Dexter Filming Locations: The Old Gym


The location: Old Gym.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A former boxing gym.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 1 (of Season 4), "Living the Dream".

    After stalking his next victim at Tito's Bar, former boxer Benito Gomez, Dexter kills him in a suitable venue: an old, deserted boxing gym.

    We first see it when Dexter goes there to create his usual plastic-lined kill room, using the boxing ring in the center of the old brick gym as the focal point.

    We see the gym again later, in the same episode, when he brings Benito there, who awakens (as do most of Dexter's victims) saran-wrapped to a table and surrounded by photos of his own victims.

    It shows up once again in the second episode, "Remains To Be Seen ".

    After Dexter is involved in a car accident, resulting in partial amnesia, he forgets what he did with Gomez's body.

    He returns to the auto tow yard, the accident scene and a pharmacy (where he had been before), on a desperate search for the body, but doesn't find it.

    Finally, when Dexter is back at the gym, he sees a drop of blood on the ring canvas, and looking up, realizes that he has stashed the dismembered body in a punching bag, suspended above the ring. He retrieves it, and disposes of it at sea, as usual.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. It's an industrial/warehouse property.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This was filmed at a second building at 590 S. Santa Fe Ave, on the east side of downtown Los Angeles.

    590 Santa Fe is the same address they used for Tito's Bar, but this "gym" is a second, brick building located behind (east of) the building used as Tito's Bar.

    The brick warehouse behind "Tito's" matches the general look & shape of the gym, with its open space and peaked roof.

    Both the gym and the bar appeared in the same episode, so I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they initially rented the property for the gym, and later improvised the bar there as well (since the building they used for the bar doesn't really look much like the strip mall mentioned in the script).

    Both buildings are located on the east side of Santa Fe, in the industrial/warehouse section of downtown. The property lies just north of the 6th Street bridge, and just west of the railroad tracks.

    The address is listed as "BASF Corp", which makes plastics, but if you Google the address, you'll see that it is used frequently as a filming location for TV shows like "Lie to Me" and "Cold Case".  In fact, as of 2009, there was a banner on the side of the building reading "Film Site Rental".

    Below is a Google Panorama of the brick building used as the gym:

    (Warning: This isn't a great part of town - a bit too close to Skid Row, so it's probably not a place you want to go.)

    Here is an aerial photo, with both the gym and the bar marked. And here is a map link.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A.  This is the sort of location I normally wouldn't even bother trying to find. It's strictly an interior (no exterior shown), and from the look of it, probably located in the warehouse district of downtown, where old brick buildings are plentiful.

    But I lucked out. I came across a short list of downtown filming notifications (designed to warn downtown residents about filming that might affect their lives), and there were three "Dexter" filmings on the list.  This one on Santa Fe, and two nearby on 6th Street.

    But those other two were used for a later episode. As far as I can tell his was the only downtown location used for the first episode. I knew that "Tito's" clearly wasn't a big brick gym. But while looking at aerial photos, I noticed there was an old brick building tucked away behind "Tito's".  The shape fit - and it just makes sense that they shot the scene here. Again, I'm not 100% positive, but I'm willing to bet on it.

    Update: in March 2010, I spotted this gym in an episode of the TV series "Chuck" ("Chuck Versus the American Hero"), and was able to confirm that it was indeed the same location.  Both the interior and exterior of the building were shown in this "Chuck" episode.  The exterior matches the aerial photos, and the interior seen on "Chuck" perfectly matches the interior seen as the gym in "Dexter" (minus the boxing ring, of course).

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