What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. The waters
where Dexter is seen boating.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In several episodes, starting early on in Episode 1 (of Season 1), titled simply "Dexter".
After his first killing, we see Dexter Morgan aboard his boat (the not-so-subtlely-named Slice of Life), as he steers it between shorelines lush with tropical vegetation.
During the short trip, he introduces himself, and explains that he fakes all normal human interaction.
As an example of this, we see the friendly-appearing Dexter smile and wave to a passing boat (in stark contrast to the savage killing we have just witnessed).
He explains that he doesn't blame his parents for the way he turned out, and we see the first flashback of Dexter's adopted father (aboard a boat in the same area) talking to Dexter as a child, letting him know that he knows that Dexter has been killing animals.
Back in the present, Dexter then pushes the throttle to speed up the boat, and we change locations, as we see him roaring past large cargo ships, being unloaded at dock, with the skyline of Miami in the background. (This same scene was re-used in the third season of "Dexter", in Episode one, "Our Father".)
And finally, we see Dexter at his apartment/condo, where he has docked the boat.
(We get a better look at where Dexter docks his boat, alongside his condo, in Episode 8.)
Episode 5 (of Season 1), "Love American Style", we see Dexter
back out on his boat.
A boat full of pretty girls in bikinis passes by. They wave at Dexter, and he returns a weak smile and toasts them with his bottle of beer. Then he shoots a photo of Castillo's house.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. The waters
of Biscayne Bay, east/southeast of downtown Miami, Florida.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
In the distance, in that shot, we see the red-tile roofs of the low-rise condos on Fisher Island (another island, just north of Victoria Key), and beyond that, the tall buildings at the southern tip of Miami Beach, near South Point Park.
They also filmed the flashback shot of young Dexter and his father in the same Virginia Key bay. With its Caribbean/jungle look, this tropical bay & channel has been used for a lot of filming over the years, going back to the old TV show "Flipper".
We see this same channel again in Episode 2 (of Season 1), "Crocodile", where we see Dexter floating face up in the water, thinking about not being normal. Eventually, he climbs out of the water, back into his boat. Compare the foliage in the background (and the Miami Beach skyline in the distance) and you'll notice that it's the same location.
The boat with the girls is passing east to west (or southeast to northwest). The tall buildings seen on the shore behind Dexter's head are on Belle Island (the easternmost of the Venetian Islands), except for the small pink building on the right, which is located on the western side of the Miami Beach coast. The camera is looking northeast (from Dexter's position) when it sees those buildings.
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. After I had found Jimbo's, (while researching the Fish Shack scene), my hunch was that they probably shot the early boating scene in the same tropical bay. So I went back to the boating scene and (using maps) drew a line straight from the Virginia Key channel out across the water to the nearest land, then checked the aerial photos of the area to see if they matched what we see in the distance of that boating shot. And they matched perfectly.
The cargo ships
were easy to spot, in the same general area...
Dexter screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
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