Dexter Filming Locations: The Bomb Shelter House

DEXTER Filming Locations - over a hundred actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.             

The location: The Bomb Shelter House.

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

    A. A residential home, with an underground bomb shelter in the back yard.

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

    A. Somewhere in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 10 (of Season 4), "Lost Boys".

    We never actually see the exterior of the home itself.  We only see its empty interior, a glimpse out the front windows, and the back yard.

    We first see only the bunker-like room where the Trinity Killer is holding the kidnapped boy (Scott Smith) prisoner, as he tries to get the boy to relive his own childhood memories - involving toy trains, pajamas, and 50's pop tunes.

    At first, we have no indication that the room is an underground bomb shelter, but we do see Trinity walk down a flight of stairs to reach it - indicating that it might be some form of cellar

    Next, we see the home's empty interior, when Dexter goes looking for the missing boy.

    He begins visiting empty homes in the area (which he believes Trinity may be using) and this is one on his list. He walks through the empty house, searching for hidden doors or hiding places where Trinity might have stashed the boy.

    Finally, we see the home's overgrown back yard, where Dexter stumbles across an air vent protruding from the ground. Recognizing it, he then locates a hatch leading down to the bomb shelter.

    He opens the hatch, and enters the underground bunker.  But by then, Trinity has moved the boy, and the room is empty.

    At first, Dexter seems to have reached a dead-end.  But then he spots a bit of powdered cement on the ground (which we saw Arthur buying while he talked to Christine on the phone). Dexter realizes how Trinity has been so successful in hiding the location of his victims' bodies: he has been burying the boys in cement, at his church's home-building sites.

    Realizing this, Dexter hurries back to the current build site, where, sure enough, he finds Arthur seconds away from pushing the kidnapped boy into a pit of wet cement.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A residential home - but nowhere near Miami (and, as far as I know, with no bomb shelter in the back yard).

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This "bomb shelter home" is located in between Trinity's home and the vandal's house (on the same west side of the street), in the neighborhood where they also filmed the Neighborhood Watch chase scenes.

    The address is 4065 Locust Ave., in Long BeachCA.

    It's in the same north Long Beach neighborhood where they filmed the pool party/BBQ scenes in the first episode, and where, last season, they filmed Miguel Prado's and Maria LaGuerta's homes.

    The white picket fence around this house can be glimpsed in the scenes where the Neighborhood Watch mob is chasing Dexter (after mistaking him for the neighborhood vandal).

    Interestingly, on the show, the three homes in a row here (Trinity's house, this one, and the vandal's home) are supposed to be in three separate neighborhoods, not side-by-side.

    Here is an aerial photo. And here is a map link.

    I shot the photo below in January 2010.

    [ Warning: This is a private home.  Do not trespass on their property, knock on their door,
    or do anything else that might disturb the residents. ]

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

    A.  This was a tip from a fan, Rick, who emailed me with the address.

    It was a hard one, since we never see the front of the house, only a brief glimpse of the back yard and the home's empty interior.

    One thing that shot revealed was a flagstone patio in the back yard. In my own search, I focused on that stone patio, something I thought would be rather obvious when seen from above in aerial photos. Turns out that it wasn't that visible, after all. Also, I was looking for three narrow, vertical windows in the front door (seen from inside, when Dexter first enters the house).

    In fact, when Rick first suggested this address, at first I thought he was wrong. It was only after looking at a number of small details that it became clear that it was indeed the same house.  One clue, spotted by Rick, was a white picket gate glimpsed briefly when Dexter enters the back yard.

    To check, I started by comparing the front windows with those seen from the inside, when Dexter is in the house, and they match perfectly. Better yet, those cut leaf philodendron plants, growing outside the windows, can be seen from inside during the house scene, as can the one large fern-like plant to the right. The unusual bi-horizontal window on the right also matches.

    I was able to match a window & vent combo on the house next door (to the south) using Birds-Eye view. The shape of the back porch overhang matches, as does the small building outbuilding in the back yard of the house next door. Also, the roofs of both that outbuilding and the next door house itself are flat, something rather unusual in residential neighborhoods.

    Those three, narrow vertical windows on the front door, it turns out, are deceptive. The house has a covered porch, so it actually has two front doors. And the one with the three windows is the interior door - not really visible from outside. But as Dexter opens that interior door, you get a quick glimpse at the outer door, and its own windows matched what is seen on Google StreetView. And when I went there in person to shoot the photo you see above (and later enlarged the image), those three, small vertical windows on the inner door are (just barely) visible through the glass of the exterior door.

    All in all, it adds up to a clear match.

    The back yard appears (from aerial photos) to have its fair share of trees, but I suspect that the producers brought in extra palms & vegetation to give the back yard a more overgrown look. And the bomb shelter room itself is most likely a set built at the studio.

    I'm a little bit embarrassed that I didn't identify this house myself, since I actually used its white picket fence as a reference point when I drove to the neighborhood (months earlier) to photograph the vandal's house next door...

    Instead, I at first thought it might have been shot at Teegan's house in Hollywood (where they used the back yard before for the scenes where Dexter kills Freebo). But it didn't match. (Ironically, they did use that house again this season, just not for this scene.) Then I looked around the Wardlow/Elm area a few blocks away (since I knew they had been shooting in that area), and I later checked the Pacoima neighborhoods, after learning that a number of scenes had been filmed there for the same 10th episode. All with no luck, of course.

    But fortunately, Rick nailed it.  (Thanks, Rick!)

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