Apparently, the unhoused population in the encampments along the Los Angeles River don’t do homelessness realistically enough. For that, it takes a pro, or at least a slightly compensated Hollywood extra.

An ersatz homeless encampment was set up Wednesday and Thursday along the Los Angeles River in an area just south of the Drake/Chavez soccer field—a spot coincidentally close to where city and county officials conducted a sweep of actual homeless encampments just a few weeks ago—by film crews for an upcoming TV series, “On Call.” The series is produced by the tireless and ubiquitous Dick Wolf, creator of several crime series including the “Law & Order” and “FBI” franchises.

“On Call,” a series of 30-minute episodes made for the streaming service IMDb TV, follows a pair of police officers on patrol in Long Beach. Each episode tracks the pair of officers as they respond to a radio call, arriving on the scene to resolve an incident.

According to Long Beach Police Department spokesman Richard Mejia, the real-life department isn’t involved in the series other than as advisers regarding how the department’s divisions are set up and general information about the city. The show won’t be using real police vehicles or department uniforms or logos, said Mejia.

The crews employed a cast of extras to play the role of homeless people in an authentic-looking encampment with tents and tarps and the various trappings of the unhoused scattered about.

The filming area was ringed with security, to keep outsiders, including genuine housing-bereft people, from ruining the scenes and disturbing the authenticity of the set.

City prepares to sweep homeless encampments near LA River

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.