The Mentalist’s CBI HeadquartersMar 20th, 2009 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
My location obsession as of late has been the CBI Headquarters building where Patrick Jane and the gang report to work each week on my new fave show The Mentalist. I do love me some Simon Baker! He’s such a cutie! Being that it is quite unique in appearance, I had an inkling that Mike, from MovieShotsLA, might recognize the building used on the show, but since he had never watched The Mentalist I was out of luck there – until this past Tuesday night when the episode entitled “Bloodshot” aired. For the first time ever, the cast and crew actually filmed on location at the Headquarters building (in the past it had only been used for set-up shots) and I was able to make quite a few screen captures to send to Mike. And, sure enough, he recognized the building immediately! He’s so my hero!
In actuality, CBI Headquarters is the rear entrance of the Pico House, a former luxury hotel and a National Historic Landmark located in Downtown Los Angeles. I am ashamed to admit that I have actually visited the Pico House several times, but never recognized it as the CBI Building, most likely because the front of the former hotel looks strikingly different from the back. The front of the Pico House is pictured above. The Pico House was built from 1869 to 1870 by Pio Pico, a former governor of Alta California. The building was designed by architect Ezra F. Kysor and at the time of its opening was considered the most upscale hotel in the L.A. area. It was also the first three story building located in Los Angeles. The luxurious hotel boasted 82 rooms, 21 ballrooms, a French restaurant, and bathrooms for “both sexes” on every floor. LOL Pio Pico lost the hotel due to financial difficulties just ten years after its grand opening. For the next thirty years, beginning in 1892, the hotel was known as The National and was a cheap boarding house. In 1953, the hotel was taken over by the City of Los Angeles who has managed it ever since. The Pico House was restored in the 60s and again in the 80s and 90s. Today it is no longer a hotel, but remains vacant and is used as an event location and for filming. You can see great interior photographs of the Pico House here.
Once Mike told me that CBI Headquarters was really the Pico House, I dragged my dad right out to stalk it. He actually didn’t mind being dragged to this location, as The Mentalist is one of the few shows on television that he actually likes. My dad was especially excited to see the CBI building in person since he had just watched the “Bloodshot” episode, in which the Pico House is featured prominently, the night before. He kept saying “This is so cool – I just saw this place on TV last night!”
I am happy to report that the CBI building looks exactly the same in person as it does onscreen. The “Bloodshot” episode featured several parts of the Pico House, including the exterior stairwell area where the team exited the building after being evacuated due to a bomb threat;
the alleyway where Van Pelt met her boyfriend for an early morning cup of coffee and also where Jane’s team got evacuated;
the parking lot area where the car bomb exploded and later where a temporarily blind Jane drove Van Pelt’s car;
and Hype Nightclub, which in actuality is not a nightclub at all, but the entrance to the Pico House’s central courtyard.
I highly recommend stalking the CBI Headquarters building to all Mentalist fans. Who knows, you might even catch them filming an episode while you’re there! Even though no filming was going on while I was stalking the Pico House, I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally be seeing CBI Headquarters in person!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Mentalist’s CBI Headquarters, aka the Pico House, is located at 430 North Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The back side of the Pico House, which is the area shown on The Mentalist, can be viewed on West Arcadia Street in between North Main and North Spring Streets. The area surrounding the Pico House is open to the public, so I would suggest parking your car and taking a walk around the historic building. The parking lot where the “Bloodshot” episode was filmed is really the El Pueblo De Los Angeles parking lot located on the corner of West Arcadia and North Spring Street. And the fake Hype Nightclub’s entrance is located on the Pico House’s South facing wall.