UPDATED, March 17 | Spoiler alert: If you’re not currently caught up with season two of The Righteous Gemstones, you’re about to read some spoilers.

Written by locally-based actor and producer Danny McBride, The Righteous Gemstones tells the story of a wealthy televangelist celebrity family. It stars McBride as Jesse, John Goodman as the patriarch Eli, Adam DeVine as Kelvin and Edi Patterson as Judy. Season two wrapped up on Feb. 27 after an action-packed season of betrayal, redemption, murder and the usual Gemstones family antics.

After recovering from an ambush attack by the mysterious motorcycle gang, Eli returns with a renewed outlook on his familial relationship, granting Jesse and Amber the $10 million needed for Lyle (Eric Andre) and Lindy (Jessica Lowe) Lissons’ Christian timeshare venture, mending his relationship with Kelvin and finally welcoming BJ into the family (albeit, in small ways).

All seems well until Eli and Jesse discover that Lyle and Lindy were behind the murderous motorcyclist attacks all along. Chaos ensues, but the Gemstones end up on top as usual.

Though season two seemed to come and go, fans of The Righteous Gemstones can rest assured that the show has already been renewed for season three

The entire season was filmed in the Charleston area, so as you’re watching, keep an eye out for some of these recognizable locations:

The Gaillard Center

Photo by Casey Conrad

Throughout season two, you’ll spot several scenes filmed inside and outside of the Gaillard Center on Calhoun Street. In the first 10 minutes of episode one, a meeting between the Gemstones and leaders of their affiliate churches takes place in the open upstairs hall of the Gaillard. The scene ends with affiliate church leader Mac Butterfield running from the table to the building’s second story balcony and jumping.

Fun fact: there is actually no way to get to the balcony from the area where the meeting is held. The magic of editing just makes it look that way.

The Gaillard Center auditorium also makes an appearance in the first episode as the location for the Lissons’ church service.

North Charleston Coliseum by Danny McKiernan on Flickr

North Charleston Coliseum

One of the most recognizable locations in the series in season one, the North Charleston Coliseum again is seen throughout multiple episodes as the Gemstone Salvation Center.

Atlantic Aviation

Members of the Gemstones family are frequently seen walking to or from their private plane at Atlantic Aviation International Airport, a private jet port located at the Charleston International Airport. Atlantic Aviation also has a second Charleston-area location on Johns Island. 

St. Philips Island

In an attempt to get Eli to agree to invest in Zion’s Landing, the Lissons’ proposed Christian timeshare in Florida, Jesse and Judy bring the family to the stretch of beach where the timeshare is supposed to be built. 

Filmed at the St. Philips Island beach near Beaufort, this scene features unique coastal South Carolina characteristics like the gnarled roots of driftwood trees juxtaposed with a lush marine forest. Visitors can take a ferry and spend the day at the beach or rent the entire island, beach and the island’s Ted Turner’s house. (NOTE: Earlier, we misreported that the location was Botany Bay.)

Old Mount Pleasant Sticky Fingers

No filming location seems more appropriate for the series than a fictional restaurant called Sticky Stephen’s located in the former  Sticky Fingers location in the Mount Pleasant Village Pointe Shopping Center. Though the real restaurant permanently shut down in 2020 during the pandemic, the fictionalized version of the old barbecue joint is back to life in the show. 

Photo by Andy Brack
Photo of Shem Creek by Emmy Gaddy on Unsplash

Shem Creek Boardwalk

A scenic area for a weekend stroll by the water, the Shem Creek Boardwalk is where Eli has a run-in with his seedy old friend Junior at the end of first episode of season two. Locals may recognize the venerable Wreck in the background, a hole-in-the-wall seafood joint located on Shem Creek. 

Poplar Grove Equestrian Center

Joe Jonas makes a cameo appearance in episode two at a potential investor party for Zion’s Landing, filmed at this equestrian center in Ravenel. City Paper arts editor Michael Smallwood actually shared the screen with the Jonas Brothers’ singer in this scene.

Bridge to Nowhere

Only seen briefly at the end of episode four, the “Bridge to Nowhere,” an expensive, unfinished development project from 2003 that aimed to revitalize privately owned land called the Magnolia property, is the road Baby Billy speeds down on his way out of town.

Danny Jones Complex Armory

One City Paper reader spotted this event venue in North Charleston as the location of the wrestling hall where Jesse’s “Second Chance” prayer group throws stones at Junior in episode six. The Danny Jones Complex Armory also made an appearance in episode one as the boxing hall.

Courtesy of the City of Charleston

South Park Plaza Building

A trickier location to spot, the old South Park Plaza at the Citadel Mall is home to the Gemstones Studios Building in the flashback episode Interlude II (episode five). The next scene with Eli inside of the building in which he talks about purchasing a new studio, however, was shot at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. 

The South Park office space recently changed hands in fall 2021, selling to Boyd Watterson Asset Management, an investor advisor company based in Cleveland, Ohio, for $31.25 million, according to The Post and Courier.

Photos courtesy of CBRE

American Legion Post 166

This veteran’s organization building is seen briefly in episode six and seven as the meeting place of Jesse’s Second Change prayer group.

Lebanon Quick Stop

Photo by Lindsay Street

For anyone who lives near this gas station and food joint in Berkeley County, the “El Cheapo” sign is a dead giveaway to figuring out this location. Best known for its fried chicken and biscuits, the Quick Stop is a popular breakfast and lunch spot in the area — but you have to arrive early if you want a taste of the chicken and biscuits, which sells out quickly.

The Lebanon Quick Stop is briefly seen in an earlier episode, but it makes a reappearance in episode five when a group of souped up motorcycles descends on Jesse and Amber and a shootout ensues.

A former correspondent for Statehouse ReportCity Paper’s sister publication, Lindsay Street said she visited the Quick Stop a few weeks ago and overheard a fire chief from the area jokingly talking to other patrons about “the shootout that happened the night before.”

North Charleston Embassy Suites

Before BJ’s baptism in episode four, Judy and BJ meet up with BJ’s family in the lobby of the Embassy Suites in North Charleston. You can see the “Embassy Suites” logo clearly displayed on the glass doors as Judy and BJ enter the hotel. The lobby area near the Falls Lounge is seen when Judy and BJ’s family exchange passive aggressive words (well, in Judy’s case, just straight up aggressive) before the ceremony. 

Screenshot via Google Maps Street View

Ingleside Boulevard and Weber Boulevard in North Charleston

This seemingly uninteresting interaction in a rapidly developing part of North Charleston is the location of the motorcyclists’ ambush in episode six, which puts Eli in the hospital. Readers recognized the area from the “Weber Boulevard” street sign displayed as Eli drives through the intersection.

Photo by Samantha Connors

Former Charleston Naval Hospital 

Episode seven opens with a hilariously disgusting scene of the Gemstones children vomiting outside the hospital where Eli is being treated after the motorcyclists’ attack. Though it may look like a fully operating hospital in the show, this episode was actually filmed in the former Naval Hospital at the corner of Rivers and McMillan avenues in North Charleston. You may have even spotted this building in the distance while driving on Spruill Avenue.

Cabin on Johns Island

The final episode opens with a dramatic scene, revealing that Lyle and his goonies were behind the murder of the journalist that took place at the beginning of the season. Though the property itself may not look familiar, Charleston actor and City Paper arts contributor Michael Smallwood plays one of Lyle’s minions in this opening scene.

Catch something we didn’t? Email samantha@charlestoncitypaper.com with the description of the scene, episode number and filming location. We’ll add it to the list.

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