Dexter Filming Locations: The Park Dream Sequence


The location: The Park Dream Sequence.

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

    A. A park, with swings and grassy lawns.

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

    A. It's part of a fantasy sequence, but most likely in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 2 (of Season 3), "Finding Freebo".

    Dexter has just found out that Rita is pregnant with his baby, and is naturally worried.

    After Angel tells him that it's great, Dexter wonders if it could turn out to be a good thing after all.

    He slips into a fantasy/dream sequence in which Dexter imagines what his child might be like.

    At first, it is an idealized fantasy: he has a boy, about 10 years old.  Dexter is in the park with his son, pushing him on a swing set, as Rita and her two kids play happily in the palms nearby.

    For a moment, Dexter basks in the idea that he could turn out to have a normal life after all, and even imagines rubbing it in to his father Harry.

    But then the fantasy takes a dark twist, as Rita's daughter Astor goes missing, and Dexter sees his suddenly somber son sitting by himself, wearing leather gloves and playing with a garotte.

    Dexter wakes up from his daydream

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A public park, but not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot at Pan Pacific Park, at 7600 Beverly Blvd., in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles (what was once the center of Jewish immigrant life in L.A.)

     It's right next to (east of) The Grove and the original  Farmers Market.
    And it's a short walk from CBS TV City.

    The park swings are located near the center of Pan Pacific Park, on its west edge (in the shadow of The Grove's giant parking structure). (There is a newer, more brightly-colored playground in the park, on the park's north side, but the scene wasn't shot there.)

    One street to the east, they filmed the scene of Rita and Syl house-hunting.

    I shot the photos below in 2009

    Pan Pacific Park used to be the location of the historic Pan Pacific Auditorium, a notable Streamline Moderne building, but it burned down in 1989. The park now includes a Holocaust Memorial.

    Here is an aerial photo with the swing set marked. And here is a map link.

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

    A. This took a while.

    The one unusual item I spotted from the scene was that the grass lawn in front of the swings seemed to be dotted with large rocks - almost like small boulders.  The thought occurred to me: Why would anyone put rocks on a lawn where kids play? But on the other hand, I knew the rocks would make it easy to recognize the park - once I found it.

    I could tell that it was a fairly large park, with a baseball diamond and lots of trails, so I first started looking in Long Beach (Dexter's favorite filming area), at obvious places such as El Dorado Park and Recreation Park.  But they didn't match. I expanded my search beyond Long Beach, but suffice it to say, there are a lot of parks in Greater Los Angeles.

    But I finally tracked it down when I got around to looking at Pan Pacific Park.  The irony here is that I have driven past the park a zillion times on my way to Farmers Market or the Grove, but I had never gotten around to stopping there to look around.  If I had, I would have known it had those unusual rocks on its lawn - and it would have saved me a couple months of searching for it... But better late than never.

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