With pop culture becoming more and more, shall we say, popular over the years, it’s no surprise that people are finding entertainment relatable. This is definitely the case when it comes to film and television. We know how interested we become when we see an advertisement for a series that’s set in the city we live in or that features a topic we know all about. We’re sure the same is true for you as well.
When it comes to the city of Minneapolis, very few television shows are actually set in the city. Additionally, there isn’t an incredible amount of shows or movies set in Minnesota either. Despite this, the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota are referenced, seen in or play a large part in several popular TV shows. We guarantee you’ve heard of some of these shows. In fact, you might be a die-hard fan of several of the shows mentioned below. You might not realize, though, that the state of Minnesota has played a crucial part in shows you weren’t familiar with. Keep reading to learn more about shows that take place in Minneapolis.
1. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
An iconic television show of the 1970s, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” featured Mary Tyler Moore as the female lead. The show follows the life of Mary Richards who recently suffered a break-up and moves to Minneapolis. Soon after Mary moves to Minneapolis, she starts a job as an associate producer in a newsroom. The show centers on her personal and work life as the young woman tries to navigate the world. Known for its progressive portrayal of women, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was an instant hit with women as well as men.
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” although mostly filmed in California, featured numerous exterior shots of the city of Minneapolis – including shots in the beginning and end credits. These iconic locations are well known by Minneapolis locals. Some of the locations you can visit in the area include:
- IDS Crystal Court: This location is featured in the opening credits when Mary is seen shopping.
- Kenwood House: Located at 2104 Kenwood Parkway, this is the house where Mary lived.
- Lake of the Isles: This is the lake that Mary walks around in the opening and closing credits.
- Jolliet House: This location is seen in the opening credits and is where Mary eats lunch.
- RSM Plaza: Exterior shots of this building were used for Mary’s place of work, WJM-TV.
- Riverside Plaza: Exterior shots of these skyscrapers were used for Mary’s new apartment.
As you can see, there are numerous filming locations spread across Minneapolis that you can go and visit. Tourists love reenacting the moment when Mary throws her hat into the sky. In fact, a statue of Mary Tyler Moore has frozen this moment in time. You can see the statue in downtown Minneapolis where you can remember the groundbreaking show. It’s also a great place to visit with your friends for a photo op.
2. The Big C
Airing on Showtime from 2010 to 2013, “The Big C” follows the story of Cathy Jemison as she comes to terms with her melanoma cancer diagnosis. The show takes place in Minneapolis, where Cathy resides and teaches school. A show with a female lead and subject matter that pulls on the heartstrings, “The Big C” shows how an ordinary teacher at Westhill High School goes through extraordinary circumstances.
A dramedy that addresses a tough subject with humor, “The Big C” enamored audiences with Cathy’s unusual decisions. Cathy, played by the talented Laura Linney, makes the decision to keep her cancer diagnosis a secret from her family and friends – at least in the beginning of the series. Unable to cope with her looming death, Cathy lashes out by making big, and often bold, decisions. For instance, Cathy kicks her husband out of the house, purchases an expensive car and has an affair. As the show goes on, however, Cathy slowly calms down and learns to accept her diagnosis – eventually confiding in those closest to her, even one of her English students.
Due to the subject matter of the show, the creators searched for a city that had distinct seasons because they wanted to symbolize how Cathy herself was going through specific stages of not only her life, but also of her cancer diagnosis as well. The seasonal metaphors help convey the dark tone and mood of the show. For those who have lost loved ones to cancer or who may have been impacted by cancer, “The Big C” is worth watching.
“The Big C” was filmed in Connecticut, which means you won’t see specific Minneapolis locations. However, Minneapolis locals will enjoy the dialogue and mentions of well-known areas in and around Minneapolis and Minnesota.
3. How I Met Your Mother
Although “How I Met Your Mother” isn’t set in Minnesota, the hit TV show references the state of Minnesota quite a bit. The character of Marshall Eriksen, played by Jason Segel, is from Minnesota. Throughout the series, which lasted for nine seasons, Marshall references Minnesota countless times, always reminding his friends how much he loves the Minnesota Vikings. A few episodes are set in Minnesota when Marshall goes home to visit his family. In season four, an episode titled “Little Minnesota” features Marhsll and Robin, played by Cobie Smulders, visiting a Minnesota-themed bar.
“Hannibal” is a show that follows the character of Will Graham, played by Hugh Dancy, who has the unique ability to sympathize with serial killers. Because of his special gift, Graham joins the FBI as a special consultant. Another character, Hannibal Lecter, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a psychiatrist who befriends Graham when they work on a case together. The plot of “Hannibal” revolves around these two characters and the secrets they keep.
Many of you have probably heard of “The Silence of the Lambs” and know the famous character Hannibal Lecter. The “Hannibal” television show takes a modern twist on a well-known classic story. As Graham and Lecter become closer, Lecter tries to hide who he really is – a serial killer himself. In fact, just like the name suggests, Hannibal is a cannibal.
