All around Dallas, streets and homes, restaurants and bars are becoming film sets. Photo by can turkyilmaz

New TV series ‘The Good Guys’ spotlights our neighborhood

Two cops burst into a back street and give chase to the bad guy who just robbed a pharmacy. A director yells “Cut!” and they do it again and again for the cameras.

This is not a Hollywood soundstage; it’s an Exposition Park alley. All around Dallas, streets and homes, restaurants and bars are becoming film sets. And our neighbors are getting into the act.

Matt Nix, creator of the television show “Burn Notice”, chose Dallas as the backdrop for his new Fox series, “The Good Guys”, which premieres June 7 at 8 p.m.

In an unusual move, Fox bought a 13-episode season of the action comedy without seeing a pilot. Since television revenues are declining, Nix is bringing the low-budget cable model to network television. Filming the show in Dallas — and making our city the setting — saves millions of dollars.

“We’re definitely cheaper than either coast,” says Janis Burklund, director of the Dallas Film Commission. “But we have D/FW airport, so you can get here within four hours from New York or L.A. We’re the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States, and we’ve had the industry here for a long time.”

The film commission estimates that the show will, in its first season of filming, spend $16 million here on everything from catering and hotels to location rentals and talent.

The commission spent several months working up a case for why Nix should film the show in Dallas and set it here. The original pilot script was set in Los Angeles, but Burklund and her staff convinced Nix to set it in Dallas because it’s cheaper — the crew doesn’t have to worry about making it look like L.A.

“We can’t put a value on the marketing value of having Dallas basically as a character in the show,” Burklund says. “It’s definitely more than we would ever have the ability to purchase.”

And of course, “The Good Guys” gives Dallas actors and film crew workers new opportunities.

Lake Highlands resident Melissa Adami fullfilled her New Year’s resolution to be on a TV show. Photo by Robert Bunch

It allowed Melissa Adami of Lake Highlands to fulfill her New Year’s resolution “to be on a TV show.” Adami is a certified public accountant who works in real estate development. But she has acted since high school.

She enrolled in an email list for Dallas casting calls, and when an agency asked her to show up for a 6 a.m. call at Fair Park, she decided to take a day off and check that resolution off her list.

She was in the scene with the pharmacy robbery at Expo Park as a passerby on the street. Then she donned a cop uniform and was “background” at the police station.

“That was fun,” she says. “I just walked around and talked to the other extras.”

Later, she put on some business clothes and was in the background of a legal office.

“I worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., I think,” she says. “It was rugged.”

Adami, who has acted in independent films, says she was impressed with the scope of the operation. The agency asked her back, but now that she has crossed off that resolution, she’s already onto the next one.

Fair Park takes center stage in the show. It’s the location for the police headquarters where the main characters, Dan Stark and Jack Bailey — played by Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, respectively — check in with the boss, Ana Ruiz, who is played by Diana Maria Riva.

East Dallas businesses Times Ten Cellars, Faulkner Dry Cleaning, Corner Market and many others also have been tapped as locations.

“It was amazing how many people and how much equipment they sent for a segment that’s supposed to be about two minutes long,” says Rob Wilson, Times Ten co-owner. “We didn’t realize the number of people it takes to do something like that. But it worked out great.”

The crew showed up at 6 a.m. and finished at about 1 p.m., he says.

Corner Market on Lower Greenville has been a location for a national Ford commercial and a Texas Lottery commercial. And owner Chuck Cole added to the building’s showbiz resume when he rented it to “The Good Guys” for a night in April.

The size of the show’s operation was a surprise to him, too.

“They have a huge production crew that took up two streets,” Cole says. “They rented our parking lot, and that was just for part of them.”

But it was fun to be inside a film set, he says. Actor Bradley Whitford had his dog on set, and he bought some goodies from the new pet store, Avenue Barket, which is on the same block.

Film commissioner Burklund says she has seen snippets of the show so far, and she’s “extremely optimistic” that Fox will pick it up for a second season.

“We encourage everyone to watch,” she says. “Particularly if you’re a Nielsen family.”