Dexter Filming Locations: Prado & Dexter on the Pier


The location: Prado & Dexter on Pier.

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

    A. A pier.

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

    A. Somewhere in or near Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 8 (of Season 3), "The Damage a Man Can Do".

    We see Prado waiting on a pier, when Dexter arrives.  Prado senses that Dexter has bad news, and sure enough, Dexter announces that he is calling off their planned killing of Billy Fleeter. Dexter knows that Prado had been recognized by a stranger in the casino bar where they followed Fleeter, making it too risky to go through with their plan.

    But Prado isn't happy about having his fun snatched away, and is obviously irritated that he can't have his way.

    First, he brings up the fact that he knows Dexter must have killed people before Freebo, a not-so-subtle threat. Dexter glares at him, clearly finding this an invasion of his privacy, and wondering if he needs to reconsider Prado's character.

    Prado ridicules Dexter's code, saying that all of its restrictions are like "wearing a straight jacket" - causing Dexter to remark that the code is what stops his darkness from taking over.

    Frustrated, Prado tells him how he enjoyed beating up his father and throwing him down a flight of stairs, as an example of his own darkness. (This later turns out to be a lie - it was his brother, Ramon Prado, who fought their father).

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A public pier - but not in Florida.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This was shot at the Cabrillo Beach Pier, a fishing pier at 3730 Stephen White Drive, in San Pedro, just south of the Cabrillo Aquarium/Museum.

    Prado & Dexter meet at the northwest end of the pier, with the camera looking out east/northeast behind them, out across the Los Angeles harbor channel.

    When the camera shows us Dexter walking towards Prado, the camera is looking southeast, and Dexter is walking northwest up the pier.

    They shot the scene with a telephoto lens, so the background looks closer than it really is. In the background, You can see the palm trees on Terminal Island (near the prison), the docks & freight elevators (in both Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors (thanks to long lenses), and, in another direction, the Cabrillo small boat marina.

    This isn't an easy pier to reach, but here's how you can find it if you want to go: take the Harbor (110) Freeway south to its end, when it deposits you on Gaffey Street, heading south.  Stay on Gaffey until you reach 22nd Street, then turn left (west) on 22nd, and take it west two blocks to Pacific Avenue (this will help you avoid a killer hill on Gaffey), then turn right (south again) on Pacific. Follow Pacific Avenue south about a mile to Steven White Drive/36th Street. Turn left on Steven White Drive and follow it down a short hill to where it forks left into Oliver Vickery Circle. Take the left fork and Oliver Vickery Circle will form a turnaround right in front of the historic Cabrillo Bath House (with a statue of explorer Juan Cabrillo out front). The small road leading out to the pier & parking lot is just off this circle. Look for it (just to the left of the bath house, when you're facing it), then turn right onto the road and drive out to the pier. ( Do yourself a big favor and map this out in advance on Google, then print out the map and bring it with you! )

    There's a panorama of the Cabrillo pier online, at .

    I shot the photos below in 2009

    The photo above (looking east) shows the northwest end of the Cabrillo Pier, where Dexter met with Prado.
    The cargo ship in the background is just entering the port of Los Angeles harbor.  You can see Angels Gate lighthouse on the right.

    The photo above looks southeast down the main pier, where the camera first saw Dexter walking towards Prado.

    The photo above is another look at the northwest end of the pier, but this time looking northeast, with the L.A. harbor visible behind.

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

    They've filmed a number of scenes near the Los Angeles Harbor (visible across the channel in the photo above), including the scene from Season One in which Dexter searched cargo containers for his kidnapped sister, the train car scene from the second season, and from this third seasonm Teegan's murder site , Freebo's house, and the Skinner's warehouse.

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

    A. This wasn't easy.

    I was sure I had been to every pier in the L.A./O.C. area.

    Over the years, I've visited the Redondo Beach Pier, the Hermosa Beach Pier, the Manhattan Beach Pier, the Venice Pier, the Santa Monica Pier, the Malibu Pier, the Belmont Pier, the Seal Beach Pier, the Huntington Beach Pier, the Newport Pier, the Balboa Pier, and even the Dana Point Pier, as well as the commercial docks at L.A. Harbor.

    So, I spent a long time trying to match up this pier with one of the ones I knew. At first, I was pretty sure that it was the Belmont Pier (given the harbor view and freight elevators in the background), but try as I might, I couldn't match it up.

    Finally, I noticed something important: a small boat marina in the distance. Also, there was a large cargo ship moving in the background.  I knew it had to be close to the L.A. Harbor, but I suspected I was looking at the wrong side of the harbor.

    So I began searching the San Pedro area, to see if there was a pier to the west of the harbor that I didn't know about.  And sure enough, when I triangulated some of the background items, I came across the Cabrillo Pier, tucked away down at the far southeast corner of the Palos Verdes peninsula.

    The irony is that I had been to the Cabrillo Aquarium and Cabrillo Beach, which are within walking distance from the pier. But the pier isn't visible from the Aquarium, so I had never discovered it. It's not the sort of place most people would stumble across - you pretty much have to know about this pier in advance in order to find it; the trip there requires you to take an odd curve around the Cabrillo Bath House and then follow a long parking lot out onto a spit of land before you finally reach pier.

    But once I went there in person, there was no doubt that it was the pier seen on Dexter.  So I shot the matching photos.

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