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Where was True Detective: Night Country filmed? Let’s investigate the filming locations for season 4

True Detective season 4

Summer is almost here, but if you’re not into warmer weather and want to keep things chilled, why not explore the frigid True Detective season 4 filming locations? Even though the season finale aired back in February, we’re still not over the chilling conclusion.

Following True Detective’s third season which aired in 2019, the HBO series has lain dormant, but Issa López has revived the hype with season 4 and we’re sooo curious about its enigmatic setting. Join us as we follow Jodie Foster and Kali Reis’ footsteps through the glacial lands of Alaska and Iceland to uncover the real life filming locations of True Detective: Night Country.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Is Ennis a real town?

Nope! The town of Ennis, Alaska is fictional and was made up for Night Country. I suppose that’s a good thing because if my town was on TV as the setting for gruesome and supernatural murders I’d be worried about our tourism numbers tanking…

The next best thing to Ennis, though, would be the Alaskan town of North Slope Borough. This town sits on the northernmost point of the state (making it mighty cold) and has a 50% Indigenous community. It served as a major inspiration for the fictional town of Ennis, though it has significantly more greenery and relief variety than Ennis which, as far as we could see through the perma-dark, was basically all ice.

So where was True Detective season 4 filmed?

Though the show is set in Alaska, production was based entirely in Iceland, and the True Detective season 4 filming locations were based at 2 studios around Reykjavik as well as various locations along the country’s north and south coasts. 

To truly emulate the polar freeze of the Arctic circle, certain scenes were shot using natural lighting which, in the case of a show taking place entirely at night, means the actors and crew were out in the dark in sub-zero degree weather. Sucks for them, but the results are 100% authentic because everyone was actually really freezing!

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Fossa Studios and RVK Studios

Both these studios outside of Reykjavik served as True Detective season 4 filming locations, specifically for interior sets such as the police department, the Research station (where everything goes down), Liz Danvers’ home, and many others. 

Akureyri and Dalvík

For the rest of the production, the cast and crew travelled to the northern towns of Akureyri and Dalvík. Akureyri is a port town sitting just as the base of a fjord, so you’ll be able to see miles and miles of still waters stretching out. It’s quaint and cosy – everything that Ennis isn’t!

Though Dalvík is the main town of its northern municipality, it’s quite small and encumbered by more nature than buildings. It is also on the coast and is dotted with colourful boats and a lot of green. 

Impressively, the production team built the whole fictional village of Ennis in Akureyri and Dalvík, with the addition of American-looking storefronts, liquor stores, gas stations, and traffic signs for that extra authentic feel. This is where the sweeping, and empty, establishing shots of Ennis take place amidst treacherous snowstorms.

Why Iceland?

Unlike the show’s predecessors, Night Country was not filmed where it is based, and this is because this would have made production too gruelling a task. Issa López noted that even if they had wanted to film in Alaska, the temperatures during the scheduled filming dates would have been too cold for the cameras to function! 

On top of this, the part of Alaska in which Night Country is set is above the arctic circle and this area just doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to host an entire cast and crew and their equipment.

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A sustainable production

The two studios used to film in are highly energy efficient as well thanks to Iceland’s geothermal heating – what a win! While over 80% of the crew were from Iceland, meaning that jobs were given to the local people. 

And, as a little extra fun fact, Iceland is rapidly becoming one of the most popular filming locations in the WORLD, and other productions have included Game of Thrones, Succession, and Interstellar

beautiful waterfall in Iceland

Image source:Contiki

Where was season 1 filmed?

If season 4 is a frosty and bone-chilling tundra, then season 1 is a sticky and sweltering swampland – both are equally as hostile! True Detective’s widely acclaimed first season is both set and shot in Louisiana: a southern US state filled with bayous and marshlands lending the production a hazy feel. 

Notable filming locations include the Creole Nature Trail, the Oak Alley Plantation, Eunice, and Fort Macomb. We promise these locations are actually lovely and well worth a swing-by while you travel to New Orleans with Contiki!

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Where was season 2 filmed?

True Detective season 2 is set in a fictional version of Vernon, called Vinci, which is a neighbouring city of LA. Filming was mostly centred there, and some casinos and clubs which are a little more rough around the edges were used to depict the seedy and run-down state of Vinci.

Notable filming locations include Wayfarers Chapel, Vernon City Hall, the Hawthorne Historical Society, and Simi Valley mansion. If you want to explore a sunnier and happier side of LA and the Bay, though, we’re very happy to provide! 

palm trees of LA, USA

Image source:Contiki

Where was season 3 filmed?

Not too far from the setting of the first season, season 3 of True Detective takes viewers on yet another gruesome ride through the state of Arkansas and Missouri, around the Ozark mountain range. Filled with mountains, forests, and lakes, this is the ideal place for any serial killer to act out their dastardly affairs (not that we would know…). 

Notable filming locations include Fayetteville town square, the towns of Lincoln and West Fork, and Devil’s Den State Park which is aptly named but stunning! But the Ozarks are the real stars of this show, so be sure to head there or hop on the North East Highlights with us for a taste of America’s vast beauty sans spooky fog and murders. 

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