Beyond being used in real life to ship large amounts of consumer goods overseas, shipping containers are frequently used on TV shows. After all, building a narrow pathway through a massive maze of shipping containers is a great way to set up a suspenseful scene. Here are some of the most dramatic scenes on TV that have made use of these versatile set pieces.
Baptized in blood: "Dexter"
One of the most iconic images from the early seasons of "Dexter" takes place in a shipping container. This shipping container is where Laura Moser was murdered, and where her two sons were left for dead, covered in her blood. Harry Morgan rescued Dexter from this shipping container, but because Dexter was so young, he could not recall the events until later in life. In Season 1's "Born Free," Dexter breaks into a shipping crate searching for information about his past (and about Deb), and is followed by Sgt. Doakes.
The shootout: "Bones"
Toward the end of the sixth season, Booth is hunting Jacob Broadsky at a port location filled with tall stacks of shipping containers. Both men are excellent shots, but Booth is able to sneak up on Broadsky and bring him down because Bones explains that Broadsky has a broken hand. Knowing that, Booth is able to sneak up to the shooter from a low position, taking him by surprise.
Boxed up: "NCIS"
In the episode "Boxed In," Tony and Ziva are locked into a shipping container while in the midst of an investigation. In addition to solving a mystery about smuggled explosives, they also have to contend with some pretty heady sexual tension while trapped in such tight quarters.
Those poor girls, "The Wire"
Much of Season 2 of "The Wire" deals with the port. That was the season where a shipping container full of human cargo from Eastern Europe was discovered at the Baltimore docks. Sadly, all the girls were dead.
Gwen in danger, "Torchwood"
Much like "The Wire," the second season of "Torchwood" also kicks off with a big scene in a shipping container. Captain John Hart lures Gwen to the docks, and poisons her with a paralytic. Leaving her to die in a shipping container, he tells her that if she is not found within two hours, all her major organs will shut down. Thankfully, she is found before death claims her.
Marco in peril, "Shameless"
OK, what is it with TV shows using shipping containers in their second seasons? In Season 2 of the American version of "Shameless," Steve is trying to get his wife's lover into the country, and uses a shipping container to transport him. But when the shipping container gets re-routed, finding Marco proves to be more trouble than anyone expected.