HBO’s ‘The Undoing’ Filmed at This Famous ‘Gossip Girl’ Set
David E. Kelley’s latest murder mystery The Undoing is quite the dramatic series. Starring Nicole Kidman as wealthy New York City therapist Grace Fraser and Hugh Grant as her disgraced husband Jonathan Fraser, the series marks Kidman’s second leading role in a Kelley HBO drama (the first being Big Little Lies).
The series was filmed in Manhattan and features Manhattan’s wealthy elite taking their children to and from school. American Horror Story alum Lily Rabe plays one of the other moms at the school, as well as American Crime Story‘s Annaleigh Ashford. And viewers might recognize the gilded courtyard and double-sided staircase that serves as The Reardon School’s entrance.
Is Reardon in ‘The Undoing’ a real NYC school?
In the show, Grace and Jonathan’s only child, Henry Fraser, is a student at The Reardon School. The whole family’s life is turned upside down when Jonathan is arrested as a suspect for the murder of another mom at the school, Elena Alves (played by Matilda De Angelis).
Elena, her husband, Fernando Alves, and their son, Miguel Alves, are not part of Manhattan’s elite, rather Miguel is a student at the school on scholarship. This immediately made the snobby, wealthy Reardon mothers look down on Elena when she tried to involve herself in the school’s fundraising efforts. Her murder is revealed in episode 1, and the rest of the limited series is spent trying to figure out who killed her.
Much like Big Little Lies, the moms of the series congregate and gossip in Reardon’s courtyard when they pick up and drop off their kids from school. While Reardon is a fictional academy developed for the series, the building used as the school’s entrance is a real building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The Reardon entrance in ‘The Undoing’ is the same as the school in ‘Gossip Girl’
Speaking of gossip, the Upper East Side, and Manhattan’s elite, fans of the beloved CW series Gossip Girl will likely immediately recognize the Reardon School entrance. It’s the same building used as the entrance for the Constance Billard School for Girls/St. Jude’s School for Boys.
Yes, Serena van der Woodson and Blair Waldorf used to trek the steps of that building, which is actually located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The building itself is part of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, an historic mansion in NYC. Originally built in 1918, it was commissioned in 1916 by wealthy banker Francis F. Palmer and boasts a collection of buildings, according to Dirt.com. Its dual staircase and gated courtyard opens up to E. 93rd St. and Park Ave, just two avenues away from Central Park.
Another wealthy banker named George F. Baker Jr. bought the property in 1926 and hired its original architecture firm, Delano & Aldrich, to make additions to the property. The collection of buildings was sold to the Synod of Bishops in 1959, and it was then that the instantly recognizable iron gate and the dual staircase in the courtyard were added.
And Gossip Girl and The Undoing aren’t the only shows that used the courtyard as a setting for a school. The courtyard is featured in The Sinner Season 3 as the school at which Matt Bomer’s character teaches, and in Gotham Season 4 as the Falcone Home and School for Orphans.
The Gossip Girl reboot has begun filming in NYC, and no doubt, fans will see this well known courtyard again. The series finale of The Undoing airs on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.