Dexter Filming Locations: Lila's Stealing Spree


The location: Lila's Stealing Spree.

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

    A. A nice residential neighborhood

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 4 (of Season 2), "See-Through".

    As the scene starts, we first see Dexter & Lila driving down a curving street, past what appears to be a marina.

    Suddenly, Lila makes a sharp U-turn, and deliberately drives her SUV into a decorative white post (topped with a horse head), knocking it loose. She then scrambles out of the car, grabs the post and makes Dexter help her put it in the back of the SUV.

    Dexter is shocked by her behavior.

    In the next scene, we see Lila (with Dexter still in tow), brazenly stealing wind chimes from someone's yard.

    She says she works with "found art". "More like stolen art", says Dexter.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A residential neighborhood - but not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot near Naples Island, in Long Beach, very near the location where they filmed Doakes shooting the man on the bridge.  (That bridge - the Appian Way bridge - is, in fact, just about 350 yards away.)

    We first see Lila & Dexter driving along Bay Shore Avenue, as it curves from northeast to east. You can see the homes on Naples Island in the background, as well as the blue water of the channel that separates Naples Island from the mainland of Long Beach.

  • The spot where Lila suddenly U-turns is on Bay Shore Avenue near E. Vista Street, as their SUV is heading east.
  • There is a crosswalk there on Bay Shore Avenue, at Vista Street, leading from the residential neighborhood on the north side of Bay Shore Ave to the marina area on the south side of Bay Shore Ave. At the south end of the crosswalk, there is a short bit of sidewalk crossing a narrow lawn that divides Bay Shore Avenue from the marina's edge.

    The decorative, white (horse head) posts aren't a normal part of the landscape there; the Dexter crew placed six of the posts there, (three on each side of that sidewalk), so Lila could run over one.

  • The next scene, where Lila steals the wind chimes, was filmed at an apartment house just a stone's throw from that crosswalk. The apartment house is at the northeast corner of Bay Shore Avenue & E. Vista Street, at 301 Bay Shore Drive, in Long Beach.
  • However, they didn't film the front of the house facing Bay Shore.  They filmed its west side, in the courtyard which fronts Vista Street. (In the scene, you can also see part of the home next door, at 5375 E. Vista - the one with the black garage door.)

    The white starburst security door, seen in the last photo above, faces an alleyway to the north..

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

    [ Warning: These are private homes.  Do not knock on their door, trespass on their property,
    or do anything else that might disturb the residents. ]

    I shot the photos below in late 2008.

    (Below is my shot of the crosswalk where Lila makes the U-turn and steals the post.)

    (Below is my shot of the courtyard area where Lila steals the wind chimes.)

    (Below is a photo of the sunburst security door, seen as Dexter & Lila walk away with the chimes.)

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

    A. This was a bit tricky.

    I easily found the crosswalk where she ran over the post, because I was in that same area last year researching the Doakes bridge chase scene, so I simply recognized the neighborhood.

    But the apartment house, where Lila steals the chimes, was more difficult.

    I knew it was an apartment house, and not a single family home, because of the "gang box" (multi-resident mailbox) seen by the stairs. I figured it was probably in the same neighborhood as the crosswalk, but I couldn't be sure. And for some reason, I was unable to spot it from the usual aerial photos.

    So I got in my car and drove down to Bay Shore Drive (I needed to shoot photos of the crosswalk anyway), and then just cruised around the nearby streets, looking for a matching apartment house.  I had quite a few clues to go on: the textured plaster on the beige walls, the curly wrought iron on the staircase, the large hedges on the side of the wall, the black garage door next door, and an unusual starburst iron door seen as they walk away from the building

    Fortunately, I didn't have far to drive.  I spotted it as soon as I turned up Vista Street.  The first thing to catch my eye was the black garage door of the house next door. Then I matched up the hedges, then the courtyard, and finally that starburst door on the side. The only surprising element is that the courtyard is smaller than I expected.

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