Dexter Filming Locations: Professor Gellar & Travis Marshall's Church

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

The location: Professor Gellar & Travis's Church

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

    A. An abandoned Catholic church, named Santa Maria de Laredo, acting as a home & lair for Professor Gellar and Travis Marshall.

( In reality, if a Catholic church is deconsecrated, the crucifix, statues, and other items are removed, leaving just bare walls. )

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

    A. In Davie, Florida.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. This was a recurring location for the 6th season, but we get our first glimpse of the church's exterior in Episode 2, of Season 6, "Once Upon a Time...".

    It's a night time scene, in the church yard, where Professor Gellar watches as Travis Marshall drags in trash bags full of mannequins and body parts.

    Later, in the same episode, we get a good look at the church interior, when Gellar intimidates Travis into abandoning his sister, by burning his own arm with a red hot steel rebar.

    In Episode 3, the church is where Gellar & Travis imprison a jogger, and torture him into confessing his sins.  (He winds up in pieces as part of the "Four Horsemen" tableau.)

    (And I'm fairly sure that the earlier scene of Travis capturing the jogger was also shot on the grounds of the Abbey.)

    In Episode 6 ("Just Let Go"), the church is where they bring the woman they abducted, and plan to use in their next tableau as "The Whore of Babylon".  But when ordered to brand her, Travis feels sorry for her and turns her lose.

    In Episode 8 ("Sin of Omission"), Dexter finds the church, just misses catching Gellar (who has murdered Travis's sister), and Travis agrees to help Dexter kill him.

    In Episode 9 ("Get Gellar"), of Season 6, Dexter discovers Gellar's dead body in a freezer, and realizes that Travis has been doing all of the killing.

    In Episode 10 ("Richochet Rabbit"), of Season 6, Miami Metro finds the church and enter it.  Debra has a panic attack inside the church.

And in the finale of Season 6, (Episode 12, "This is the Way the World Ends"), this is where Debra walks in and catches Dexter in the act of killing Travis.

In Season 7, Episode 1 ("Are you...?"), we are back at the church as Debra reacts to what she saw. Eventually, she agrees to let Dexter burn down the church to get rid of the evidence.

This is also where LaGuerta discovers one of Dexter's blood slides.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A private home, but a unique one.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

A. This is the Abbey San Encino.

It is a private home, located in a normal neighborhood at 6211 Arroyo Glen Street, in the Highland Park section of Los Angeles  (about halfway between downtown L.A. and Pasadena).  It's just south of Figueroa, and just north of the Pasadena freeway.

    So what's the story?  An interesting one.

    You know singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, who did songs like "Doctor, My Eyes" and "Running on Empty".

Well, his grandfather, Clyde Browne, built this unique house himself in 1915, and Jackson grew up in it.  Jackson's brother, Severin (also a singer), now owns it.

Clyde was a writer, artist & printer, who obviously admired the medieval style and the California Missions, and attempted to capture that look in his Abbey.  He hoped to the Abbey would become the center of an artists community in L.A., and built other buildings on the property as artists studios.

The home boasts rugged stone walls, stained glass windows, a pipe organ, a dungeon, and an interior resembling a 17th century chapel. 

(Speaking of interiors, a close comparison shows that the church interior seen on "Dexter" is not the same as the Abbey's interior.  Which means they probably only filmed the exteriors here.  I'm not sure where they filmed the interiors, but chances are it was at the studio.)

In 1972, the Abbey was declared  a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

    The Abbey is next door to a Senior Center that was also a filming location this season, and is just around the corner from the house where Quinn found out he had slept with a much older woman.

    And it's only about half a mile northeast of two other Season 6 locations: the barber shop (where Dexter killed the gang leader, Julio), and the fake coffee stand where Debra told Angel about her promotion.

    Here is an aerial photo of the Abbey. Here is a Google StreetView.
      And here is a map link.

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 6th 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, my own personal reconnaissance around town, and a few new resources I discovered, 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 Rick, Ellen, Susan,
    Kerry, Jeff, Joel, Jason, Elaine, Julie, and others. My thanks to all of them.

    This one came from Rick, and I am grateful, because I would have had a hell of a time trying to find it on my own.

    He let me know back in June that they were filming at the address.  I did a little quick research and learned that it was the Abbey Encino. I found their website, with its many photos, and easily recognized the "church" when it showed up on "Dexter".  (Thanks, Rick!)

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