SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A vacant Santa Fe courthouse was transformed this week into a U.S. Embassy in the Middle East, thanks to the magic of television.
Crews have been filming in downtown Santa Fe for the USA Network pilot, "Stanistan," the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/1vcmWO4 ).
The dramedy follows CIA officers, State Department employees and journalists working out of an American compound. "Dexter" star Jennifer Carpenter headlines the series. It also co-stars Zach Gilford ("Friday Night Lights") and Jonathan Cake ("Desperate Housewives").
An entrance of the former state District Court building was guarded by gray walls topped with barbed wire on Thursday. A U.S. government seal was attached to the main doors with numerous sandbags lining the walkway.
The production shut down parts of the streets near the courthouse, covering one portion with mud.
Showrunner Michael Duggan says the production, which started Tuesday, is also using Santa Fe Studios south of the city. The props added to the building should be down in a few days depending on the shooting schedule, Duggan said.
Duggan praised Santa Fe as a "film-friendly town." He said it wasn't known yet where else the 160-member crew will film.
The 56,000-square-foot building has remained empty since court operations moved to another building in June 2013. The County Commission approved a plan in March to raze the courthouse and erect a new one.
In the meantime, the property has found new life as a movie set. The space was used for a Lifetime TV movie, "Jubilee," and the now-cancelled A&E crime drama, "Longmire."
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com