ABC’s procedural crime show “Stumptown’ follows Dex Parios, a shrewd ex military veteran turned private investigator who suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to her stints in Afghanistan and is also afflicted by a gambling problem. Dex lives a fast lifestyle, engaging in one night stands with both men and women but also has to shoulder the responsibility of caring for her differently abled younger brother Ansel Parios.
The character of Dex Parios in ‘Stumptown’ is portrayed with much aplomb by Canadian actress Cobie Smulders, who is best known for her role as Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (including the ‘Avengers movies’) and Robin Scherbatsky in the hit comedy sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother’.
Besides Smulders’ virtuoso portrayal of Dex, the series has also garnered a lot of attention for its filming location: Portland, Oregon, also known as The City of Roses.
Where Was Stumptown Filmed?
The city of Portland is a huge focus in ‘Stumptown’, with the name of the show itself being an affectionate nickname used by locals to refer to Portland. You might think that this means that the show is largely filmed in Portland as well, but that is not the case. In fact, barring a few exceptions here and there, ‘Stumptown’ is almost entirely filmed in the city of Los Angeles.
A few of the establishing shots are filmed in Portland, while the pilot episode is principally filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Most of the rest is filmed on sets in Los Angeles. While this may seem strange at first, this is a fairly common practice in Hollywood. A lot of shows that depict other cities are often primarily filmed on set in Los Angeles instead. Prominent examples of this include mega popular shows such as ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’, both of which were filmed in Los Angeles despite featuring the city of New York as a conspicuous backdrop, and often even as a plot device.
This is particularly true in the case of Portland, and many shows which use the city as a backdrop often film in an entirely separate location. British Columbia is a particularly popular filming location for shows set in Oregon, with notable examples including ‘Life Unexpected’, ‘Bates Motel’ and ‘The Crossing’.
The establishing shots of the series show off iconic Portland locations such as the iconic White Stag neon sign near the Burnside Bridge over the Willamette River. The flying car scene is also filmed in Portland, this time in a parking lot near the storied Broadway Bridge.
Parts of the pilot episode titled ‘Forget It Dex, It’s Stumptown.’ are shot in the local favorite FOMO Chicken restaurant in Portland Oregon. Check out some of the cast and crew spending some quality time soaking in all that the city has to offer:
— Stumptown (@StumptownABC) September 14, 2019
Vancouver, British Columbia
Parts of the pilot episode ‘Forget It Dex, It’s Stumptown.’ are also filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver also happens to be the home town of the show’s star Cobie Smulders, although she is currently based out of Los Angeles.
Although Vancouver is a popular filming location often used to imitate numerous other cities, ‘Stumptown’ only really incorporates it in the pilot episode.
Pan Pacific Warehouse, Los Angeles
The majority of ‘Stumptown’ is filmed in Los Angeles at the Pan Pacific Warehouse in the Arts District. According to Tim Williams, executive director of Oregon Film, the studio never even got down to discussing incentives with the state agency, which probably means that the decision to film ‘Stumptown’ in Los Angeles was made with other considerations in mind. One possible one could be the fact that the show’s leading star, Cobie Smulders is based out of Los Angeles as well.
Despite filming in an entirely different location, ‘Stumptown’ executive producers David Bernad and Ruben Fleischer seek to recreate the “ruggedness” and self assurance of the city of Portland by being very canny in their casting choices.
You can check out this picture posted by Smulders herself while shooting for the convenience store robbery scene in Episode 2 titled ‘Missed Connections’: