True Detective: Night Country wasn't really filmed in Alaska, so where was it shot?

True Detective returns for its highly-anticipated fourth season, titled Night Country, this evening, taking place in Alaska.
True Detective: Night Country
True Detective: Night Country /

At long last, True Detective is back! The Emmy Award-winning anthology series premiered on HBO back in 2014, with each season following new characters and a new gripping mystery. Created by Nic Pizzolatto, the acclaimed show has received rave reviews from critics for almost all the seasons (season 2 doesn't count, sorry!) and the fourth installment has an impressive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. That'll likely change when the season premieres and more people watch the first episode, of course, but that's still an awesome early sign!

True Detective: Night Country is the fourth installment of the series, this time with Issa López replacing Pizzolatto as showrunner. It's been nearly five years since the last season of the show premiered, and needless to say, fans are hungry for more mystery. Well, the wait is almost over! The first episode, simply titled "Part 1," premieres tonight on HBO and Max at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Once you start watching the new season, which takes place in Alaska, you might be wondering if True Detective actually did film in the cold location. It sure looks snowy and chilly in the show, but, as many productions do, they actually filmed somewhere else completely. Like, on a different continent!

True Detective: Night Country was filmed in Iceland

Filming for True Detective: Night Country took place in 2022 and 2023, entirely in Iceland. According to Icelandair, they shot in and around Reykjavík, the country's capital, along with the towns Akureyri and Dalvík. Star Jodie Foster spoke with the company's blog about the filming process, particularly experiencing the low temperatures as a California native. As the show takes place in the middle of winter in Alaska, they shot primarily in the dark.

“There were huge challenges, as you can imagine,” Foster shared. “First of all, we were working at night, trying to light at nighttime and in the snow. But we kind of had the gods on our side. When we needed all the snow, we got the snow, and when we needed it to be calm, we got the calm.”

True Detective: Night Country /

True Detective: Night Country follows the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska, where a team of researchers mysteriously goes missing. Foster plays a detective named Liz Danvers who begins investigating the case with fellow detective Hank Prior (John Hawkes). Once a former detective named Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) hears one major detail about the team's disappearance, her interest is piqued because of its similarity to a previous murder case.

As the official logline teases, Danvers and Navarro "will have to confront the darkness they carry in themselves, and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice" if they want to solve the mystery.

In an interview with Total Film, López discussed the importance of the setting to the story, explaining that she looked back at the success of the first season of True Detective for inspiration. "What was it that in the first season had connected so powerfully? I gave it a lot of thought," she stated, before answering: "Atmosphere." When choosing Alaska as the location, she asked herself, "What would be the place that would capture that spirit of an American corner forgotten by God where dark things fester?" She calls Alaska the "perfect setting for noir."

True Detective: Night Country /

There's no doubt the new season of True Detective will be dark, both visually and narratively. Don't miss new episodes of Night Country, airing every Sunday night on HBO at 9:00 p.m. ET. The show will also stream on Max at the same time each week.