Dexter Filming Locations: The Breakwater Murder Scene


The location: The Breakwater Murder scene.

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

    A. A rocky breakwater, where a body is found.

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

    A. In Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 1 (Season 2), "It's Alive".

    In the first murder case of the second season, a dead body is found lying on the rocks of a Miami breakwater.

    Dexter and his team arrive to investigate.  They climb down the rocks to the body, where Dexter announces that the bloody victim has been killed by a machete. Doakes pipes up to say that the machete is the signature weapon of the 29th Street gang, and that from his tattoos, the victim looks like a gang member.

    As Dexter fumbles around (he is still reeling from having slain the "Ice Truck Killer" in the last season), the scene cuts to his sister, Debra, who is nearby, interviewing witnesses.

    She speaks with the owner of a local "Banana Boat" tour (played by Max Gail, the actor who used to play 'Wojo' on "Barney Miller").

    A guy in the crowd recognizes Deb from TV as the woman in the Ice Truck Killer case, and keeps nagging her to pose for a photo. Just as she is about to explode, she sees LaGuerta about to intervene, and calms down.

    At that moment, a woman goes running past them (in the background).  It turns out to be the mother of the victim. She climbs down onto the rocks and is grief-stricken. In Spanish, she asks Dexter to find her son's murderer and kill him (something Dexter takes to heart).

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The rocky edge of a boat launch ramp.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The scene was filmed at the South Shore Launch Ramp, located at 590 Queensway Drive in Long Beach, CA, just down the road from the Queen Mary.

    Resembling a two-slip marina, it's a small, four-lane facility where weekend skippers hauling boats behind their vehicles can back their boats safely into the water. The launch is surrounded by a small, six-acre park (with a nice view of the city skyline across the bay) and a large parking lot.

    Rocks line the edges of both launch slips, but the rocks where the body was found are on the south/southeast edge of the boat ramp, and Dexter is seen walking east/northeast as he reaches the rocks. Once he is down with the body, the camera shot of the group on the rocks (with the bridge in the background) is looking east.

    The bridge you see in the background is the Queensway Bay bridge. The bridge leads from mainland Long Beach (just west of the Aquarium of the Pacific), across the mouth of the Los Angeles river, over to the area where the Queen Mary and the Hotel Maya are located. The launch ramp is about 130 yards north/northwest of the (southwest) end of the Queensway bridge.

    As the scene opens, the camera is looking east/northeast as it pans the Queensway bridge from its northeast end to its southwest end.

    The ramp was located right next to Naga restaurant, a Thai restaurant that was between the launch ramp and the Queensway bridge. But as you can see from my second photo below, there is now construction going on there.  The Naga restaurant is now gone, and they are in the process of building a Residence Inn Hotel at the same 600 Queensway Drive address.

    I shot the photos below in Sept. 2008

    When we see Debra interviewing the Banana Boat skipper (and being harassed by the photographer), she is standing on the opposite (north/northwest) side of that same boat ramp.

    And the "Banana Boat" itself?  It's not really called that, and it's not even a tour boat. It's a speed boat called "The Rocket Boat", and it's actually usually docked over in the Shoreline Village marina (right across the channel), near the spot where LaGuerta warns Doakes to lay off Dexter.

    Here is an aerial photo of the breakwater area. And here is a map link.

    They shot several other scenes near the Hotel Maya, including Dexter & Lila at a sunny poolside cafe, Dexter & Lila at an expensive restaurant after dark, and Doakes shooting a man aboard a boat moored at a local dock.

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

    A. This was a fairly easy one. The Queensway Bay bridge is easily recognizable to anyone who has seen it, and the distinctive downtown buildings on the Long Beach mainland were also visible in the background. But when I spotted the blue sign of the "Naga" restaurant in the scene, it was just a matter of checking the restaurant location (via the Yellow Pages) to pinpoint the exact location of the breakwater, then matching the scenes on the DVD to an aerial map to confirm it.

    As for the Rocket Boat, I noticed that colorful craft docked at Shoreline Village during my previous visits there. So when I saw it again on "Dexter", I was pretty sure it was the same boat.  So, I double-checked at their website to be sure:, then went to the Village and shot a photo of the boat.

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