During the night scene in L.A Confidential (1997), Officer Bud White and Dick Stensland are stationed in a car outside a residence, observing as a man inside physically assaults his spouse:

Dick Stensland: You're like Santa Claus with that list, Bud, except everyone on it's been naughty.

Bud White: Guy's been out of Q two weeks.

Dick Stensland: Leave it for later.

What does "Q" mean ?


1 Answer 1


Likely he's referring to San Quentin, a well known prison near to Los Angeles.

Some of the synonyms for San Quentin include "The Q," "SQ," "The Rock," and "The Big House."


Later in the film they refer to it as 'Quentin' (without the San)

Bud White: You know what they do to kiddie rapers in Quentin, don't ya?

  • 1
    Isn't "The Rock" Alcatraz? And "the big house" can refer to any prison.
    – Barmar
    Jul 22, 2023 at 13:47
  • 2
    @Barmar yes to both. And SAN Quentin is near San Francisco, not Los Angeles.
    – Dale M
    Jul 22, 2023 at 13:58
  • 1
    @DaleM - Yes, but the film is, if memory serves, set in LA
    – Valorum
    Jul 22, 2023 at 15:51
  • 1
    In 1953, the only men's state prison in Southern California was the minimum-security California Institution for Men, so it isn't surprising that more hardened LA criminals would have instead served time in Northern California's San Quentin. Jul 23, 2023 at 1:18
  • 1
    Indeed, but the point is that San Quentin is ~400 miles (~650 km) away from Los Angeles, so saying the prison is "near to Los Angeles" is like saying Paris is "near" Munich. Jul 23, 2023 at 3:50

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