Margrave was envisioned as a typical American small town. But small though it was, building the entire thing was far from a simple process.
After being forced to leave Georgia behind, Santora and company settled on Pickering, Ontario as the location to build their imagined town. An outer suburb of Toronto, Pickering provided the kind of isolated terrain the crew was looking for to ensure they controlled their set and kept the risk of COVID exposure as low as possible. As Drew Brown, executive vice president of production at Skydance Television, told The Hollywood Reporter, “We pivoted to Toronto, where there were fewer COVID-19 cases and where we would be able to build a replica Georgia town — and fully control it.”
Led by production designer Patricio M. Farrell, the “Reacher” crew started building the 23-acre town of Margrave on a corn field amid 90 acres of rural land. The finished backlot featured 30 stores and shops, including the famous diner that Reacher first visits when he arrives in Margrave. The crew also built the police station and town hall, the main square in the town center where Reacher and Willa Fitzgerald’s Roscoe bid each other adieu, and made the whole set fully expandable. What’s more, they also reinforced the facades of the buildings with solid steel and exterior siding, ensuring the whole set would stand firm for years to come. This is just as well considering Skydance and production services company William F. White International agreed on a deal with the city of Pickering to keep the backlot running, with William F. White overseeing the operation of the site through December 2026. Not that Jack Reacher will need it, considering “Reacher” season 2 looks set to take place primarily in New York City.