The location: Boyd's Swamp
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. Part of a local wetlands area.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. I still haven't pinpointed precisely where this scene was shot, but I can give you the general area.
Just before this scene, they filmed two short scenes in the Oxnard/Point Mugu area.
Neither of those scenes, on their own, was worth traveling all they way out to Oxnard to film.
Both involved simple roads that could easily have been filmed somewhere in Dexter's usual stomping grounds (of Long Beach, San Pedro, Hollywood and Marina del Rey).
But the producers like to "cluster shoot", that is, shoot a number of scenes in the same area (often on the same day) to cut costs. No doubt, they filmed those road scenes there because they came to the area to film something more important.
So the obvious question becomes: What was their real reason for traveling all the way to Oxnard?
If you look south of those two other locations (both of which were filmed up around E. Hueneme Road, in Oxnard), you'll see there is a large area of swamp-like wetlands.
This is known as the Ventura County Game Preserve (also known as the Duck Club), located just south of Casper Road, adjacent to the Point Mugu Naval Air Station. (The official address is 2950 Casper Road, Oxnard, CA.)
The swamp scenes were almost certainly filmed there, or very nearby.
The problem is that it's a large area, 600 acres for the preserve alone, with a perimeter of about four miles.
As you can see from an aerial view, that land is divided up into rectangular parcels, about 100 of them, each forming a sort of mini-swamp within the larger wetlands area. These sumps were originally designed for agricultural reasons, to draw water away from the nearby farm lands, and prevent flooding there.
But in practical terms, it means we have roughly 100 candidates for Boyd's swamp.
Right now, all I can tell you is that the swamp scene was probably filmed in one of them... but not which one.
And it is likely to be near a road, since they would need to drive the vehicles into the scene, and also move in heavy lifts, lighting equipment, etc.
In theory, it
should be possible to compare the aerial map photos with the ground-level
screenshots to pinpoint the exact spot. But so far, I haven't been able
to pinpoint it with any degree of certainty.
I've put the best available screenshots of the area, from the episodes,
so if you want to play detective and help pinpoint the exact
spot, feel free to join in the hunt. (If you find it, email me via "dexter
I think there's a good chance that the early daylight shot seen behind Dexter when he's talking on the phone to Debra about the kids (after watching Boyd dump the first barrel) isn't the same place as those Oxnard swamp scenes. They may have patched the different locations together to form a hybrid of sorts.
And I also think there's a strong chance that the last appearance of the swamp (when they move the barrels from the swamp into Cole's pickup truck) was shot at El Dorado Park. I had heard reports that they were filming there again around the time they were shooting that Episode 8.
probably never know for certain, because we're dealing with a natural
area that changes all the time: the water level rises and falls, trees
& bushes grow and wither, etc. It can look one way when the
scene was filmed, and look quite different a few months later.
However, although I don't have absolute proof, I'm 90% sure that it was
shot in that general area.
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. I haven't - at least not completely.
I got an anonymous tip that they were going to shoot out near Port Hueneme or Oxnard, so when those rural road scenes with Boyd showed up, I checked that area and managed to discover where those road scenes were filmed. Then I spotted the wetlands to the south...
But I still
need to pinpoint the exact spot in those wetlands.
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