01/03/2012 05:50 pm ET

Another TV Show Inaccurately Portrays D.C., Irks 'Atlantic' Blogger Megan McArdle

WASHINGTON -- Yet another TV show gets D.C. wrong.

The latest offender? Showtime's "Homeland," the critically acclaimed show about a troubled if lovely CIA agent played by Golden Globe nominee Claire Danes.

Megan McArdle writes in The Atlantic that she has a number of problems with the show's depiction of the nation's capital.

For starters, the show has a character paid at an E-6 level, who'd earn between about $2,300 and $3,600 per month, living in an unrealistically sumptuous house (it's a ranch; D.C.'s housing prices are obscene). There are many more problems that McArdle sees in the portrayal of D.C. in "Homeland" -- the one that bothers her most is that Farragut Square, where a climactic scene takes place, is shown as a quiet, expansive park surrounded by ample parking.

Of course, the history of Hollywood getting D.C. wrong is so very long and tortured, from the many shots of Los Angeles landmarks that show up in D.C. scenes in "Live Free or Die Hard" to "State of Play" sending D.C. police to Crystal City to "Bones" comparing Anacostia to Kabul. District residents sometimes seem frustrated, sometimes annoyed, sometimes offended and sometimes amused by Hollywood's mistakes.

Being an economics writer, McArdle is concerned about how these mistakes affect the District's economy:

I'd argue that there is a benefit to verisimilitude, especially if it's cheaply obtained (getting place names right and filming scenes in tight if you're trying to pretend they're in a semi-famous location). If viewers go to Washington (and a surprising number of people do, every year), they will find out that the places you've claimed to be filming look nothing like the ones on your show. That breaks the illusion of almost-realism that keeps us coming back to stories.

But if there isn't a penalty for filmmakers, surely there is for my home city. Maybe there are so few good movies about Washington because we make it so hard for filmmakers to get a real sense of place. And in turn, that means we get fewer people coming here looking for the things they've seen in movies and television. If the city worked harder to help filmmakers work here, maybe we'd get more of them -- and too, we'd get fewer Washingtonians chafing at the ridiculousness of what they see on their television sets.

RELATED VIDEO: The trailer for "Live Free or Die Hard," a movie responsible for a whole host of egregious D.C.-related geography mistakes.