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How 'American Gothic' Crew Transformed Toronto Into Boston

TORONTO (CBS) -- If the house and the neighborhood at the center of the new CBS thriller "American Gothic" looks like they could be found on Chestnut Hill, that's by design.

"Well, that's encouraging to hear," Tim Owen told WBZ's Liam Martin with a laugh.

Owen is the location manager of the murder mystery, and he was speaking to Liam in Toronto, not Boston -- despite the fact the show is set in the Hub.

"We all kind of develop a kind of checklist of what makes Boston what it is when we see it visually," Owen said.

American Gothic
Home from "American Gothic" (CBS)

He has had to turn to that checklist for this project, finding the parts of Toronto that can fit.

Related: Interviews With 'American Gothic' Cast

The crew used the campus of the University of Toronto as shoots for MIT. They used the Canadian city's waterfront market. And they recreated the Boston Public Library and Boston Police headquarters inside a massive sound stage -- larger than a football field -- on the outskirts of Toronto.

"It's not an easy thing to maintain," Owen said, noting Boston, unlike Toronto, has a lot of clapboard architecture.

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Boston Public Library in "American Gothic" (CBS)

"If you're a bit of an adrenaline junkie, this is the kind of business to find yourself in," he said.

The show is appealing to adrenaline junkies, too. It's a 13-part murder mystery centered on a prominent Boston family. They become embroiled in the search for a serial killer after a concrete panel from a Big Dug tunnel falls onto a car and reveals a key clue.

"It's got the psychological thriller of who did what, who knows what, who was complicit in what, who's hiding what -- everybody's got a secret," said Corinne Brinkerhoff, the show's executive producer.

And she knows Boston well. She studied television production at Boston University and wanted to set the show in the Hub.

"It was really a wonderful, exciting, energizing place to be," Brinkerhoff said of Boston. "For me, it's easier if you've actually seen a place to tap into the heartbeat of the city."

Wednesday night viewers will dig deeper into the question: Was the family patriarch the "Silver Bells Killer," and -- if so -- did someone in the family help him?

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