Here’s How Long It Would Really Take To Set Up Dexter’s Kill Room
Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is a purposefully precise serial killer. The titular central figure of Showtime’s crime drama — which ran for eight seasons and whose revival series will begin airing this month – balances life as a forensic analyst with his work as a vigilante. Getting caught would thoroughly ruin Dexter’s life and result in his imprisonment.
How does he keep the world from figuring out that he’s both criminal and cop? By carefully arranging the places where he commits his crimes. Dexter’s kill rooms are coated with easy-to-wash plastic sheeting, which means there’s no DNA left behind on fabric or any other surfaces. He tranquilizes his victims, straps them to a flat surface, puts on protective coverings, and informs the criminal of their unforgivable crimes before killing them in some jaw-dropping scenes. While legal justice might have cheated the victims of his target du jour, Dexter’s knife will not.
How long would it take an average person to set up a kill room like Dexter’s? It turns out that the show’s set designers have the process down to a science.
It takes five hours to make a Dexter style kill room
Via a 2010 Associated Press article hosted on The Press of Atlantic City’s website, it takes about five hours to create a “Dexter”-style kill room. According to set decorator Dave Koneff, who constructed every kill room set, the amount of time needed depended upon how much furniture there was to wrap. Koneff’s plastic of choice was 3.5 milliliter Husky Plastic Sheeting, which he bought reams of during his time on the show.
But other staff members disagree about the exact amount of time required to pull together such a set. For instance, the show’s property master, Joshua Meltzer, told BuzzFeed in 2013 that it takes 12 hours overall to set up a kill room, depending on how complex the set needed to be. Meltzer would handle all of the individual props put into the rooms. He also distributed all of that spurting blood — and there was a lot of it. He told the Associated Press that they went through approximately 25 gallons of fake blood during the filming of the show’s fifth season.
Naturally, Koneff and Meltzer weren’t the only people involved in putting your average kill room locale together. Production designer Jessica Kender designed the look of every set — and the show’s star appreciated all of that hard work. “In spite of the fact that there are characteristics that all the kill-room scenes share, each one has its own distinct character and flavor, and that sense of uniqueness is something that we discover as we shoot it,” Michael C. Hall told the Associated Press. It definitely shows onscreen.