Dexter Filming Locations: Lila Spies at Dexter's Marina


The location: Lila Spies at Dexter's Marina.

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

    A. A boat marina (and later, the open sea).

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

    A. In Miami (and the waters off Miami).

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In the Episode 11 (of Season 2) - "Left Turn Ahead".

    After Lila has Angel framed for raping her, Dexter drops by her apartment and tells her that her scheme to blackmail him won't work, because he is going to disappear, and she won't be able to reach him.

    So she follows him.

    At a distance (from inside her car, parked on the shore), she watches Dexter aboard his boat at the marina. He has Rita and her children on board with him, and is obviously planning a pleasure outing.

    While she knows Dexter is preoccupied, Rita seizes the opportunity to break into his car (which is parked near hers).

    She rummages through his car's glove compartment and finds his GPS navigator.

    Lila uses the GPS navigator to trace Dexter's recent destination, and that leads her to Dexter's cabin in the Everglades - where she finds Doakes in a cage.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A marina - but not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. In the scene, Lila is parked (in her car) near the far end of the same rocky breakwater where LaGuerta tries to phone Doakes.

    This is not to be confused with the smaller breakwater (at the boat launch) where they filmed the murder scene in Episode 1.

    This breakwater shelters a marina.  It begins on land next to Parker's Lighthouse restaurant at Shoreline Village. From there, it juts out south into the water, then turns to head southeast, then turns again to head east. In so doing, it wraps around (and protects) the outer Shoreline Marina, in Long Beach, CA.

    The breakwater is about half a mile long.  It is a wide breakwater, with a two lane road down the middle of it, so people can not only safely walk out on the breakwater, they can drive their cars out on it as well. There are parking spaces on both sides of this road.

    In the scene, both cars are parked just past that final (southeast to east) bend in the breakwater. Lila's car is parked on the north side of this breakwater road, while Dexter's car is on the south side (a short distance to the southeast).

    As Lila watches Dexter & Rita board his boat (the Slice of Life), Lila is looking northwest, back towards Shoreline Village and downtown Long Beach.  Dexter's boat appears to be moored on the east side of the northwest end one of the north/south docks. As his boat leaves, it heads southeast down this channel.

    ( In real life, that would only get him stuck at the breakwater end of that slip. To exit the Shoreline marina, he would actually need to head the opposite way, northwest, at first, and then turn to the east. )

    Lila then gets out of her car and walks southeast across the road to Dexter's car. In the background, you can see a large cruise ship. This is Long Beach's new Carnival Cruise Terminal, across the bay, next to the Queen Mary. (The actual ship seen is most likely Carnival's "Ecstasy".)

    The later scenes, of Dexter & Rita out on his boat, were photographed in the waters just outside (east of) this same marina.

    Here is an aerial photo of the marina and the breakwater, with the approximate location of the cars marked.  And here is a map link.

    (I shot the photos below in 2008)

    [ In the photo above, shot from the breakwater, you can see the bench, trash can, gate and marina seen in the Lila scene. ]

    [ In the photo above, looking the other direction, you can see the same cruise ship seen behind Lila - plus the Queen Mary. ]

    [ The smaller photo above shows one of the blue trash walls on the breakwater,
    which is glimpsed near Lila in the scene. ]

    Numerous other scenes from "Dexter" have been shot in this general area, including multiple scenes at Shoreline Village, around the Queensway Bridge, in Shoreline Park, and at the Coast Long Beach Hotel.

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

    A. This one was somewhat difficult. It was obviously a marina, but which one?

    You don't see much, just palm trees and boats, for the most part.  But then, as Lila got out of her car, I spotted a cruise ship in the background. At first, I assumed this was the Los Angeles Cruise Terminal, in San Pedro, which was, until recently, the only place to catch one of those huge cruise ships. I knew they had shot several other scenes in San Pedro for season two, so it seemed to be a good guess.  But after looking at the San Pedro area, I was unable to match the nearby parking area.

    It was then that I spotted a familiar, white concrete bench (as Lila walks towards Dexter's car) which I recognized as a Long Beach bench. (I had first noticed that they have a distinctive shape when I was researching a scene for "The O.C.")

    It was then that I remembered that they had recently created a new cruise terminal in Long Beach, next to the Queen Mary. So I switched to aerial photos of the area around the Queen, and looked first for marinas and then for those twin rows of palm trees seen in the scene. I found them on the breakwater. I then checked the angle of that cruise ship to determine Lila's approximate position on the breakwater. After that, I matched up the blue trash wall she parked next to, and then the concrete bench and square trash container that she walked towards.

    Also, as she's looking at Dexter on his boat, you can see a tall, old brown building in the background, behind the marina. Checking the Long Beach shoreline, I matched that as the St. Regis Building at 1030 E. Ocean Blvd. (at 2nd Place).

    By drawing a line between this building and Lila's viewing position, I was able to determine where Dexter's boat was docked.

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