Dexter Filming Locations: The Four Walls, One Heart Build Site.


The location: "Four Walls, One Heart" Build Site.

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

    A. An empty lot where a church group is building a new home.

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 6 - "Dirty Harry".

    In order to spy on Arthur Mitchell (the Trinity Killer), Dexter has joined Arthur's church under the false name of Kyle Butler, and in this scene he has joined Arthur at one of his church charity projects, the "Four Hearts, One Heart" effort to build homes for the needy.

    We see them putting up the wood frame of a new house in an empty lot.

    When Arthur notices that Dexter doesn't have any tools, he gives him the hammer he used to beat a man to death at an office plaza.
    (Dexter somewhat admires his audacity.)

    Dexter asks him about family matters, trying to figure out how Arthur manages to juggle so well a
    normal family life and serial killing (a problem Dexter himself has, now that he's married with children).

    Soon, Dexter spots Arthur's teenage son, Jonah, and joins him at the nearby water cooler.

    Dexter probes Jonah for info about his father, but the son has nothing but great things to say about his father ("Best Dad ever!"), noting that his dad recently gave him his prized car.

    (We learn later that Arthur is actually a very abusive father, and Jonah ends up smashing that car, on purpose.)

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. An empty lot - just not in Florida.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. They filmed this scene in an empty lot located at approximately 1730 NGower Street, in HollywoodCA.

    It's on the east side of Gower Street, just two  blocks east of the famous intersection of Hollywood & Vine, and about less than five blocks north of the Sunset-Gower Studio where "Dexter" is filmed.

    It is (appropriately enough) literally right across the street (south of) Trinity's church.

    The lot is just behind (north of) a small strip mall at the northeast corner of Hollywood Blvd and Gower Street, and just south of a small church parking lot at the southeast corner of N. Gower Street and Carlos Avenue.

    According to city records I found online, the land there was bought up by the city in 2005-2006 "for the development of permanent housing and supportive services for homeless youth." The plan calls for them to build "40 to 60 units".

    Later plans state that the new housing was to be known as the "Gower Villas", and that the lot was made up of three parcels, with a total of approximately 35,400 square feet of land, located at 1720-1736 N. Gower Street. It looks like they planned to start building on the site in late 2008, so there must have been a change in plans, since the lot was still empty in Fall of 2009.

    ( But construction could start soon, so don't be surprised if you drive by at some time in the future and find a new building sitting on the currently-empty lot. In fact, here is what it will reportedly look like when it's finished.)

    Here is a Google StreetView panorama of the lot.

    Here is an aerial photo (ignore the former buildings seen on the now-empty lot). And here is a map link.

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

    A.  This one was difficult.  After all, most vacant lots look alike, there were no street numbers or street signs visible. And without knowing where to start looking, in a county encompassing almost 500 square miles, the views of the surrounding buildings weren't of much help - they were too generic.

    Naturally, I started looking in Long Beach first, since that seems to be their favorite city. But it turned out that I was wasting my time there.

    I noticed that one of the buildings in the background had a mural/sign on the wall that read "Draft Beer to Go". That could have been a major clue, and I searched for it, but it turned out to be a dead-end as well. When I finally found the right spot, that mural/sign was no where in sight.

    I was about to give up, when I happened to see something important in the background of one of those shots from the home build scene.

    In one view, behind Dexter's head (while he was talking to Jonah), I thought I spotted what looked like it might be the top of the Capitol Records building.
    , peeking out above the top of a cluster of palm trees. That building, shaped like a stack of records, is distinctive, but so little of it was visible in the shot that I couldn't be positive at first.  (Look in the upper right corner of the screenshot above.)

    So I checked to see if there was a tall building to its left (similar to the one in the scene).  And sure enough, there was, just to its south (at the corner of Hollywood & Vine). So I knew that if my hunch was right, we were looking west, towards Hollywood & Vine, and that the empty lot would be found just north of the Boulevard, probably just a few blocks east of Vine. And I was right.

    But finding the lot then still wasn't as easy as it should have been.  When I went looking (via aerial photos) for an empty lot just east of Vine, the aerial photos didn't show one. Why?  Because it's an empty lot now (as of 2009), but when those aerial photos were taken, there was a large apartment house sitting on the lot. Apparently, it was torn down rather recently.

    That kept me guessing for a while, but eventually I used Google Streetview to spot another landmark from the screencaps: an apartment house located across the street from the lot (to the north) that had a distinctive stripe across the front. Once I discovered that apartment house (at 1725 N. Gower), I knew the lot was right across the street. And sure enough, the Google StreetView photos (which were taken at a later date than the aerial photos) revealed an empty lot across the street, surrounded by the same homes and buildings seen on the show

    NOTE: This is one of three different "Four Walls, One Heart" build sites shown on the show (all in different episodes). The other two are the site in Tampa (where Trinity jumps off the roof in a suicide attempt) and the site where he tries to bury the kidnapped boy in cement.
    So far, this is the only one of the three that I've been able to track down.

    If you happen to figure out where either of the remaining two sites are, please let me know, by dropping an email to (replace the at  with an @ sign).

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