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Movie trivia buffs, take note: in the 1980 film the Blues Brothers, the brothers race to the offices of the Cook County Assessor to pay back taxes owed for the orphanage in which they were raised. In reality, however, back taxes are paid in the Office of the Cook County Clerk in room 434 — and church-owned property is tax exempt anyway. Later, a car is driven through the lobby of the Daley Center courthouse, and the County Building is shown being stormed by a number of characters. Murphy Dunne, who played the pianist in the movie, is the son of a former Cook County Board President, George Dunne.

In fact, Cook County municipal buildings have figured in a number of entertainment vehicles. In the film the Fugitive, a number of scenes are shot in the County Building and the old Cook County Hospital for some key scenes. Exterior photography of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse was used frequently on the television series Hill Street Blues to set up the program’s court scenes.

An unusually large number of television shows are set in Cook County, as well, including NBC’s ER, the made-for-TV series Prison Break, Married with Children, and the CBS legal series the Good Wife.

Cook County is the second most populous county in the US, following Los Angeles County, California. Mainly urban and very densely populated, the county contains the city of Chicago as well as a number of suburbs. More than half of all Illinois residents live here; the county’s population is larger than that of 29 individual states.

Cook County has a total area of 1,635 square miles, of which almost half – 46 percent – is the water in Lake Michigan.

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