Blackjack & Moonlight: Cultural References [SPOILER ALERT]

Here are the references to other movies, places, people, etc. in Blackjack & Moonlight. Non-fictional ones, that is. If we left anything significant out, please let us know in the comments.


AmadaJack and Elise eat tapas at Philadelphia’s Amada restaurant on one of their romantic dates.

“It’s a tapas menu,” Jack said after the waitress took their drink orders. “We share everything, so it’s nice to get a mix of items. Would you like me to suggest some dishes?”

Elise leaned back at his offer. “That would be lovely. Order whatever you think would be good.” [Chapter Seven]

Ben Franklin Bridge

Ben Franklin BridgeJack and Elise admire the Ben Franklin Bridge on their first date.

They wandered down the street to admire the lights of the Ben Franklin Bridge and Camden across the river. As Elise chatted about a case she’d been working on, Jack looked at her profile. The wind off the river flirted with her hair and she kept tucking it behind her ears. Under the streetlights, her skin—the wonderful pale line of her cheek—looked like the finest silk. [Chapter Four]

Constitution Center

Constitution CenterJack’s chambers has a view of the National Constitution Center.

Jack swiveled around to look out over the Constitution Center, lit up already for some evening event. He checked his watch again, pulled out his phone and hit the speed dial. It was pathetic, but hearing her recorded voice asking him to leave a message was better than nothing. [Chapter Fourteen]

Dave & Buster’s

Dave & Buster'sJack and Elise have their first romantic date in Dave and Buster’s Philadelphia location.

At the end of the evening, he’d beaten her at pinball, she’d beaten him at Skee-Ball, and they’d declared a draw at shuffleboard. Elise was a tough competitor—Jack hadn’t needed to think about letting her win. [Chapter Four]

Eagles Mere

Eagles MereJack and Elise spend a weekend at Eagles Mere, where Jack’s family co-own a house by the lake.

She’d done some research on Eagles Mere so she could dress appropriately. The tiny village alongside a lake was famous for the Victorian “cottages” edging its banks. Elise was picturing Cape May, New Jersey—only inland and with sailing. She’d tucked in her new bathing suit, in case it was warm enough to swim, but she suspected they’d just walk around the lake and admire the sailboats. [Chapter Eleven]


EpicuriousJack uses the website Epicurious to pick out recipes to make for Elise.

First Friday could be fun. Interesting to see what Elise liked in art. And for Saturday? Was there anything in the rules that said he couldn’t bring her here and cook for her on a romantic date? He chuckled—they should have written down the details of their deal.

He checked the game—Phils were down three runs. Who cared? He clicked the TV off and opened his laptop. What would be good to cook for her? Epicurious would know. [Chapter Six]


Downtown EugeneJack gets a tour of Eugene, Oregon when he visits Elise during her mother’s convalescence.

He enjoyed the multiple shades of green everywhere. Elise drove them through a park, through the downtown with its wide brick sidewalks and generous public space. Baskets hung from the streetlights, already overflowing with deep indigo and salmon flowers. It looked as different from Philadelphia as Philly looked from London or Paris.

“Funny the effect a couple centuries can make in the settlement of a city,” he said.

“What? You mean Eugene?”

“I was reading about it on the plane—it was settled in the mid-nineteenth century, just about two hundred years after Philadelphia was. Eugene looks shiny and new compared to us—wider streets, wider sidewalks, more space, more air to breathe.” [Chapter Fifteen]

First Friday

First FridayJack and Elise go to an Old City art gallery open as part of Philadelphia’s First Friday.

“First Friday in Old City as it’s a nice evening, and then Amada for tapas.”

“I’ve never done First Friday,” Elise admitted. Walking around art galleries in Old City? She looked down at her shoes. Not the most comfortable pair she owned, but good for about two hours on her feet before they’d be too pinchy for comfort. [Chapter Six]

Fitler Square

Fitler SquareElise’s house is in Fitler Square in the southwestern part of central Philadelphia.

Jack could just see Elise’s house on the next block. He looked at his watch—still too early. He walked over to a park bench in Fitler Square, near a bronze sculpture of three turtles. He was nervous. It felt a bit like those first few days as a judge, when he’d expected someone to leap up and declare the Senate confirmation had been revoked on the basis of Jack’s incompetence. [Chapter Five]

Judge’s school

It is a well-kept secret that judges actually undergo a special training after being appointed, popularly known as “judge’s school”. Being a federal judge, Jack would have been trained by the Federal Judicial Center.

Jack couldn’t be an impartial jurist with this woman in the room. He tried to imagine seeing her only as a lawyer in his court, but already—before he even knew her name—he ached to learn if she felt the thrill he did. And no matter how the case ended, Jack couldn’t just ask her out for dinner the next night. It would look like she’d tried to influence the court.


