The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

Classrooms to Crime Scenes: School Transformed into FBI Hotspot for Thrilling TV Crime Series

FBI, open up! The FBI Most Wanted crew stepped onto Hackley earlier this February. Luckily, it was only actors, not real criminals, who were “wanted.” Hackley was used as the set for an episode of the television show FBI: Most Wanted. 

The location manager from the production company for FBI: Most Wanted reached out to Peter Sawkins, Director of Auxiliary Programs earlier this school year about exploring Hackley as a potential set for an episode. The location manager looked at different photos online of various places to determine if the location could be a real possibility. They concluded that Hackley could achieve the purpose of what they wanted for the set of the episode and then asked to come on campus to take additional photos.

Credit: Maura McGlarry
The filming crew brought in lots of equipment that you could find almost everywhere you went on Hackley. They were only at Hackley for five days but brought multiple trucks to transport all of their filming equipment. The crew and filming were not seen to be disruptive to the school day.

Mr. Sawkins gave them a tour around campus so the manager could decide if Hackley was a location fit for the show’s script. The location manager showed the pictures to the director and producers and decided that Hackley was the most suitable for the episode. After they picked Hackley, it then became a negotiation of how much they were going to pay Hackley. When considering the offer, Hackley had to consider how much was happening on campus and whether it was feasible to have a shoot. Ultimately they decided to let FBI: Most Wanted use Hackley to film. 

For the episode, the production company was looking for a location that could serve as a high-end public school. Hackley was a perfect fit for that role. The film crew used the Chapel parking lot, the admissions hallway, and the Lindsay Room for the episode. They also used the Chapel as a staging area for the actors to hang out. 

Credit: Peter Sawkins
The primary indoor location that the film crew used was the Lindsay Room. The crew reconfigured the room to make it match the setting of the script. They brought in new furniture, including coaches, rugs, chairs, tables, and more.

FBI: Most Wanted is not the first movie or television show filmed at Hackley. Typically, Mr. Sawkins gets three to four calls a year from companies asking to use Hackley as a filming location, and typically, Hackley accepts zero to one a year. Hackley has never done a shooting during the school day; this means that the FBI was the first to happen while students were in class. 

“Now that we have opened it up to shooting during the school day, there might be some more options for us. This was a test run, and for the most part, I think it went well,” said Mr. Sawkins. 

Credit: Maura McGlarry
A lot of the shooting equipment was kept outside of the main Hackley buildings so as much of the building as possible could still be accessible to students. In order to protect the privacy of Hackley, much of the signage that could make the school recognizable was either hidden or will be hidden in the editing process of the show.

Hackley typically elects to accept the ones that can happen in the summer so as not to interrupt or interfere with school. Some notable productions that have been filmed at Hackley are Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1983), Presumed Innocent (1990), starring Harrison Ford, and Admission (2013), starring Tina Fey. 

FBI: Most Wanted follows the division of the FBI with tracking and capturing the infamous criminals on the Most Wanted list. According to CBS FBI: Most Wanted is “a weekly adrenaline shot about the thrill of the chase.” FBI: Most Wanted was created by Rene Balcer and stars Roxy Sternberg, Keisha Castle-Highs, and Alexa Davalos. The show has aired five seasons, with their fifth premiering on Tuesday, February 13th, on CBS television network and streaming on Paramount +. The episode that will feature Hackley is season five, episode five, which will air on March 19th. 


Correction: A previous version of this story stated March 12th as the air date of this episode. The correct air date is March 19th.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Dial Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *