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The Mentalist’s CBI Headquarters

Mar 20th, 2009 | By | Category: TV Locations

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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!

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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.

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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!”

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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;

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the alleyway where Van Pelt met her boyfriend for an early morning cup of coffee and also where Jane’s team got evacuated;

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the parking lot area where the car bomb exploded and later where a temporarily blind Jane drove Van Pelt’s car;

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and Hype Nightclub, which in actuality is not a nightclub at all, but the entrance to the Pico House’s central courtyard.

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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.

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16 comments

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  1. Ster says:

    It’s also in an episode of Ghost Hunters….

  2. Iordana Ferent says:

    Thanks very much. I love The Mentalist very much and I was also interested about this building. Very interesting. Thanks again and have a nice day! A hello from Romania <3

  3. vera charles says:

    The front of the Pico Hotel building was also used as the exterior of Sam’s apartment building in the 80’s sitcom My Sister Sam. How weird!

    • Shorty80 says:

      Vera, I am so glad you commented! I have been trying to find out where Sam’s building was for years, thanks so much for sharing!

  4. May1st says:

    The building (and the exact same side of it as on The Mentalist) is also used in Criminal Minds, season 1 episode 19. where the team goes to Mexico. The building is used as a local police station. :)

  5. George says:

    Hi guys, i have a question…who knows where is official CBI headquaters?

  6. Jonathan says:

    This building was also used in an episode of Criminal Minds, season one when they went to Mexico to help catch a serial killer. It was the police hq of the Mexican Police.

    • j. b. says:

      Thanks, that is exactly the reason I was searching pico house. I saw it on criminal minds and thought that it was the same place.

  7. ChumbleSpuzz says:

    @ Jon
    I laugh at that stock background footage every time since it appears to have been taken from the Ziggurat building. That scene couldn’t have been taken from Old Sacramento since its on the wrong side of the river.

  8. Mentalist says:

    Can you go inside the building? Like where they actually film all the episodes in. That big room where Patrick Jane’s couch is. :) And do they film there often? Hahaha thanks.

  9. laura miller says:

    Just wanted to take a moment to let say how much I love the show. Robin Tunney, you rock. A damn good actress. Last but surely not least, Simon Baker…..you take the cake baby. Lol!

  10. John says:

    A couple of weeks ago I was in Old Sacramento and was looking to see if the building they used for those exterior shots was actually in Sacramento. I walked over to where the old bridge is that you can see out the window in the interior shots. There is a brick building in the exact location relative to the bridge but it just isn’t the same as CBI headquarters. Then a little googling revealed it was the Pico House in Downtown LA. One link was your site of course. Nice job on the photos.


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] a huge change of course by having Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) leave the Sacramento-based California Bureau of Investigation and then join the Austin, Texas branch of the FBI.  So, of course, that meant that I had a new […]

  2. […] 17. Olvera Street (aka The Birthplace of L.A.) – A bustling, open-air Mexican marketplace located on the site of the very spot where Los Angeles was originally founded on September 4th, 1781. The center features some of the oldest structures in L.A., tiny shops selling handmade goods, and fabulous restaurants at every turn. I challenge you to find better taquitos anywhere else in the world, including Mexico! The official address for the entrance to Olvera Street is 845 North Alameda Street in Downtown Los Angeles. You can read my two posts on the location here and here. The Pico House, which serves as CBI Headquarters on The Mentalist is located right around the corner from Olvera Street at 430 North Main Street. You can read my post on that site here. […]

  3. […] is essentially called a Pico House. Check out Lindsay’s write up of this Mentalist location- http://www.iamnotastalker.com/2009/03/20/the-mentalists-cbi-head&#8230; Image by T Hoffarth ch_client = "gambreng"; ch_width = 300; ch_height = 250; ch_type = "mpu"; […]

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