Dexter Filming Locations: Dexter & Trinity cut down a tree


The location: Dexter & Trinity Cut Down a Tree.

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

    A. A woods or forest.

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

    A. Somewhere near Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 7 (of Season 4), "Slack Tide".

    After Dexter claims to be alone and without friends, Arthur Mitchell (the Trinity Killer) lets
    Dexter come along when he goes on a road trip to attend to an errand.

    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.
    And the same park where they filmed the scene of police finding a woman's arm inside a gator.

    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 link.

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.

    However, 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 same episode.

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