Dexter Filming Locations: The Hand on the Beach


The location: The Severed Hand.

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

    A. "Petrie Beach" (formerly "Rand Beach").

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

    A. In or near Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 4 (of Season One), "Let's Give the Boy a Hand".

    We see Dexter walking on the beach, thinking (as usual) about being different, when he is called over to a crime scene.

    The "Ice Truck Killer" has left a bloody, severed hand propped up on a beach chair - right on the public beach.

    This prompts another flashback memory of Dexter's childhood: He's on the same beach with his foster family, and they're posing for a family photo next to palm trees.

    Dexter's father asks if Dexter was smiling, and when he learns he was not, he takes the boy aside and lectures him on fitting in.

    Young Dexter fakes a smile for the next photo (as the family happily yell out their version of "Cheese!"... "Stinky Feet!")

    ( They filmed another brief scene on this same stretch of beach.

     In Episode 5 (Season One), "Love American Style", there's a wordless scene where Rita meets her maid on the beach to tell her that her missing fiancee hasn't been found. The maid is sitting on the sand, staring out across Dexterean. As Rita approaches, she looks up hopefully. Rita just shakes her head, then quietly sits down on the sand next to her. )

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A beach, but not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The producers went to the trouble of putting up a fake sign in the background reading "Petrie Beach", but there is no "Petrie Beach" in Florida.

    They shot this scene on the beach of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (about 30 miles north of Miami), at the north tip of South Beach Park, with the camera looking north/northeast from the beach.

    The main hotel-like tower you see on the beach when Dexter is walking towards the crime scene, is the Illini Condo, located at 545 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, in Fort Lauderdale, FL. (The red-colored building we see behind the Illini is the "Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Beach" hotel, at 440 Seabreeze Blvd.)

    The crime scene (with the severed hand) was shot on the beach just southeast (perhaps 500 feet) of the Illini condo tower, near the spot where Seabreeze Blvd splits and becomes South Atlantic Blvd.

    Earlier in the same scene, they shot the girls roller-skating a little bit farther north on the beach, at 5th Street S. Atlantic Blvd.

    Here is an aerial photo of the area (with key points labeled).  And here is a map link.

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

    A. This was a hard one. Since I live in L.A., and since Live Local doesn't provide their usual great "Birds-Eye" aerial photos for the Fort Lauderdale area, it's very difficult for me to verify locations there.

    But I had a good clue to go on.  When Dexter is on the beach and looks at the girls roller-skating by, if you slo-mo it, you'll see the name "Treasure Trove" on a sign on a building behind them. The Treasure Trove is a bar on 5th Street in Fort Lauderdale.

    But I felt I had to verify it by matching the buildings seen lining the beach. So, deprived of Birds-Eye photos, I resorted to Googling for photos of the area, and after a long, long search, I was able to pull up skyline photos which showed the exact same buildings.

    Next, I had to find the name and addresses of the two buildings closest to the camera. I did that by determining what the general addresses were on Atlantic Blvd in that 5th Street area, then trying to match hotels or condos to similar addresses. I finally found the right two, and matched up the addresses with photos of the buildings via Google.

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