If you’re planning to binge the new “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” series that was released on Amazon on Friday, keep your eyes peeled for a few familiar backdrops: The thriller, which functions as a prequel to the action hero of Tom Clancy novels and movies, features scenes actually filmed in Washington.
Those spires of Georgetown University rising up as our hero, a CIA analyst who trades desk work for dangerous work in the field, pedals across townhouse-lined city streets? They’re the real deal. And when Ryan rows across a sun-dappled Potomac, that’s no stand-in.
That’s in contrast to some Washington-set Hollywood productions that use other cities, including Richmond, as substitutes. Although the city seems to be getting more screen time of late — the coming “Wonder Woman” sequel filmed extensively in Washington and the close-in Virginia ‘burbs earlier this year.
Our tipsters spotted star John Krasinski filming in various Washington locales in May of last year, so we knew to keep a lookout. But to nitpick in the grand tradition of Washingtonians fact-checking fictional portrayals of our fine city, a montage showing Ryan’s bicycle commute from the Potomac Boat Club, where he ends his morning workout, to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., is certainly a roundabout one. First he’s in Georgetown (note said spires!), then his route takes him by the Jefferson Memorial, then west on Pennsylvania Avenue (with the Capitol Building fetchingly looming in the backdrop). Guess he really does want to stay fit? Or just admire the scenery?
Not all the “Jack Ryan” scenes were filmed on location for the Amazon series, though — the production reportedly was based in Canada, with Morocco playing the role of many of the show’s Middle Eastern settings, including Yemen, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. (Disclosure: Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
And this isn’t about geography, but plenty of local viewers also had a shell to pick with another scene in which Ryan takes a date to a Washington-area seafood restaurant. The table setup is weird: There’s a single Dungeness (not blue!) crab in front of each diner with a box of Old Bay just sitting on the side of the paper-covered table (what are they supposed to do with this?).
And the technique is totally wrong — Ryan encourages his date, who is unschooled in crab dissection, to simply take a whack at the center of the shell. “Like you mean it,” he urges. Um, that’s not how that works, Jack.