location: The Trinity Killer's church
What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. The Sacred
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. This is the church of Arthur Mitchell (played by John Lithgow), the "Trinity Killer".
We first saw the church when Dexter is stalking Arthur.
Having followed him home from a crime scene, and expecting to find a typical loner, Dexter is shocked to find that Arthur Mitchell is apparently a loving family man and church-goer.
Curious about how he manages to pull this off, Dexter stalks him to his church.
In the first scene, in Episode 6 (of Season 4), "Dirty Harry", we see Arthur near the church altar, singing a hymn before the congregation, while Dexter watches.
In a second
scene, in the same episode, Dexter meets Arthur for the first time, in
the church's vestibule. Dexter introduces himself as Kyle Butler,
Arthur is warmly welcoming, and suggests that he join them on a church project called "Four Walls, One Heart", that builds homes for the disadvantaged.
In a later episode (Episode 10, "Lost Boys"), we briefly glimpse the exterior of the church as Dexter follows Arthur to an arcade.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. An actual church. But nowhere near Miami.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. This is the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, at 1760 N. Gower Street, in Hollywood.
However, the main church, at the corner of Gower & Carlos, wasn't seen. Instead, they used a smaller chapel on the same property, called Wylie Chapel, which faces Carlos Avenue, and is just north of the main church.
Here is a Google StreetView of the chapel entrance. Compare it to the screenshot above.
It's located right next Hollywood Freeway, a block north of Hollywood Blvd, and just a few blocks north of the Sunset-Gower Studio, where they film "Dexter".
And it is literally right across the street (north of) the "Four Walls, One Heart" build site, where Dexter first joins Arthur to help erect homes for the poor.
They obviously added the statues, since Presbyterian churches (and most Protestant churches) don't have them.
( This same church was seen in the very last episode of the original "Beverly Hills 90210", as the church where Donna married David. And its parking lot was seen in the 2009 Ashton Kutcher movie, ""Spread".)
The photos below are courtesy of Lindsay, of iamnotastalker.com.
Important: This is a house of worship. If you
choose to visit, respect the sanctity of the church. ]
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. This was tricky. They showed the exterior of the church for only a brief moment, in the scene where Dexter followed Trinity to the arcade. Now the arcade is in Redondo Beach, so naturally that's the first place I looked. The church wasn't there. I expanded my search to the two usual Dexter haunts: Long Beach and Hollywood, looking at virtually every church in the phone book in those areas, but still had no luck.
Why? Because when I looked at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (via StreetView), I looked at the main church on the corner, and it was clearly not the church we see on "Dexter". What I didn't know was that there was a small church, a chapel actually, located just north of the main church...
So, I eventually gave up on it. After all, it was a very short glimpse, and I couldn't be sure that the interior shots were even filmed at the same church.
Fortunately, around the time season 5 was beginning to shoot, I got a tip from the always-helpful Geoff. He emailed me to say that the church seen on the way to the arcade was First Presbyterian. When I went to take a second look (via StreetView), I almost told him he was wrong, until I looked farther north and found that chapel entrance. (Thanks, Geoff!).
But the question remained, was the interior of the Trinity's church, which was seen earlier in the season, shot this same church? Or had they shot the interior & exterior at separate locations.
To answer that one, I went hunting for photos of the interior of First Presbyterian. And the first good one I found confirmed that it was indeed the same church, clearly matching details such as the arches, purple columns, and the altar area.
In an interesting
coincidence, that first photo I found turned out to belong to the iamnotatalker.com
site of Lindsay Blake, the same
person who sent me the photos of Deb's gym,
from season 2, and who has helped find a number of other movie locations
on my Seeing-Stars site. She had been an extra on an episode of "Beverly
Hills 90210", and had photographed the church because it played
a key role in that episode. I contacted her to ask if I could use the photo,
and she obligingly said yes, and even sent me extra photos of the church.
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