Baltimore Police say an investigation into a purported threat that halted production of Apple TV+ miniseries “Lady in the Lake” offers a significantly different narrative, with police now saying the threats of violence and extortion do not appear accurate.

Police, citing officers working security on the set, told news media including The Baltimore Banner over the weekend that drug dealers had been upset with the production, threatened to shoot up the set, and demanded a $45,000 payment, causing production to be shut down for the day.

Production company Endeavor Content also released a statement saying two men confronted a driver on the production and one of them brandished a gun at him. The production increased security as a result.

Police continued to investigate and have made an arrest — but the account is much different.

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Using CCTV camera footage, police located a street vendor seen talking with a member of the production. He said he requested compensation from the production because he was not able to operate during filming. The statement makes no mention of a firearm.

A police report shows that the initial report to police came secondhand from a location manager. The person, who is not identified by name, told an officer around 4:45 p.m. that at 6 a.m. people demanded $50,000 in order to film at the location, and that they pulled a gun.

“Once questioned what the gun looked like, [the location manager] retracted his original statement of seeing the gun and advised he did not see a gun but that one of the drivers [had] seen the gun,” the report says. The location manager also said they had “seen a large amount of marijuana.”

Police had apparently been called to the set that evening for a separate report of people being disruptive. An officer spoke to a man who the officer observed “was being argumentative” but denied giving the film crew a hard time, the report says.

A supervisor for a security firm working on set then told the officer that a group of people wanted $4,000 for the film crew to be able to film in the area, and then changed the amount to $50,000 and had threatened to shoot in the air unless they received the money.

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But the supervisor later said “she did not have any knowledge of who made the threats of request for money,” the report said.

Police said they have charged the street vendor, a 43-year-old man from Pikesville, with drug charges.

Lindsey Eldridge, the chief spokesperson for the Police Department, said the information released over the weekend was “preliminary information that was provided on the scene even prior to the police report that was written.”

“Once we’re able to talk to people, things change,” Eldridge said.

The series, based on a book by bestselling novelist and Baltimore resident Laura Lippman, stars Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman and Emmy nominee Moses Ingram and is set to premiere on Apple TV+.

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Created and directed by Alma Har’el, the show takes place in 1960s Baltimore, when a white housewife turned investigative reporter probing an unsolved murder clashes with a Black community activist fighting for social justice.

Filming for the series started in Maryland in April and is expected to continue through October, according to a Maryland Department of Commerce press release. Gov. Larry Hogan touted the positive impact production would have on the state when production company Endeavor Content first announced plans to film here.

justin.fenton@thebaltimorebanner.com

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Justin Fenton is an investigative reporter for the Baltimore Banner. He previously spent 17 years at the Baltimore Sun, covering the criminal justice system. His book, "We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption," was released by Random House in 2021 and became an HBO miniseries. 

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