Dexter Filming Locations: Tuttle Bridge

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: Tuttle Bridge

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

    A. A shantytown of sex offenders, located under a bridge, the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

    There actually was such an encampment in Miami, known as "Bookville" or "The Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony".

    It existed because strict laws about where sex offenders could live prevented them from living anywhere but in the shantytown under the bridge, where they wound up as virtual prisoners.

    ( I believe this Google StreetView shows a few of the tents to the right of the bridge. )

    After the media reported on the scandal, the shantytown was finally dismantled in April 2010.

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

    A. The real Tuttle bridge spans Biscayne Bay, linking Miami with Miami Beach.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 5, of Season 5, "First Blood".

    Dexter goes to the encampment, at night, seeking a sex offender who Lumen believes was one of her abusers.

    Dexter finds the man, talks to him (long enough to inject him), and is about to kill him when he realizes (via a Harry flash) that the man is wearing an tracking bracelet ib his ankle, meaning that his moves are monitored, and that he couldn't have abused Lumen.

    In a later scene, Lumen herself goes to the area, during the day, dressed in a hoodie, and carrying a gun. She spots the man, and is about shoot him when Dexter intervenes and stops her.

    He tells her that she almost killed the wrong man.

    That prompts her to agree to use the plane tickets Dexter gave her to leave Miami.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The land under a bridge - just not near Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot under the south end of the Terminal Island Freeway, near the Dock Street exit, on Terminal Island (which lies i between San Pedro and Long Beach, CA).

    The Terminal Island freeway is a short four-lane highway (used mainly by cargo-hauling, big-rig trucks), that runs from Sepulveda/Willow on the north, to Terminal Island (and the Vincent Thomas Bridge) on the south.

    As freeway traffic passes over the narrow channel that separates the mainland from Terminal Island, it travels over the Commodore Schuyler Heim Bridge, an old drawbridge. And parallel to that bridge runs the Henry Ford Bridge, which carries the nearby railroad tracks.

    Both bridges have been seen in several films, including "Transformers", "Terminator 2", "To Live & Die in L.A." and "The Fast & the Furious".

    This scene was shot just south of that bridge, on Terminal Island, between Dock Street and the channel. For most of these shots, the camera is looking north. (In the shot of the white oil tank above, the camera is looking west/southwest.)

    I shot the photos below in October 2010:

    [ Warning: this is a desolate part of the world on weekends, and sees
    massive truck traffic on work days.  I don't recommend a visit. ]

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

    In this Google StreetView from the bridge (looking northwest), you can see the white oil tanks (to the left) which are seen in the background of the daylight scene.

    The same bridges can be glimpsed in the background of another Dexter scene, from the third season: the scene where Dexter and Debra eat marina coffee bar.
    And also nearby is the dockside cafe where Dexter & Prado had a hostile lunch, and the Coral Cove marina, where Dexter docks his boat (all from Season 3).

    And, of course, Terminal Island lies between San Pedro on the west and Long Beach on the east, both cities where Dexter has filmed numerous scenes.

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

    A.  The bridge's green tower is glimpsed in the background, and I recognized it, since I'd written about it before. The challenge was pinpointing exactly where, in the area, they filmed the shot. I was able to do that using the round, white oil tank seen in the background (particularly in the shot where one bum recognizes that Lumen is a girl), and then matching the angle via Bing aerial photos.  Finally, I went there in person and shot the photos you see above..

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