The location: The Fish Shack.

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

    A. A funky-looking fish shack.


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

    A. Somewhere in or near Miami.


Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 1 (of Season 1) titled simply "Dexter".

    The scene starts with a close-up of a fish being gutted. Dexter and his sister, Debra, are then seen eating outdoors talking about a series of gruesome murders that is plaguing the city.

    They are sitting at a picnic table with peeling paint, next to a weathered shack, in an open area with tropical vegetation, and with fish smoking on BBQ grills in the background.

    Dexter gives Debra clues to understanding the killer, so that she can impresses her police superiors and move up from Vice to Homicide.

    It's here that Dexter figures out that the killer is using a refrigerated truck (once Debra tells him about the coroner mentioning "cell crystallization") - leading to the nickname "The Ice Truck Killer".

    ---

    Four years later, in Episode 1 of Season 5 ("My Bad") the Dexter crew recreated Jimbo's, as the place where Dexter beats a man to death with a grappling hook in a restroom (after he makes a crude remark about Dexter's dead wife, Rita). They mixed up actual shots of the real Jimbo with a recreation by the set designers to achieve a fairly authentic look... It during the time when Dexter is trying to run away from his toubles - on his boat. He stops at Jimbo's, goes into the market and finds it empty, except for an obnoxious redneck. The dude picks the wrong guy to get rude with...


Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A funky-looking fish shack.


Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. In real life, it is a place called "Jimbo's" (sometimes referred to officially as "Virginia Key Fishing Village").

    It's an eccentric, one-of-a-kind spot out in the middle of nowhere, selling shrimp, smoked fish and beer, in a setting that looks like a cross between a run-down trailer park and the set of Gilligan's Island.

    You can also play some bocce ball while you're here. Locals seem to love it as a (very) out-of-the-way remnant of the Old Florida.

    You'll find it (if you can) off the Rickenbacker Causeway, on Virginia Key (the island just before Key Biscayne). That's southwest of Miami Beach.

    It's a hard place to find. Frommer's says: "Head south on the main road toward Key Biscayne, make a left just after the MAST Academy (there will be a sign that says VIRGINIA KEY), tell the person in the toll booth you're going to Jimbo's, and he'll point you in the right direction."

    They do a lot of filming out here.  They shot the old shows "Flipper" & "Gentle Ben" in this tropical cove. They also filmed parts of "Porky's II", "Ace Ventura", "True Lies", "2 Fast 2 Furious", "Miami Vice" and "CSI Miami" here.

    The same bay, east of Jimbo's, was used for the a shot of Dexter boating in the first episode. 

    ( And I believe, but am not 100% positive, that Jimbo's was also used for the scene in Episode 2 ("Crocodile"), where Doakes busts an organized crime group while they are playing dominoes outdoors.)

    Believe it or not, Jimbo's has its own website.

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

A. This was a hard one.  But if you zoom in on the blackboard menu on the shack behind Debra, you'll see a blurry name which begins with the letter "J", which is written to look like a fish hook. That is an unofficial trademark of Jimbo's.

It was easier in Season 5, when I knew what to look for. (Not to mention, they painted the word "Jimbo's" across the front...)


Update
: In April 2012, a Dexter fan, Chuck, emailed me to say that he had just visited Jimbo's, and told me: "The city of Miami had erected a fence around almost everything and are preparing to get rid of it all."

Apparently, Jim, the aging owner, is in ill health, and a number of problems (such as a fire and a lack of electricity) have caused the family to finally give up on the local landmark.  From what I've read about Jimbo's, the place always had legal issues with the local government, so it doesn't surprise me that the City would be eager for the opportunity to finally reclaim the land.

The bottom line is that Jimbo's is going away.

Chuck also sent me these photos of Jimbo's, which he shot just before it closed down for good:









 (Thanks, Chuck!)


 
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