Who doesn't love a fictional serial killer mystery? Without the caveat of knowing real people lost their lives, it allows fans to really immerse themselves in the world laid out in front of them. If that kind of experience intrigues you, Anna Paquin stars in a thriller on WGN called Bellevue (creators: Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell), which isn't true crime but definitely has the same vibe that true crime viewers like. The story takes place in a small mining town in Canada called Bellevue, so a lot of fans may be wondering whether Bellevue is a real town.
Well, per Hello! Canada, Bellevue was actually filmed in Montreal, which offers some of the most amazing vistas a show could hope for as a backdrop. As it turns out, Bellevue is not a real town in Montreal but Bellevue is a real town in Alberta, Canada. That doesn't make the events in Bellevue real, though, so you can visit the Alberta town without fear of a serial killer, probably.
The eight-part series stars Anna Paquin as a police detective who is desperately trying to unravel the case of a missing, local, transgender teen. The description of the series from the WGN website states:
Welcome to “Bellevue” – a small town with big secrets. Twenty years ago the murder of a young woman traumatized the community. Now the killer is back. Or is he? When a high school hockey star wrestling with his gender identity goes missing and all signs point to foul play, Detective Annie Ryder must unravel all the pieces to this gripping mystery before her own life falls apart.
When speaking to WNEP, the town in Bellevue is described as a mining town by Shawn Doyle, who plays police chief Peter Welland on the series. Doyle explained, "The show centers around a missing transgender teen in a small mining town, and we find there a bunch of conspiracies and strange relationships with town people."
In real life, the town of Bellevue, Alberta is also well-known as a mining town. There is actually an entire website dedicated to the Bellevue Underground Coal Mine. Tourists can even take tours of the Bellevue Underground Coal Mine. Hopefully that's the only similarity the fictionalized town and the real one share, though.
With the gloomy, eerie backdrop that the fictional Bellevue offers for this series, it might remind fans of some other, similar television thrillers that specialize in the gritty and often unsettling side of life. One of the first series that may come to mind will likely be 2011's The Killing. Set in the perpetually gloomy and rain-soaked locale of Seattle, Washington, The Killing also follows a female detective (Mireille Enos) as she tracks the mysterious killer of a young, teenage girl. Some parallels can certainly be drawn between the two stories and the fact that they both feature a fierce-but-flawed female detective at the center of the story.
Bellevue only has eight episodes in its first season, but series writer Jane Maggs told The TV Junkies that the writers already have plans for a second season of Bellevue, should the Canadian Broadcasting Company be interested in renewing the show. Maggs revealed, "The case will be different, but the characters and their issues will always be there." So the show plans to stick around in Bellevue (or, in this case, the set in Montreal), but follow a different case in the same town each season.
So, take a trip across the border to Bellevue and see for yourself why this old mining town was the perfect setting for Bellevue's gritty murder mystery. The series premieres Jan. 23 on WGN.