Emergence begins when police officer Jo Evans (Allison Tolman) finds a young girl named Piper (Alex Swinton) cowering near the site of a mysterious plane crash. The further Jo delves into her investigation, the weirder things get, and she becomes entwined in a "conspiracy larger than she ever imagined," reads the show's logline. With a premise that eerie, Emergence's filming locations play a big part in setting the tone of the story. But while the show is set on Long Island, it was actually filmed more inland.
According to local outlet TAPInto, the pilot was at least partially shot in New Jersey — specifically Westfield, a mid-sized town toward the center of the state. Patch.com also reported in March that Emergence was filming upstate in Greenport, New York (which is near the water), though those were only "establishing shots" for the pilot and didn't include scenes with the cast. Staffers on the set said they would likely come back if Emergence was picked up to series, but it's unclear if they did.
Once the show was green-lit by ABC, the cast and crew did head back to New Jersey, filming scenes in the towns of Middletown and Keyport in July 2019, according to local magazine The Journal. In Middletown, they used the Belford Seafood Cooperative Association for interior shots, while outdoor driving scenes were filmed on Broad Street and West Front Street in Keyport's town center.
This is all brought to life in the trailer, which features dark, creepy shots of the beach and backroads, as well as an overview of a suburban neighborhood and scenes in a hospital and Jo's home.
Such an ominous setting is very much in line with the show's mystery-filled plot. After Jo takes Piper in, it soon becomes clear the young girl has special abilities. Figuring who she is and where she came from is just as big a piece of the puzzle as why the plane crashed — and why everyone died but her.
"Piper, she can definitely do things that other people can't and I think you kind of explore and see what she can do throughout the show. And once you find out something new it connects to something else, it's like a tree with branches," Ashley Aufderheide, who plays Mia, teased to ABC.
The only thing that is known about Piper is that two people come forward claiming to be her parents, which doesn't quite make sense. She would need an adult to accompany her if she were flying, so why weren't they with her? And if they aren't really her parents, what reason do they have to lie?
"There are so many secrets and so many reveals in the show and I'm just excited for people to tune in and watch it because I really do think it's a fantastic mystery and I think it's real appointment TV week to week," Owain Yeoman, who plays Benny, added to ABC.
But while we may have more questions than answers throughout the season, one thing's for sure: without the show's expertly chosen filming locations, its mysterious world wouldn't feel quite the same.