Dozens of shows have tried and failed to accurately portray New York’s aura on screen, but that’s not the case with TNT’s mob drama Public Morals. The series—executive produced by Steven Spielberg and created, written and directed by Edward Burns, who also stars as a cop—is set in gritty, crime-ridden 1960s Manhattan and was shot on those very same streets, from Hells Kitchen to Tribeca.
It’s a decision that Elizabeth Masucci, who plays Burns’ no-nonsense wife Christine Muldoon, can appreciate. “It feels extremely authentic,” she says. “We’re not in Los Angeles trying to replicate it and that’s most exciting.”
While filming, Masucci, a born-and-bred New Yorker, grew a newfound appreciation for the city she’s always called home, especially when watching videos and researching a bygone era.
“I would look at stuff and say, ‘Oh my God, that’s still there! That little coffee shop looks exactly the same.’” So much of New York has developed, she says, but most of it still feels and looks the way it did decades before.
The majority of Masucci’s scenes were taped inside an apartment that her character shares with her on-screen husband and three young children, whose musical chops and unapologetic goofiness made for some epic dance parties.
“The kids and I would come up with crazy improvised dances and jump around in this little tiny room with tons of delicate things inside,” she says. “We definitely had fun when we were not on action.”