Dexter Filming Locations: Dexter's Front Lawn

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

The location: Front Lawn of Dexter's Apartment

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

    A. The lawn in front of Dexter's apartment house.

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

    A. 8240 Palm Terrace, in Miami, Florida.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 2, of Season 7, "Sunshine and Frosty Swirl".

    We see Dexter's apartment in virtually every episode, but this is the first time they've done a scene outside on his lawn.

    In the scene, Dexter has just confessed to Debra that he is a serial killer, and she flees in horror, running down the stairs, collapsing on the lawn and vomiting.

    He tries to calm her down, asking if she's OK, but she cringes from him, declaring that she will never be OK again.

    She starts asking him questions.  He tells her that he only kills certain kinds of people, and that their father taught him a code. Debra is horrified to learn that Harry knew.

    But when she asks him if he's the Bay Harbor Butcher, he reminds her that they are outside, and that isn't a good place to discuss such things.

    Eventually, she reluctantly goes back inside, where the conversation continues.

    We see this front lawn & gate again in Episode 5 ("Swim Deep"), when Isaak leaves Dexter's apartment.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A mix of three separate locations: an actual apartment house, a studio set, and the lawn of another apartment house 2,000 miles away.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This gets tricky.

    We're talking about the front lawn here, but the scene involves a mix of that lawn, his apartment house, and his apartment interior.

    Dexter's original Miami apartment house was the Bay Harbor Club condos, located at 1155 103rd Street, out on Bay Harbor Island, in Miami Beach, Florida.  (An appropriate location, considering that he was the "Bay Harbor Butcher"...)

    But after shooting a few initial scenes in Miami for the first few episodes, the producers built a replica of the interior of his apartment, at their Hollywood studios - complete with accurate (fake) views of the outside when he opens the door.  The set also includes a replica of the front door exterior and the walkway outside.

Up until this 7th Season, they have always used a combination of that old footage of the real apartment house in Miami (for establishing shots), and that studio set at Sunset-Gower studios in Hollywood, CA.

For this season, however, they wanted to do a scene outside on his front lawn.  They had sent a film crew to Miami before the season started, to capture some fresh views of that apartment exterior (as well as other Miami locales), but apparently the stars didn't come along.

So, for the front lawn scene, they simply used the front lawn of an apartment house near the studio, named the Carlton Park Apartments. The address is 5916 Carlton Way, in Hollywood, CA.

That's just west of Bronson, basically one long block northeast of Sunset-Gower studio.

Which, I'm sure, was one of the main reasons they chose the locale.  I suspect that the aqua-green coloring on the gates (which somewhat matches Dexter's original apartment) also entered into the choice, along with the front lawn and those big palm trees.

Otherwise, the apartment house bears little resemblance to the Miami condos.  But it was a dark night scene, and mostly close-ups; all you really ever see of it is the gate, the lawn and the sidewalk, so it passed the test.


UPDATE: In the 8th season, they returned to this apartment building for two new scenes, for the 7th episode ("Dress Code"). 

Once again, it was playing the role of Dexter's apartment house, but this time they included the open carport/garage on the the west side of the apartment complex (at 5922 Carlton).

In the first scene, Debra plants a GPS tracking device (that she borrowed from Elway) under Dexter's car, and is almost caught in the act by Cassie. She explains that she's Dexter's sister, and the two have a brief conversation about him.

In the second scene, Dexter comes out of his apartment and heads to his car.  He is suddenly assaulted in the carport by three thugs dressed in black, who beat up Dexter and leave him lying next to the trash, in a narrow alleyway on the west side of the garage.  They were apparently sent by Hannah's jealous new husband, Miles Castner, because Miles found out that Dexter met Hannah at her old greenhouse.

    Here is a Google StreetView of the apartments, showing the gate & lawn seen in the scene:

    Rick got these shots, driving past the location during filming in July 2012.

    [ Warning: These are private apartments.  Do not knock on their doors,
    trespass on their property, or do anything else that might disturb the residents. ]

Here is an aerial photo of the location.  Here is a Google StreetView.
  And here is a map link.

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

    A.  In the early seasons, I usually had to hunt down the locations after viewing the episodes, using clues from the various scenes.  By the now, though, I've developed a small group of fans, spies & tipsters who kept an eye out for Dexter filming in their neighborhoods, and would let me know in advance when something was about to film there.

    Between those reports, my own personal reconnaissance around town, and a few new resources I discovered, by the time the first episode airs, I already know most (but not all) of the filming locations, and only need to watch the episodes and match up the scenes with the correct locations.

    This group of helpful fans includes Rick, Ellen, Elaine, Mia, Joel, Susan, Eric, Jeff, Kerry & others. My thanks to all of them.

    This tip (and the photos above) came from Rick. (Thanks, Rick!)

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