Dexter Filming Locations: The Gang Murder Scene <


The location: The Gang Murder scene.

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

    A. A public housing project.

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 2 (of Season 2), "Waiting to Exhale".

    Earlier in the same episode, police find the body of a gang member on a rocky breakwater.

    While Dexter and his co-workers are examining that body, the mother of the victim shows up, frantic with grief.

    Later, the police try to convince her to testify against 'Little Chino', the gang leader they know killed her son.

    In this scene, that woman (Eva) turns up dead, her bloody body lying in the street near a housing project, herself a victim of 'Little Chino's gang, killed (by machete) in revenge for her talking to the police.

    Dexter arrives to find the murder scene taped off by the police, and becomes more determined to kill 'Little Chino'.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. An actual housing project, but not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. It is the Rancho San Pedro housing project, located in the city of San Pedro, near the Los Angeles harbor.

    It's less than a mile southwest of where the Vincent Thomas Bridge spans the harbor channel.

    The scene where they find the woman's body was filmed on S. Palos Verdes Street, between W. 1st Street and W. 2nd Street, (right off Harbor Blvd, and just north of the intersection of West 2nd St and S. Palos Verdes Street).

    The camera is looking south/southeast in the opening shot. When Dexter gets out of the car, you can see the address 112 (S. Palos Verdes Street) on the apartment house behind him.

    I shot the photos below in Sept. 2008

    [ Warning: These are private homes.  Do not knock on their doors, trespass on their property,
    or do anything else that might disturb the residents. Over the years, the neighborhood has
    had a problem with gang activity, so exercise reasonable caution. ]

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

    This same housing project was used for the early part of the tagger chase scene, and also for the end sequence when Dexter hides out from the gang in the storm drain. The location is about a half mile away from Little Chino's party house, and the church where they filmed Paul's funeral. It's also across the street from cargo lot where, in the first season, they filmed Dexter checking a cargo container while searching for his kidnapped sister. And it's not very far from the pier where the police found a victim inside a railroad box car.

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

    A. Although many of L.A.'s public housing projects look alike, there were a few notable clues here.

    The first thing I noticed was the 112 house number on one of the nearby buildings. I also noticed there were tall buildings in background to the right, meaning the housing project was fairly close to some downtown area - but the buildings didn't look tall enough to be downtown L.A. All of the visible apartment buildings were brick-red or white (although later scenes showed that some of them were green & white as well). Also in the distance, to the left, was what appeared to be a red-colored, corrugated storage building or possibly metal cargo containers.

    Finally, I had a breakthrough.  At 31:39, I spotted what I recognized as freight elevators towering in the background (in the tagger scene), the kind used at the port/harbor to move cargo containers from ships to trucks & trains (and vice versa). So I then knew that the scene had been shot near the harbor.

    I've often driven to the Ports O'Call area of San Pedro, and my route there takes me down Harbor Blvd, right past a housing project. So I immediately checked aerial photos of that area to determine if it was the same one, using the 112 address to zero in on the exact street. I quickly narrowed it down to Palos Verdes Street, and sure enough, that red-colored object in the distance (that I had spotted earlier) was there - it turned out to be red cargo containers, stacked behind a fence, on the corner just north of the filming location.

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