The L.A. Guide to True Detective: What Lies Beneath


The L.A. Guide to True Detective is a regular roundup of the neighborhoods seen on the HBO show—and what you’ll find if you go there 

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Not saying this is a eulogy or anything, but I’d like to take a moment to thank officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) for his excellent work. Not so much in the policing department (he didn’t quite excel there despite his best efforts). No, I’d like to thank him because he’s the only character who actually goes (went?) outside.

This week, Woodrugh was running all over downtown L.A. because he was the victim of blackmail. Remember that wild night of blackout sex with an old friend resulting in the hangover from hell? It was caught on camera. The tape was used to humiliate him into backing out of an investigation that could destroy just about every high profile player in Vinci. This includes the city’s chief popo, who arranged for the late night meeting at the Hall of Records—which is exactly where things got interesting (historically speaking).

The 1962 building, designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander, is a modernist marvel. It’s also one of the least appreciated high rises in DTLA. One of the structure’s many innovative features was its solar-activated exterior, which kept the inside shaded with louvers designed to move with the sun. Those panels have been inactive for decades. The name is also a misnomer: public records once contained there moved to suburban Norwalk years ago. Now it’s home to city attorneys’ offices, its 15 floors mainly comprised of cubicles.

Last night’s we-all-saw-that-coming shootout between Woodrugh and his corrupt foes happened beneath the Hall of Records in an underground tunnel, one of several in a network that snake from Spring and Temple to 1st and Grand. Unlike many of L.A.’s subterranean spaces, which are closed off and unfinished, the one beneath the Hall of Records is accessible via elevator located just off of Temple Street. For more on L.A.’s crazy tunnel history, which includes passage by prisoners, mobsters, and bootleggers, check out our photo feature from February of this year.