They hadn’t covered this in judge’s school. [Chapter One]

Justice Souter

Justice SouterWhen Jack suspects he’ll be rejected by Elise, he imagines ending up like the retired Supreme Court justice David Souter, once named one of Washington’s 10 Most Eligible Bachelors.

He leaned back on the bench. Never marry? That was just sad. He’d always assumed he’d marry. Someday. He simply hadn’t met the right woman, or even a woman close enough to right to consider the option of marriage. Now he’d met her—the one woman in his future—and she was indifferent to him. In theory he’d survive Elise’s rejection and maybe have better luck the next time. Realistically? Without her, a solitary future stretched out like an abandoned road to a distant horizon. Jack would end up the bachelor on the bench, a lesser version of Justice Souter. Well, there were far worse role models. [Chapter Five]

Kimmel Center

Elise and Jack watch Kimmel CenterLibby Pembroke graduate from Franklin Law in a commencement ceremony at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Watching the students cross the stage, Elise remembered her own law school graduation. Her dad had claimed an emergency case as his excuse not to show up. He’d missed her law school graduation so he could operate on a dog. Her stepmother wouldn’t leave Ohio without Dad, and Elise’s half-brothers had been in high school. Chances were Dad had never known how lonely she’d felt. Everyone else’s families hooted and cheered as their graduates received a diploma. She’d only had Peggy, who wasn’t the hooting type. [Chapter Twelve]


Pat'sElise has a craving for cheesesteak after returning from the West Coast. She and Jack opt to patronize Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philly.

They had a lively debate about the relative merits of the two cheesesteak stands. Jack was amused when Elise’s argument against Geno’s included a First Amendment argument on the constitutionally protected right to free speech. They ended up at Pat’s. [Chapter Eighteen]

Rohm and Haas Building

Rohm and HaasElise walks past the Rohm and Haas Corporate Headquarters building after leaving the courthouse.

It had stopped raining. The cool air had a loamy tang, a whiff of Philadelphia’s spring just starting. The trees in front of the Rohm and Haas building had begun to bud out. New growth, fresh starts. Next she’d hear birds chirping a happy song.

How annoying. [Chapter Two]

Schnitzer Museum

Schnitzer MuseumElise has fond memories of the reflecting pool in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon.

After five days, Elise had officially been in Eugene longer than she had in years. It was coming back to her, the little things she loved about it, like the flowers and the fountain downtown and the Schnitzer Museum with that gorgeous reflecting pool and— [Chapter Sixteen]

Schuylkill Expressway

SchuylkillJack and Elise travel in and out of Philadelphia on the Schuylkill Expressway (locally known as “the Schuylkill”), which is notorious for chronic congestion.

She kept him talking about his job until they got to the Schuylkill, which was predictably clogged on a summer Sunday afternoon. He shut up then and she maneuvered through the traffic in comfortable silence. [Chapter Twelve]

Society Hill

Society HillJack’s house is in the historic Society Hill neighborhood in Philadelphia.

Elise stood on the step, staring at the door knocker. She looked down at her phone’s display. The text that included his address couldn’t be right. There had to be a digit missing, or the street was wrong. No, it said he lived in Society Hill, so this had to be right.

She stepped back and looked up. Three floors, wider than her house, and in the most historic neighborhood in Philly. She wasn’t a fan of real estate porn the way Christine was, but even Elise knew she was standing in front of a very expensive townhouse. [Chapter Seven]


SwarthmoreElise studied at Swarthmore College, 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia.

Okay, so he’d managed to surprise her—in a good way—with his choice of a first date. And yes, she’d enjoyed herself. So what? He was creative and insightful. At least she hoped it took some imagination to see her as the pinball wizard of Swarthmore. She was sure she projected a more dignified image as a lawyer. [Chapter Four]

The Taj

Trump Taj MahalIt’s rumored that Jack used his winnings at the Trump Taj Mahal to pay for law school.

“El, his conviction rate as US Attorney was damn near perfect. He’s scored a judgeship at a crazy young age. They’re already talking about how long it’ll be before he’s appointed to the Third Circuit. Or running for the Senate. The guy’s golden. Basically, he doesn’t lose. Hell, he got the nickname Blackjack because he paid for law school by winning in Atlantic City.”

“He counted cards?”

Geoff frowned at her. “It’s not illegal. Casinos just kick you out if you’re too good.” He chuckled. “Yeah, I’m sure Donald Trump is happy McIntyre doesn’t visit the Taj anymore. Rumor is, now they play golf together.” [Chapter Two]

Yale Law School

Yale Law SchoolElise studied to be a lawyer at Yale Law School.

When she’d settled down in Shaker Heights with her dad’s new family, she told herself it was for the best. They’d all accepted her presence without drama, and she’d used school as a touchstone of stability. Good grades had allowed her to go to Swarthmore and then Yale Law School. At each school, her childhood faded a bit more until finally she didn’t even think about it. [Chapter Sixteen]