The Johns Hopkins Gazette: March 9, 1998
Mar. 9 1998
VOL. 27, NO. 25


"Homicide": Life on North Charles Street

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

When a dastardly murder takes place in Baltimore, you can be sure that all of Charm City's top homicide detectives will be on the scene. And that they were when Homicide's cameras paid a visit to North Charles Street last week: Detectives Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher), Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor), John Munch (Richard Belzer) and Laura Ballard (Callie Thorne) were all on hand. Though actor Yaphet Kotto wasn't in the group, he had made another contribution; he penned the episode, which is called "Secrets."

The shoot included four scenes, all choreographed to take advantage of the day's 11 hours and 13 minutes of daylight. The crime, however, was committed inside; to find out where, you'll have to watch "Secrets."

And if the scene of the crime--the glamorous Fairglen Country Club--looks familiar to the Hopkins community, well, it should. In real life, the spectacular structure is Evergreen, that Italianate beauty whose list of screen credits keeps growing.

In fact, this wasn't even Evergreen's first role in the NBC-TV show; that credit goes to a 1994 episode in which Hopkins' historic property doubled as a private residence (and scene of yet another murder). You also may have seen the 48-room mansion when Dorothy Hamill, the Olympics gold medal-winning skater and Baltimore resident, was interviewed there by Maryland Public Television for an Olympics special. The connection? Robert Garrett, whose family owned Evergreen House from 1878 to 1942, was a two-time Olympic gold medal winner (in discus and shotput) and had trained in its former gymnasium.

Director Edward Bianchi surveys the expansive front lawn of Hopkins' Italianate historic house, transformed by TV crews into a clubhouse.

"The house lends itself to so many things," says Beth Nowell, marketing director of the university's historic houses, who choreographs activities at Evergreen, including visits from the 98 people who worked on this shoot.

The transformation from elegant home to country club required only a little propping: Golf carts and expensive cars were rolled in to adorn the grounds; inside, the billiards room's glorious collection of blue-and-white porcelain was tucked away and replaced by golf trophies.

Kyle Secor and Andre Braugher take a break from filming. As Bayliss and Pembleton, they interrogate a suspect in the drawing room.

The shoot was a long one--from 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.--but every minute was rewarding for the Hopkins staff that calls the building home. "It is always such a pleasure to have Homicide here," says Lili Ott, director of Evergreen. "The crew has so much respect for the historical integrity of the property."

The segment, episode No. 20, is slated for April 17 or 24. But if you miss Evergreen on screen then, you'll have another chance. In the MGM movie Species II, which also opens in April, Hopkins' historic house has yet another role: This time around, it doubles as the Hungarian embassy.
--Lois Perschetz