location: Dexter & Trinity Cut Down a Tree
What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A woods or forest.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 7 (of Season 4), "Slack Tide".
claims to be alone and without friends, Arthur Mitchell (the Trinity Killer)
Driving out into the woods, Dexter wonders if something sinister is afoot. He asks Arthur what they are going to do, and Arthur says they are going to cut down a tree.
They park the van, and Dexter is surprised when Arthur opens the hatch, shows him a group of sharp tools (including a chain saw and an axe), and says "Choose your weapon."
Dexter has been looking for an opportunity to kill him, and this seems like an ideal one - out in the middle of nowhere.
But Dexter is also still intrigued by Arthur's ability to seemingly juggle both a happy family and his serial killing, and he would like to keep observing him to find out how he manages it.
Dexter chooses the axe, while Arthur takes the chain saw.
But when Arthur attempts to start the chain saw, it won't start. After several failed attempts to start it, Dexter offers to help, and Arthur reluctantly lets him.
Dexter easily starts the saw, waves it about in a somewhat menacing manner, then goes about cutting down the tree.
As Arthur is measuring the fallen tree, Dexter asks him why he didn't just buy the wood at the hardware store, to which a suddenly testy Arthur responds that he doesn't want the wood at the hardware store - that "this is better".
(As it turns
out, he's planning to build his own coffin, once he gets home.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. A botanical garden.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. This scene was shot at the South Coast Botanical Garden, at 26300 Crenshaw Blvd, in Palos Verdes Estates, CA.
That's on the east side of Crenshaw Blvd, about a mile southwest of Pacific Coast Highway.
( It's the same
location where they filmed the second season scenes of Doakes being held
captive by Dexter in the cabin.
At one time a landfill, the land was turned into a lush garden with a lot of palm trees and semi-tropical plants, making it a good starting point for any producer looking for a swampy, Everglades look.
Because there are so many roads in the large public garden, and because they tend to look alike, I probably can't pinpoint the exact spot where they filmed it. The first road shown is paved, and is most likely the main road where a tram circles the park.
The smaller dirt road they turn onto could be just about anywhere in the garden. But the top photo below (which I shot a year ago, on the path around the lake) does look a lot like the same place where they park the van to cut down the tree, and for all I know, it may actually be the same spot.
( But try a
visit to the garden yourself - I recommend the Spring time - and enjoy
a little exercise in the fresh air, as you hike around and see if you can
identify the exact spots...)
I shot the photos below in 2008.
Here is an aerial
photo. And here is a map
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. Having seen this area before, in the Doakes cabin scenes, and having visited here to shoot photos for that page, I'm pretty sure I would have recognized it on sight as the South Coast Botanical Garden.
I didn't have to. Dexter fan Kerry Weiss sent me a copy of an article
in Entertainment Weekly, in which the reporter described the scene
where Trinity hits the deer, mentioning that
it was shot at the botanical garden. This cutting-down-a-tree scene was,
naturally, in the same episode as the deer scene, along with the arm-in-the-alligator
scene, all three of which were filmed at the garden - and seen in the
Dexter screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Showtime.
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