Dexter Filming Locations: The Police Station


The location: The Police Station.

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

    A. The Miami Metro Police Station.

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

    A. On the water's edge, in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 10 (Season 2), "There's Something About Harry".

    Lundy stops Debra outside to ask her why she is mad at him.
    She tells him it's because he told her their relationship would end when the case ended.

    We see the same location again in Episode 11 (Season 2), "Left Turn Ahead", when the team is called in by the boss for the announcement that Dexter's killing tools (which Dexter conveniently dumped off the end of a pier) were found, and had Doakes' fingerprints on them.

    And finally, we see the station again in the Season 2 finale, Episode 12, "The British Invasion", in the aftermath of the Doakes & Lila fiascos, when we see Debra & Angel discussing Lila, and LaGuerta passes out invitations to Doakes' memorial service.

    It's important to note that the show has used several different locations for the police station scenes, and this particular location didn't appear until the second half of the second season.

    (The original police station. seen in the first season and most of the second, was a false front constructed on the side of a sound stage at Sunset-Gower Studio in Hollywood.)

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A county building near a marina.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The scene was filmed at a 2,830 square foot office building at 13575 Mindanao Way in Marina Del Rey, CA, just a few yards away from Burton Chase Park, a grassy park perched at the southwest end of Mindanao Way, and surrounded by water on three sides.

    As you head west down Mindanao Way, towards Burton Chase Park, you'll find the "police" building on your right (northwest) side, on the water's edge, in a marina parking lot, just before you come to where Mindanao Way ends in a U-turn loop.

    ( It's essentially the same parking lot where "The O.C." filmed their infamous Ferris Wheel kissing scene for that TV show's popular first season. )

    The building looks the same as it did on the show. The only real change they made was to add a fake banner across the front reading "Miami Metro Police", and add a few extras in police uniform milling around.

    When I went to shoot photos of the building, I found no signs, no lettering on the building indicating exactly what kind of an office it was, only a small round Los Angeles County seal on the side wall, and the number 13575.

    But Googling the 13575 Mindanao address turns up references to "Pacific Ocean Management" (real estate brokers), "L.A. County Beaches & Harbors - Marina Office", "Dock 77" and "Pier 44 Marina".  So it looks like the building is shared by at least two tenants.

    Burton Chase Park has been used for other "Dexter" scenes as well, including a scene where Debra & Quinn bust a "Skinner" suspect, and the final scene in Season Three: the wedding of Dexter and Rita.

    I shot the photos below in Sept. 2008

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

    Since they were still using the original police station location (at the studio) in the second season, I'm not sure exactly why they introduced this new location, but I can think of two possible reasons.  One, they might have thought that a waterside location (where you can see the marina behind them) would make it look more like Miami (especially since they are no longer filming in the real Miami). Or perhaps they were simply unable to film at their old spot for one reason or another, and turned to this new one out of simple necessity. Whatever, it will be interesting to see if it pops up in the third season as well...

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

    A. This one was hard.  I could tell it was at a marina, but which marina?  Just counting the biggest ones in the L.A. area, there's the Shoreline Village Marina, the Alamitos Marina, the Cabrillo Marina and Marina Del Rey.

    So I checked the background and tried to match the condos seen across the channel. It looked more like Marina Del Rey than the others, so I started there, but after searching for hours, I still couldn't pinpoint that building.

    Then, fortunately, when looking at the scene again, I glimpsed (for a brief second) a tall building with black & white vertical stripes, located behind the police headquarters. I went looking for it (instead of the condos) and found it rather quickly. Then, it was just a matter of determining exactly which building it was on Mindanao. Aerial photos made that easy, and then I went there in person to double-check (and shoot the photos above).

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