Where was High Crimes filmed?
San Francisco and Los Angeles, California
American, House, Diners/Coffee, Police/Jails
Exotic/Tropical, Federal Building, Hotel/Motel Style, Motel
About High Crimes
How well can you ever truly know someone, even someone you love with all your heart? That’s the basic question Ashley Judd must grapple with in the 2002 legal thriller High Crimes.
Directed by Carl Franklin, the film tells the story of Claire Kubik (Judd), an attorney with a seemingly perfect life. She’s madly in love with her husband Tom (Jim Caviezel) and is soon to have a baby on the way.
But her picture-perfect world comes crashing down while she’s out shopping with Tom in Union Square, San Francisco. Tom is arrested in a shocking raid by the FBI, and the reason why will shock Claire to her very core.
Tom’s name isn’t Tom at all — it’s actually Ron Chapman — and back when he was serving in the military, he took part in a covert operation in El Salvador. That operation resulted in the death of nine innocent civilians, and Tom/Ron has been on the run from the law for more than a decade.
Tom, however, vehemently protests his innocence. While he was at the scene of the murders, he claims they were really carried out by Major James Hernandez (Juan Carlos Hernández), who is now an aide to a high-ranking general. Tom says it’s all a cover-up by the military brass, and Claire believes him.
She hires world-weary former military lawyer Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman) to defend her husband, but little do Claire and Charlie know that the case is a whole lot more complicated. With several important witnesses having disappeared in highly suspicious circumstances, they soon discover a huge cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of the army.
But there are plenty more twists to come in this case, and when the truth is finally revealed it’ll send shockwaves through Claire’s world. Can she really trust her husband? Or is he a cold-blooded killer? You’ll need to watch High Crimes to find out!
High Crimes Locations
Want to check out your favorite filming location of High Crimes for yourself? The good news is that you most certainly can. Several of the film’s most memorable scenes were shot at various locations around California, so there’s nothing stopping you checking them out in person.
San Francisco, where much of the film is set, of course features heavily in High Crimes. We see Ashley Judd driving to work over the Golden Gate Bridge early in the film, while Tom is arrested in the city’s famous Union Square. The new law office where Charlie and Claire will work together at the end of the movie is also in San Francisco, in the Potrero Hill neighborhood.
San Lazaro Marine Corps Base, which features heavily in the film, is actually fictional. As a result, many of the scenes set at the base were actually shot at the old Alameda Naval Air Station in California.
Several locations in Los Angeles were also included in the film, including the Omni Hotel in the downtown area.
We’ve gathered together below the details of where some of the best scenes in High Crimes were filmed. Keep reading for info on how to check them out in person.
High Crimes wasn’t the first time Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman starred together. They also featured in 1997’s Kiss the Girls
Claire in the judge’s chambers scene in High Crimes
San Francisco Department of Health, 101 Grove St, San Francisco, CA
After a quick glimpse into the murders in El Salvador many years ago, the opening scenes of High Crimes introduce us to Claire, Tom, and their perfect life together. The happy couple are trying for a baby and clearly madly in love. Things are also going well for Claire on the professional front, as she drives over the Golden Gate Bridge and plots out a strategy for the courtroom that day.
Then, in a judge’s chambers, she’s there to argue for a new trial for her client, who is accused of rape. “Please tell me you’re joking,” says the weary judge, but the uber-professional Claire lays out her case calmly. “Your Honor, my client is looking at some serious time in jail and irreparable damage, while these guys are laughing all the way to CNN,” she says, indicating the prosecution.
These scenes depicting the judge’s chambers were filmed at the San Francisco Department of Health. You can find this building at 101 Grove Street in San Francisco, right across the road from City Hall, which is also where the scenes showing Claire speaking to the press happened to be filmed.
Tom gets arrested scene in High Crimes
Union Square, Maiden Lane, San Francisco, CA
Claire’s life is about to be turned upside-down, but she has no idea of the turmoil that awaits. As she and Tom head to Union Square for a night of Christmas shopping, she’s blissfully unaware that Tom may be harboring deadly secrets. But as the happy couple stroll around Union Square, we see that they’re being watched closely by a team of undercover agents.
Tom begins to suspect that something isn’t right, and Claire picks up on his concern. “What is it, baby?” she asks, just before an explosion causes her to jump in fright. A SWAT team materializes from nowhere, weapons drawn, the officers yelling “get down on the ground now!” Tom and Claire have no choice but to comply. They’re taken into custody and Claire’s perfect life shatters into a million pieces.
Long-time San Francisco natives will of course recognize Union Square as the destination for Claire and Tom’s Christmas shopping adventure. The street where Tom is physically arrested is nearby Maiden Lane, which runs off Stockton Street.
