Dexter Filming Locations: Tucci's Church


The location: Tony Tucci's Church.

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

    A. The interior of a Catholic church.

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 4 (of the first season) - "Let's Give the Boy a Hand".

    Tony Tucci, the security guard at the ice arena, has been abducted by the Ice Truck Killer, and parts of his body are being found at various locations around Miami.

    (His hand is found on the beach. His foot is found near an old soccer field. And his leg is found at a pumpkin patch.) It's not known whether or not he's still alive.

    In this scene, Tucci's friends and family have met in church, to pray for his safe recovery.

    The scene opens with a young girl singing "Amazing Grace", while standing in front of the church altar. We see his grieving mother in the front pew, weeping and holding a candle.

    Maria LaGuerta enters from the back of the church. The mother spots her, and hurries over to ask if there's any news about Tony. LaGuerta shakes her head "no". LaGuerta tells the woman it has been a long time since she's been in church.

    The woman thanks LaGuerta for giving them hope, and introduces her to the congregation. (LaGuerta feels guilty, because, in fact, she originally thought that Tucci himself was the Ice Truck Killer, rather than his victim.)

    The mother takes a religious medal (on a chain) from her neck and gives it to LaGuerta. She tells her it is St. Anthony, the patron saint of the lost.

    We see the church briefly, one last time, near the end of the episode, after they have discovered Tony Tucci is (almost miraculously) alive, when we watch LaGuerta light a candle inside the church, and make the sign of the cross

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A Catholic church - but far from Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was filmed inside Precious Blood Catholic church, at 435 SOccidental Blvd, about two miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

    The Italian Romanesque-style church, built in 1932, is located at a fork in the road, between Occidental Blvd and Hoover Street. It's about two blocks north of busy Wilshire Blvd (and Layfaette Park).

    We also briefly glimpse the outside of the church as well, in another scene in the same episode. The church's squarish steeple is the same one seen in the background behind the soccer field, when Dexter has a flashback of his childhood (after finding Tucci's foot). See the photo to the right.

    But be aware that the tall pink & white building, which appears to be to the left of the church, isn't real - it was inserted by the effects department in this scene and in the related scene where the severed foot is found, to make both areas look like the same place.

    The church also nearby two other "Dexter" filming locations: the soccer field is just a block to the west, and the palm tree with the smiley face is in a center divider on the street just to the east of the church.

    Warning: The MacArthur Park area has been a high-crime area in the past, so if you visit, exercise reasonable caution.

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

    A. It took me two years until I finally found this church.

    Since they were filming a lot in Miami during the first half of the first season, I assumed there was at least a 50/50 chance that the church was actually in Miami, so I wasted a lot of time searching for it there, without success, of course. My efforts in L.A. didn't produce any better results, so I more or less wrote it off as a lost cause.

    Then, in early 2009, a pal, Chas Demster, sent me a tip about a nearby church (First Congregational Church of Los Angeles), which, on its website, mentioned that an episode of "Dexter" had been filmed at the church in 2005.

    When I went to look at the First Congregational, I didn't recognize it from the series. Also, the church in episode four was clearly a Catholic church, and First Congregational is, of course, Protestant. However, while I was looking at that church, I spotted something else just down the road: what appeared to be a Catholic church, just a stone's throw away from First Congregational. I learned that it's name was Precious Blood, and I then Googled for photos of its interior. And sure enough, it was a perfect match - giant mosaic crucifix and gold arch included.

    That discovery, in turn, led to the discovery of the location of the soccer field (another "lost cause"), after I realized that the steeple of Precious Blood was the same church steeple seen in the background during that soccer scene.

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