Why You Should Never, Ever Go To New York City’s Hudson University

When you first enter Hudson University’s idyllic campus, you’d never know you’re in one of the deadliest and most dangerous places in New York City.


You might instead find yourself admiring the gorgeous architecture, which oddly seems to change style at every turn…


…from the red brick Romanesque Revival-style administration building…


…to the Gothic Revival dining hall…


…to the very modern student center:


You might even stumble across Hudson U’s dorm quad. Looks nice and safe, doesn’t it? Think again.


In 2009, Iraq War vet Greg Tanner, pictured below on the quad, was found dead in a Hudson University parking garage. Chief suspect? Hudson Law School professor Kevin Franklin.


In 2002, a Hudson University president and his assistant were both found murdered in their office on campus, possibly over their decision to appoint a new department head.


In 1994, Professor Edward Manning, a Hudson physicist seen below in the campus’s nuclear reactor (!!), was the prime suspect in the mailbombing death of his former girlfriend, until it was discovered to have been the work of former Hudson post-doc student Max Weiss.


Simply having any affiliation with Hudson University seems to tie you to trouble. In 2009, police discovered the child of Hudson U. biology professors Harold and Joyce Foley murdered in their Manhattan townhouse (seen below), a crime possibly motivated by their research into a controversial new drug.


In 2014, a series of murders targeting wealthy couples was believed to have been committed by Hudson’s campus bookstore manager Harvey Reynolds until university dean Adrien Proctor (below) was unmasked as the killer.


In 2000, a Hudson University student and part-time stripper was found strangled in a dorm bathtub during the holiday break, a crime believed to have had ties to either drug-dealing skinheads OR an insider trading scam.


In 2008, former Hudson professor Dr. Hoffman was questioned as a potential link in a near-fatal mailbombing.


In 2001, after a medical research tech was murdered by a monkey released in his lab, a Hudson University animal rights activist was considered a potential suspect.


In 1997, two Hudson students were accused of killing their newborn son and hiding the body.


And in 2007, following the death of prominent astrophysicist Marie Subbarao by explosive decompression, detectives investigated Hudson’s altitude chamber, which might have been used in the murder.


These ten incidents represent just a small sample of the literally hundreds of horrific, and at times, absolutely ridiculous crimes that have taken place at Hudson University over the years. How is it that they’ve been able to maintain their reputation as one of New York City’s preeminent institutions??

Thankfully, because Hudson University doesn’t actually exist.


Whenever you’re scouting for a college to serve as the scene of a crime, you better be willing to portray it as a fictional place (or just generic college), because using an actual school by name is pretty much a deal breaker. The Law & Order staff realized this pretty quickly into the series, and invented Hudson University as the go-to for murders, rapes, and other sordid crimes. Below, the Queens wing of Hudson’s multi-borough campus:

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Over the years, Hudson has become as famous as Morley Cigarettes and Oceanic Airlines in the world of fictional brands, and even has managed to work its way into other crime dramas like Castle, Unforgettable, and Blue Bloods. In fact, the the Hudson monicker has been in use for years prior to Law & Order, most notably in the DC Universe as Dick Grayson’s (aka Robin) alma mater, and as Cliff Huxtable’s medical school (insert topical joke here). Below, Hudson’s downtown campus:

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What I love about Hudson is that, to date, I think just about every college in the city has stood in for it at some point or another. Lehman College, Union Theological, and Brooklyn College are probably shot at most frequently, but even the more reluctant NYU and Columbia have been used at one time or another.

There’s just something nice about seeing all of New York’s colleges and universities coming together to create one of the most dangerous fictional locations in TV history.


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  1. When I started to read this, I was totally drawn in. I KNOW Hudson University is fictional, but I though t you were revealing that it was a real place…

    • I know that Brooklyn College is frequently the actual setting for “Hudson University” , along with a number of other City University of New York campuses…

  2. What about Fordham!

  3. I never heard of Hudson U cuz I’ve never watched the show, but I totally knew there was something fishy when I saw the first picture cuz that it’s Brooklyn College!!!! I was thinking, he can’t be wrong!!!

  4. My office atrium once stood in as a college campus cafe. I wonder if it was Hudson U? I can’t remember now–I was too tickled to have seen Jerry Orbach in person.

  5. I used to go to Pace downtown. There were always film crews around. Especially the side you pictured. They loved filming down the side street and into the financial district areas.

  6. I love when you do these … of course, nothing will ever top your visit to the McKittrick Hotel.

  7. This is the same reason it is quite impossible to get life insurance in Cabot Cove. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder,_She_Wrote

  8. Even Hofstra University on Long Island has been used for Hudson. Specifically in the 70s DC Comics where Robin fights the Jokers Daughter on top of the Unispan.

  9. Another great story! As a new transplant to the city, you really help in getting acclimated to the geography. My son can’t wait to visit the haunted well at H&M. Thanks for writing!

  10. Re photo #7, is that the north campus of CCNY?

  11. You’d think that the big “Pace University” flag would be a clue…

  12. Are any of these College of New Rochelle?

  13. Peter Parker in Marvel Comics attended Empire State University

  14. Hudson University may be fictional, but just a short distance from the city there is a real Hudson County Community College and a real Hudson Valley Community College.

  15. is photo #3 the College of Mount St. Vincent in the Riverdale area of the Bronx? Only asking because back when I took undergrad Communications classes there in 2006 or 2007, I remember Law & Order Criminal Intent filming on campus and it was a big deal, lol

  16. What I love best about Hudson is that it isn’t bound by the laws of physics…you can jump off a roof and land in the quad a block and a half away. 🙂

  17. John Jay, one of the CUNY schools, is very often used as well. It’s constantly popping up in commercials, too.

    It’s quite disruptive for the students and staff. Hope it’s bringing in lots of cash… they’re sure not using it to pay their professors.

  18. Well, you had me until still #2, when I recognized “Professor Manning” was actor Jason Alexander
    (George Costanza from Seinfeld).. A quick imdb check revealed it was actually Harris Yulin, but hey, I was close!

  19. For a sec I thought that this was real.

  20. great article! Sure fooled me. I’ve never been to NYC, I live in Hawaii and watch Law and Order all the time. In fact I’m watching it now and was in the middle of googling Hudson university and came across this article. Now I know!