country also has people wondering about its setting. The fourth iteration of the anthology detective show follows two cops, played by Jodie Foster and Kali Reis, who live in the isolated town of Ennis, Alaska, which sits 150 miles from the Arctic Circle. Strange visions and inexplicable phenomenon are common in Ennis, particularly due to the 24-hour darkness that befalls the town throughout the colder months of the year, hence the title Night Country.

But if the setting wasn’t already unnerving enough, Night Country, of course introduces a terrifying murder into the mix, along with a cold case that appears to be connected to the present-day victims. Ennis doesn’t sound like an ideal vacation spot.

Still, viewers who watch the show are probably wondering: is Ennis a real place? And if not, what is it based on? Here’s what we know about the reality of True Detective: Night Country‘s setting.

Is Ennis a real place?

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), Ennis is not real. According to, the show’s town is inspired by a real area in Alaska called North Slope Borough. One town in particular, Utqiaġvik, shares similarities with Ennis for its isolation and day/night cycle.

Utqiaġvik has a population of around 5,000, and is 100 miles more north than Ennis. The town also does not have sun for 65 days in the winter, and has only sun 65 days in the summer.

The same Alaskan town (previously called Barr0w) is also the setting of the 2007 horror film 30 Days of Night as well as its graphic novel inspiration.

Where was True Detective: Night Country filmed?

It turns out True Detective: Night Country wasn’t filmed in Alaska at all. It was actually filmed in Reykjavík, Iceland. Writer and creator of True Detective: Night Country Issa López spoke with Total Film, where she explained the reasoning behind the filming location.

“As much as we would have liked to be true to the elements of the story, the part of Alaska where we needed to shoot this–which is above the Arctic Circle where the night expands into months–doesn’t have the infrastructure,” López told the publication. “It’s a big production. And Alaska, in the months that we were going to be shooting there, you reach temperatures of minus 36 Celsius. It gets beyond human endurance… to the point that cameras don’t work.”

Sounds like a smart choice to make for the sake of the show.

Stay caught up on episodes of True Detective: Night Country with our release schedule.

Headshot of Milan Polk

Milan Polk

Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.

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