Rhodopsin is the rod photoreceptor G protein-coupled receptor responsible for capturing light. Mutations in the gene encoding this protein can lead to a blinding disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which is inherited frequently in an autosomal dominant manner. The E150K opsin mutant associated with rarely occurring autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa localizes to trans-Golgi network membranes rather than to plasma membranes of rod photoreceptor cells. We investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying opsin retention in the Golgi apparatus. Electrostatic calculations reveal that the E150K mutant features an overall accumulation of positive charges between helices H-IV and H-II. Human E150K and several other closely related opsin mutants were then expressed in HEK-293 cells. Spectral characteristics and functional biochemistry of each mutant were analyzed after reconstitution with the cis-retinoid chromophore. UV-visible spectra and rhodopsin/transducin activation assays revealed only minor differences between the purified wild type control and rhodopsin mutants. However, partial restoration of the surface electrostatic charge in the compensatory R69E/E150K double mutant rescues the plasma membrane localization of opsin. These findings emphasize the fundamental importance of electrostatic interactions for appropriate membrane trafficking of opsin and advance our understanding of the pathophysiology of autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa due to the E150K mutation.