Dexter Filming Locations: Palm Trimmer Arrest


The location: Busting the Palm Tree Trimmer.

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

    A. Bayside Park.

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

    A. In Miami, near the water.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In the third season finale, Episode 8 (of Season 3), "The Damage a Man Can Do", when Debra does a stakeout for Mario, an assistant palm tree trimmer and Nicaraguan immigrant whom they suspect of being involved in the Skinner case. The head tree-trimmer, George King, has told them that he makes out the work schedule, so Mario will show up at the park.

    We first see Debra at the park, on the phone, trying to reach the missing Anton. We can see boats in the background.

    Quinn pulls up in his car. She gets in, and tells him she can bring Mario in by herself. He won't go for it.

    Then she talks to Quinn take about his past and how his actions might have resulted in the death of a fellow cop. Quinn defends himself.

    Just then, as expected, Mario the tree-trimmer appears on the scene in his green pickup truck. He parks near a large statue and gets out, ready to go to work.

    Debra & Quinn immediately approach him, and he makes a run for it. After a brief chase, Quinn tackles him, and Debra helps handcuff him.

    Later, back at the police station, Mario is clearly terrified of his boss, George King (who, as it turns out, is the real Skinner).

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A public park, but far from Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. They shot the scenes at Burton Chase Park, at the far west end of Mindanao  Way, in Marina Del Rey, CA.

    The address is 13650 Mindanao Way.

    They filmed it in the southwest corner of the park, near a large statue (of a mariner standing behind a ship's wheel) called "The Helmsman".

    Burton Chase park is distinctive - a large grassy park perched right at the tip of the marina, surrounded on three sides by boats & water.

    Despite the number of trees in the park, they actually had to add an artificial palm tree to the scene (near the statue), because there are no palms in that part of the park.

    They shot two other scenes in Marina Del Rey for the third season: Dexter & Rita's wedding, and the scene with Dexter & Prado shopping at a boating store (which was shot just a block away).

    In the second season, they shot exteriors for the Police Station near the park (and they re-used some of those shots in the third season). And from that second season, they also shot the Narcotic Anonymous meeting, Lila's diner and the used car lot nearby.

    [ I shot the photos below in 2009 ]

    [ Above is the view of the southwest corner of Burton Chase Park, looking west. ]

    [ Below is a the view of the Helmsman statue - from the approximate location of Mario in the scene - looking southwest. ]

    [ Below is a close-up view of the Helmsman statue. ]

    Here is an aerial photo of the park, with the location marked.  And here is a map link.

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

    A. I'd been to Burton Chase Park many times, so I simply recognized it. The only real problem was figuring out exactly what part of the park they shot in, and I was able to do that by lining up the buildings seen across the channel (in the background), then matching the foreground (such as the street). But the statue was the best help in pinpointing the spot.

    Interestingly enough, a very similar mariner statue stands outside Ports O'Call Village in San Pedro. But I didn't realize at the time that there even was a statue in Burton Chase park, since it's tucked away in the southwest corner and partially hidden by trees. Once I saw it in the scene, though, I had to go get a closer look at it...

    According to the plaque under the statue, it used to stand in front of the old Helms Bakery in Culver City, and was donated to the city in the 1970s.

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