Claire learns Tom is actually Ron scene in High Crimes
Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA
Following the shocking arrest of her husband, Claire goes straight into lawyer mode. She’s ready for a fight and desperate to plead her son’s innocence, and the man who must bear the full force of her wrath is Special Agent Mullins (Tom Bower).
Claire claims they’ve made a mistake — the police are looking for Ron Chapman, but her husband’s name is Tom Kubik. But the agent points out that Tom’s fingerprints are a match for someone who’s been wanted for 12 years, prompting Claire to demand to know what he’s accused of.
Claire says she has a right to know the charges because she was arrested too, but Mullins’ response leaves her stunned: “No, you don’t. Not when it’s a military court, and not when national security is involved.” Stunned by this revelation, we soon see Claire standing out in front of the FBI building, trying her best to fight back tears.
The interior scenes where Claire argues with Special Agent Mullins were shot in LA, but the exterior of the FBI headquarters is actually the Phillip Burton Federal Building. You can find it in San Francisco at 450 Golden Gate Avenue.
Claire meets Hernandez scene in High Crimes
Alameda Naval Air Station, 1100 W Red Line Ave, Alameda, CA
As she struggles to come to terms with Tom’s arrest, Claire scrambles to put together his defense. She then boards a flight to travel to California’s San Lazaro Marine Corps Base. Upon arrival, she’s clearly intimidated by the military surroundings and still trying to process the fact that Tom was once a marine.
After checking in at the base, Claire prepares to meet Tom, but before she sees him she’s intercepted by a man who introduces himself as James Hernandez, a soldier from the same unit as Ron.
“This must be a terrible shock to you, ma’am, but if there’s anything I can do,” he says, just as Claire is called in to see her husband. “Ron was a good Marine,” Hernandez continues, and Claire thanks him for his support, but Hernandez definitely knows more about the murders than he’s letting on.
This High Crimes filming location is the former Alameda Naval Air Station on W. Red Line Avenue, in Alameda, California. It is easily accessed by vehicle from anywhere in the state.
Claire finds Embry with Jackie scene in High Crimes
Embry’s home, 500 Corpus Christi Rd, Alameda, CA
Having learned that multiple witnesses to the crime in El Salvador have disappeared in suspicious circumstances, Claire and Charlie realize they’ve uncovered something much bigger and more sinister. As Claire goes for a run around the Marine Corps base, we hear Charlie calling her to explain some even more suspicious disappearances of people involved in the case.
Stopping at the quarters of First Lieutenant Terence Embry (Adam Scott), the inexperienced lawyer assigned to defend Tom, Claire knocks on his door. But when he answers, a shirtless Embry is immediately acting shifty, and Claire is dismayed to see her ditzy sister Jackie (Amanda Peet) come to the door.
“Please don’t be mad. It wasn’t him — it was all me,” Jackie says quickly. Embry also chimes in: “Mrs Kubik, I want you to know this doesn’t affect anything, OK? I mean, my work, I’m totally up for it.” But a furious Claire storms off in disgust, accusing her sister of never being able to take anything seriously.
In these scenes, Claire runs along Pan Am Way and then Corpus Christi Road at Alameda. Embry’s home is at 500 Corpus Christi Road.
Claire and Charlie start a new law firm scene in High Crimes
CW Grimes and Associates, Pennsylvania Ave & 19th St, San Francisco, CA
Following the shocking climax to High Crimes where she discovers the truth about her husband, Claire is ready to move on with her life. Sometime after Tom’s death, we see her driving up a hill in her Mercedes, with the San Francisco skyline in the background.
Claire is ready to do what she does best and head back to work, but she’s not going back to her old firm. Instead, a plaque on the building she approaches reveals her new workplace: “C.W. Grimes & Associates.” Stepping inside, she shares a smile with Charlie, who asks how she’s holding up.
But it’s clear Claire is doing just fine and is putting her life back together. “You know, it could say Grimes and Kubik,” Charlie says of his plaque, but Claire shakes her head. “It’s gotta say Grimaldi, my maiden name,” she responds, before quickly moving on to offer some interior decorating tips to the grizzled older lawyer.
This High Crimes filming location is found in San Francisco at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 19th Street. Located in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, this site is just a couple of miles southeast of the heart of the city.
It may not have been a major box office success, but there are still plenty of good reasons why High Crimes is worth a watch. Judd and Freeman form an impressive on-screen partnership, while the question marks over Tom’s guilt or innocence will keep you guessing long into the movie.
High Crimes is also one of those films featuring a host of real-world locations you can easily visit for yourself. So, if you’re embarking on a self-guided movie tour of San Francisco, why not include a few of the locations featured here in your itinerary?