Dexter Filming Locations: The Botanica

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: The Botánica

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

    A. A botánica - a store that, on the surface, sells herbal remedies and Catholic religious items, but which (in the back room) caters to the darker side of pseudo-Christianity & magic, such as voodoo & Santeria.

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

    A. 1132 Merido, in a Venezuelan neighborhood of Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 3, of Season 5, "Practically Perfect".

    Debra and Sierra are investigating the murder of a woman whose head was found in a local park.

    Since Sierra suspects that the murder might have been the work of a violent religious cult, called Santa Muerte, they pay a visit to the local botánica.

    The front room appears to be a normal religious shop, selling the usual statues of Jesus & Mary.

    But when they go into the back room, they find much more sinister merchandise being sold.  The walls are lined with skulls and other dark images.

    They speak with the owner, a brusque man who tells them that the woman's husband (a possible suspect in the murder) was a good Catholic and wouldn't have stepped a foot in the back room.

    He also tells them that he doesn't even believe in what he's selling.

    Outside the store, Debra tells Sierra that the owner isn't talking to them because she (Debra) is an outsider, and asks Sierra to return alone to talk with the guy. Sierra agrees.

    But when they return to the botánica, they find it empty.

    And when they look in the back room, they find that the owner, the man they spoke with, has been decapitated, and the head mutilated in the same way as the woman in the park.

    Sierra blames herself, saying that he was killed because he spoke with them.

    In the 4th episode, "Beauty And The Beast", Dexter gets a call from Debra and briefly returns to work to help the police analyze the botánica crime scene.

    Dexter discovers a fallen ash on the floor of the botánica, and determines that it was from a small, cheap cigar.

    Later, they find just such a cigar outside, trace a partial fingerprint to two Fuentes brothers, and raid their apartment.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. Believe it or not - a laundromat.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot just a few blocks east of at Drake Park (where they filmed the scene of the woman's head being found by police), in a small center at the southwest corner of Daisy Avenue and 10th Street, in Long Beach, CA. That small center, contains a liquor store ("Big John's Liquor & Deli") and a small laundry building.

    The fake botánica was actually the laundry building, called Casa de Laundry. It's a small structure, made of aged brick, with a red tile roof, giving it the Spanish look they wanted for the scene.

    The set dressers then added some landscaping, a fake mural outside of Our Lady of Guadeloupe (which temporarily covered up an existing mural of an old Model-T car), and a sign reading "Botanica" (which covered up the usual laundry sign).

    I can't find an address for the laundry itself, but it's neighboring Big John's Liquor & Deli is located at 949 Daisy Ave.

    That's on the west side of downtown Long Beach, two blocks east of both the park and the suicide house, and not far from where Dexter rented the moving van, and the bar where Angel got into a fight.

    I shot this photo of the laundry in October 2010:

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

    A.  In previous seasons, I've usually had to hunt down the locations after viewing the episodes, using clues from the various scenes.  By the 5th season, though, I'd developed a small group of fans, spies & tipsters who kept an eye out for Dexter filming in their neighborhoods, and would let me know in advance when something was about to film there.

    Between those reports, and my own personal reconnaissance around town, by the time the first episode aired, I already knew most (but not all) of the filming locations, and only needed to watch the episodes and match up the scenes with the correct locations.

    This group of helpful fans includes Kerry, Rick, Joel, Geoff, Ellen, Julie, Susan, Jeff, and others. My thanks to all of them.

    This particular tip came from Joel.  I had told him about the filming at Drake Park, and when he went to that base camp, he was told by a security guard that they weren't shooting there, but were shooting "at the Laundromat". He wound up at Daisy & 10th, where he found them shooting the botánica scene.  (Thanks, Joel!)

    Joel also shot these photos of the filming:   

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