When and Where Does Fatal Attraction Show Take Place?

Paramount+’s ‘Fatal Attraction’ is a psychological drama based on the 1987 film of the same name. While the series mostly follows the storyline of the original movie, it makes several changes to the source material, especially with regard to its setting. As with the film, the series follows the story of Dan Gallagher and his affair with co-worker Alexandra “Alex” Forrest, albeit in a more modern context. As the television adaptation updates the story for a modern audience, viewers must be wondering whether the show’s period and setting differ from its film counterpart and when and where the modern retelling takes place. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Fatal Attraction Is Set in Modern Day

‘Fatal Attraction’ follows DA Dan Gallagher (Joshua Jackson) and his co-worker Alexandra “Alex” Forrest (Lizzy Caplan) as they become entwined in each other’s life following a brief affair. Alex becomes obsessed with Dan and starts meddling in his life in her search for love, validation, and commitment. However, things take a drastic turn, leading to Dan’s imprisonment. In the very first episode, viewers learn that Dan spent nearly ten years in prison for Alex’s murder. As a result, the show’s narrative is spliced into two timelines and takes place during two distinct periods in Dan’s life. The 1987 film takes place during the 1980s and serves as an inspiration for the modern television adaptation. However, since the television is set in the modern era, it showcases several facets of modern society.

The show succeeds in creating two distinct timelines with its visual style, tone, and appearance of the characters. The present-day timeline, which follows Dan after he is released from prison on parole, is set roughly in 2023. Although there is no direct confirmation of the exact time period in which the events are set, modern technology, advertisements, and products suggest that Dan was released on parole sometime around 2023. Meanwhile, the past timeline, which explores Dan and Alex’s affair and its explosive aftermath, is set roughly ten years before Dan’s parole. Hence, it is safe to say that the second timeline is unfolding sometime in 2012-2013. By creating two distinct timelines, the makers tell the story in a non-linear fashion, keeping viewers guessing about the several twists and turns that ensue after Dan and Alex’s ill-fated hook-up.

The Suburban Setting of Fatal Attraction

‘Fatal Attraction’ is a tale that is known for being culturally relevant even decades after the movie first came out. The story explores complex themes such as infidelity, eroticism, and romantic obsession, among others, and keeps viewers invested in the story of Dan and Alex. The original film is rooted in the culture of New York City and draws most of its socio-cultural commentary from its setting. In the film, Dan is a lawyer working for a high-end law firm, and his affair with Alex directly affects his professional life, which is set in the competitive and cut-throat law world of New York. In contrast, the television adaptation creates a fresh cultural context by uprooting the story from New York City.

The 2023 television series, which reimagines and updates the classic film’s plot, takes place in Los Angeles, California, mainly in the Pasadena region of the city. In the series, Dan works for the District Court in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Dan enjoys a quiet and peaceful suburban lifestyle with his family. As a result, the television series uses its setting to showcase the delicate balance Dan has created between his personal and professional life. Furthermore, the series was filmed on location in parts of Los Angeles County, giving it a sense of authenticity as several storefronts and landmarks from the area can be seen on screen. Thus, the television reboot also gives viewers a fresh visual and cultural experience by changing the story’s setting from New York to Los Angeles.

Read More: Is Fatal Attraction Based on a True Story?