Dexter Filming Locations: Head Found in Park

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: The Head found in the Park

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

    A. A park.

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

    A. In a rough part of Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 2, of Season 5, "Hello Bandit".

    We see police gathered at a public park, an obvious crime scene has been cordoned off with yellow tape.

    Angel walks up to the Quinn and asks "What have we got?"

    Quinn tells him they found a head ("just a head"), and he speculates that it's probably a drug killing, given the neighborhood.

    After a brief side discussion about Angel and Maria's money problems, they walk over and look at the body part, which Vince is examining.

    Masuka says that she was still alive when her head was cut off, but that the eyes and tongue were cut out after death. The head is surrounded by golden candles and small religious statues.

    Quinn & Debra talk about how crowded her apartment is, now that Dex and the kids have moved in.

    A young, Latina officer (Sierra) says that it looks like Santa Muerte, a violent cult. She says the eyes and tongue were cut out to send a message not to talk to the police.

    She says the golden candles mean money, but she's unsure about the icons. She says she know all of this because it's her neighborhood. And she says that the cult used a machete on the victim.


    Debra reminds her, though, that the park is a local drug hangout, and drug cartels "like to cut heads off".

    Quinn comes back and says that they found the victim's body elsewhere in the park, but no ID.

    The park is seen again in Episode 4, "Practically Perfect", when we see the cops (Debra, Quinn & Angel) going door to door, trying to get the Venezuelan neighbors to talk about the murder.  But they are having no luck.

    The park's community center (with the mural) is seen again in the background as the trio talk to each other on the street.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A public park - just not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot at Drake Park, located at 951 Maine Ave, on the west side of downtown Long Beach, CA.

    The scene was shot on the south side of the park, on Park Circle (W. 9th Street), under a big tree, between the handball court and the community center building.

    The park is located right across the street from the suicide house, (where the headless victim's husband died), and not far from where Dexter rented the moving van - both locations seen in this same episode.

I shot these photos of the park in June 2010:
(The graffiti was added to the handball court by "Dexter" artists.)

They had set up their base camp near the corner of Park & Chestnut:

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

    A.  In previous seasons, I've usually had to hunt down the locations after viewing the episodes, using clues from the various scenes.  By the 5th season, though, I'd developed a small group of fans, spies & tipsters who kept an eye out for Dexter filming in their neighborhoods, and would let me know in advance when something was about to film there.

    Between those reports, and my own personal reconnaissance around town, by the time the first episode aired, I already knew most (but not all) of the filming locations, and only needed to watch the episodes and match up the scenes with the correct locations.

    This group of helpful fans includes Kerry, Rick, Joel, Geoff, Ellen, Julie, Susan, Jeff, and others. My thanks to all of them.

    This particular tip came from Rick, who let me know they were filming at the park.  (Thanks, Rick!)

    I drove down to take a look at the scene, and shot the photos you see above.

    And no, the park doesn't normally look that bad: I watched as a young woman, hired by the production, painted the fake graffiti on the walls of that handball court, and it was removed after the filming. Ironically, her artwork is barely seen in the scene - just a brief glimpse behind Debra (see the fourth photo from the top).

    The mural on the community center, on the other hand (which is seen more often in the scene), is real.

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