Best Film Location

Those who have recently gone through the criminal-court system know firsthand that shows such as Law N Order and CSI get it all wrong in the production design of their courtrooms. Walk into most justice centers these days, and you won't find mood-enhancing sunlight filtering through venetian blinds coupled with the constant twirling of ceiling fans and rows of pew-like benches. Instead, if you go before any judge in Orange County today, you're likely to be dragged into a utilitarian box-shaped space illuminated by fluorescent bulbs, with rows of movie-theater-style folding chairs (pre-stadium seating) and walls made up of core panels covered by a thin wood veneer. To get the truly vintage cinematic court experience, you'll have to take the time to stop by the Old Orange County Courthouse. Now managed as a museum by the OC Parks System, this 109-year-old building is a beautiful granite-and-sandstone structure whose walls contain the stories of OC's earliest figures of notoriety. Located on the third floor of the structure is the old courtroom—whose burnished woodwork looks like movies and TV have taught us a courtroom should. It makes sense that OC Parks grants permits for filming in the courthouse as well as photo shoots. So this is where Hollywood gets its ideas.

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