With a slight abrasion sketched on his right cheek, the stunt double for actor Charlie Sheen was hosed down as he prepared to jump into the mucky C&O Canal under the Whitehurst Freeway in Georgetown.

A cacophony of D.C. sounds -- an ambulance, a low-flying plane, a car alarm -- blared in the background as he splashed meticulously, with quick but careful movement, in the water. A shirtless jogger in shiny red shorts aborted his evening run to banter with U.S. Park Police officers who were rerouting pedestrian traffic during last week's filming of "The Shadow Conspiracy," the story of a young presidential adviser who becomes a witness to a murder.

"Around the corner here!" director George P. Cosmatos yelled, telling the double where to swim. Sheen's character, Bobby Bishop, is fleeing a professional killer in the final moments of the movie.

As the double emerged breathless from the water, a second Sheen look-alike stood on the bank while the crew adjusted the lighting. Then Sheen himself, hosed down and wearing a matching abrasion on his cheek, dragged his bent frame away from the water's edge.

A small group of teenagers strolled through the scene, stopping to chat with a crew member. "I would like to shake his hand. I think it would be really cool to see him up close," D.C. resident Jessica Gonzalez said, peering over at the saturated Sheen with four of her friends.

This was the last of 19 shooting days in Washington for the 120-member crew of "The Shadow Conspiracy," one of several movies (including "The Pelican Brief," "Quiz Show" and "The Net") filmed at least partly in the District over the last five years. The 12-week shooting schedule included several trips to Washington and also took the cast and crew to Richmond and Baltimore.

Last week's simulated adventure in Georgetown, however, was just a sideshow to the action behind the scenes. Apart from the physical labor -- assembling trailers, mobile camera units, cables, lights, prop carts, hair and makeup kits -- there were negotiations with city officials, business owners and residents.

Playing a major role in easing the way for the film crew, without causing major interruptions in local life, was the Mayor's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, under the D.C. Office of Tourism and Promotion.

"Once we know they're shooting here, we serve as a liaison for all their services," said Crystal Palmer, director of the motion picture office. "We notify communities and businesses that are affected by the filming . . . to help {filmmakers} get permission to film there."

In the case of "The Shadow Conspiracy," the office recruited police officers for crowd control, notified residents of temporary changes in parking regulations and helped to contact the National Park Service for permission to keep tourists away from public monuments during filming.

Because of the movie's story line, filmmakers also consulted a veteran Washington insider to help mimic the detail of Washington political life. Karyn Cody, the set's technical advisor, worked with the set designers, decorators, wardrobe and prop coordinators on such details as what a presidential motorcade includes, whether Cabinet members stand when the president enters a room, and what type of guns Secret Service agents carry.

"They brought me in to advise on protocol, the White House, the Capitol, anything to do with government," said Cody, an Alexandria resident who has worked for the State Department, former senator Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.) and the Commerce Department. "They're trying to be as factual as they can."

Cody, who was a technical adviser for the Harrison Ford spy movie "Clear and Present Danger," said she was impressed with the detail sought by the "Shadow" filmmakers. For example, they wanted to know whether the lights blink on the Washington Monument and whether there is a pause between the blinks.

After the waterfront scene, the tone changed a little as the crew lugged its belongings down the steps to a new locale where actresses playing prostitutes -- clad in pumps, leopard leggings and tight, flashy garb -- gathered in the street for the next shoot.

The commotion prompted waterfront resident Roger Uhar, 34, to emerge from his apartment.

"It's been fun seeing all this activity out here," said Uhar, a real estate agent at Uhar & Co. in Georgetown. "I've never seen so much electrical equipment. They look like the Secret Service or something. It was interesting to watch them throughout the day. They were dropping cables and lights. They were real methodical."

Uhar was one of hundreds of residents notified by mail about the filming. Residents and businesses close to the shooting locations were contacted by the D.C. Office of Economic Development and told that their cars would be towed if they parked in designated emergency no-parking areas.

Uhar said he wasn't bothered by the inconvenience. "They've been actually great, and the neighbors have been great," he said.

Although the city's heat wave took a toll on him and his crew, the movie's director gave the District good reviews.

"I enjoy the city a lot," said Cosmatos, who also directed "Rambo: First Blood, Part II." "I like politics. I watch all the talk shows. They say, Live from Washington,' and I get all excited."