Based on the book Red Dragon, “Hannibal” begins with Graham investigating a serial killer in Minnesota. Known as the Minnesota Shrike, the serial killer has claimed numerous victims and Graham is intent on solving the case. However, Graham becomes increasingly emotional, and Lecter is sent to help after Graham jeopardizes the case. The show is centered on Graham and Lecter’s relationship as both become fascinated with one another.
5. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends
Two well-known classic cartoon characters we all know and love are Rocky and Bullwinkle. “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends” is a popular Jay Ward Productions cartoon originally airing on ABC from 1959 to 1961 and then on NBC from 1961 to 1964. This animated cartoon follows the adventures of Rocky the squirrel and Bullwinkle the moose.
The characters both live in the fictional Minnesota town of Frostbite Falls. Additionally, Bullwinkle frequently mentions Wossamotta U, a fictional Minnesota university. When it comes to cartoons, “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends” brought attention to the great state of Minnesota for kids and adults alike.
6. Little House on the Prairie
Based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Little House on the Prairie” is set in the 1800s in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The show follows the lives of the Ingalls family and their small community. “Little House on the Prairie” and Laura Ingalls Wilder continue to impact Minnesota. There’s a Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove where they hold an annual pagent dramatizing Wilder’s life.
7. Big Time Rush
If you have kids, you’ve probably heard of the band Big Time Rush. Popular among teens and tweens, Big Time Rush is a group consisting of four band members:
- Logan Henderson
- Kendall Schmidt
- Carlos Pena Jr.
- James Maslow
In addition to their band, Big Time Rush also had a television show. Airing on Nickelodeon from 2009 to 2013, the show, aptly titled “Big Time Rush,” follows the adventures of four hockey players from Minnesota who travel to Los Angeles to start the journey of becoming a boy band. The four hockey players, as we’re sure you’ve already guessed, are the band members of Big Time Rush.
This typical kids show is filled with humor, crazy antics and outrageous scenarios. More importantly, “Big Time Rush,” put Minnesota on the map for a new generation of kids.
8. Lady Dynamite
Loosely based on the life of actress Maria Bamford, “Lady Dynamite” is a comedy about one woman’s life and her struggle with bipolar disorder. To help with storytelling, the show uses flashbacks that mirror her bipolar disorder. The plot follows Maria as she moves back to Los Angeles, California.
Although Los Angeles is the setting in the present day, the flashbacks feature moments from Maria’s past in Duluth, Minn. Due to the budget of the show, however, “Lady Dynamite” was filmed in the Twin Cities instead of Duluth. Always cutting jokes about the state of Minnesota and her outrageous family, Maria tells the story of her life in a hilarious way. Although the show was cancelled after season two, it still continues to make viewers laugh.
9. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
If you live in Minneapolis or you’re familiar with the history of the city, you’re probably aware of the killing spree that took place over 20 years ago. Andrew Cunanan murdered Gianni Versace, the well-known fashion designer. In July 1997, Cunanan gunned down Versace in broad daylight outside his mansion in Miami Beach, Florida. Versace wasn’t Cuanan’s only victim, however — numerous other men were also murdered by Cunanan. His killing spree actually began months earlier in Minneapolis.
In “American Crime Story: Gianni Versace,” the city of Minneapolis is featured heavily – especially in the fourth and fifth episodes of this nine-part drama. In fact, there are even visits to rural areas of Minnesota. Some of the characters in the show visit a dive bar and the Polonaise Room, a legendary bar in Minneapolis.
“American Crime Story: Gianni Versace” originally aired on FX in 2017. Starring Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace, Ricky Martin as Antonio D’Amico and Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, the show became a hit, garnering countless viewers.
Produced by Ryan Murphy, who is known for other television shows such as “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” “American Crime Story: Gianni Versace” is a must-see for those intrigued by the mystery and suspense of real-life tragedies. Whether you’re tuning in to see a story about real-life events, Minneapolis locations, or to satisfy the mystery-lover in you, you’re certain to find a show filled with suspense and intrigue.
Another show that aired on FX and has close ties to Minneapolis is “Fargo.” Based on the movie by the same name, the first season of “Fargo” is set in and around the Minneapolis area. The show’s fictional town of Eden is based on real-life Eden Prairie located southwest of Minneapolis. The events from the original film took place in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas in 1987. The television show is set in the same fictional universe. However, season two is set in Sioux Falls, North Dakota. When it was announced that later seasons of “Fargo” would be set in cities other than Minneapolis, there was backlash from fans of the movie who felt that the show should remain true to its roots and be set primarily in Minneapolis.
Visit Giordano’s at Our Minneapolis Location
Whether you’re a local resident of Minneapolis and the surrounding area or you’re just visiting the city, consider stopping by Giordano’s for a delicious slice of pizza. Our restaurant has numerous locations across the country.
We serve a true Chicago-style stuffed pizza made with crust, toppings, cheese, and another thin crust topped with sauce. These deep dish pizza pies have flaky crusts and a delicious flavor. We also serve salads, pasta and sandwiches, so there’s something for everyone. There’s no need to go all the way to Chicago for the best pizza. Come visit Giordano’s today.