Dexter Filming Locations: Harrison's Preschool

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

The location: Harrison's Preschool

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

    A. "Our Lady of the Gulf" Preschool.

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

    A. At 8th Street & Grand Ave, in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 1, of Season 6, "Those Kinds of Things".

    Little Harrison is growing up, and Dexter is forced to start looking for a good preschool for his son.

    Angel suggests this one, a Catholic preschool (and a fast track to better schools).

    Dexter & Debra bring Harrison there, but when the nun asks Dexter about his religious beliefs, he tells her he doesn't believe in anything. That doesn't make a good impression on the nun, and Dexter seems put off by the religious symbols at the school.

    Back at his car, he modifies that and tells Debra that he believes in a set of rules so that he doesn't get in trouble.

    She tells him that sounds like something for a puppy, and that it sounds cold and empty.

    Later, he realizes that even though he doesn't need any religious beliefs, his son might (especially since Dexter doesn't want him to grow up like his father - and his Dark Passenger).

    So, in a latter scene, Dexter returns to the preschool and apologizes to the nun, telling her that he is ignorant about religion, but wants the best for his son.  She seems impressed that he made the effort, and says she will try to get him into the school.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A church preschool.  But not a Catholic one, and nowhere near Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

A. The Grand & 8th street signs that you see in front of the preschool are fake.  So is the blue and white sign they added near the gate.

    This scene was actually shot at the northwest corner of Termino & 3rd Street.  (In fact, if you look closely at one of the latter shots, you can see a Termino sign in the background.)

It's really the preschool of the Belmont Heights United Methodist Church, at 317 Termino Avenue, in Long Beach, CA.

In most main shots of the exterior, the camera is looking north, at the south side the preschool on 3rd Street (where the playground equipment is).  Dexter parks his car on the north side of 3rd St.

The final scene, though, shows the school's east side, and Dexter parks then on the west side of Termino.

This location is about mid-way between the high school where they filmed Dexter's high school reunion, and the beach where they filmed the scenes of the snakes in the dead guy - both from the same episode (and more examples of Dexter's tendency to "cluster shoot").

    Fan Susan Loomis was at the filming, and used her camera's phone
    shoot the photos below, in June 2011:

    This is a blow-up of part of another photo by Susan, showing Dexter kneeling next to Harrison.

    And here's her shot of the fake "Our Lady of the Gulf" sign that they put up:

    And if that's not enough for you, here's a brief video she shot as well,
    of Dex walking Harrison into the school. 
    Click here.

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

    However, later in the season, in Episode 9 ("Get Gellar"), they revisit the preschool for a short scene (in which Dexter proudly watches as Harrison is handing out cookies to the other kids)  For that scene, they faked the preschool at the studio.

    That Episode 9 scene was shot in the southeast corner of the Sunset-Gower studio (where Dexter is filmed), which is a studio parking lot.  The camera is looking east, towards Gordon Street.  They painted a blue mural on the (normally) white block wall that surrounds the studio, and added a flowering vine to the chain link fence that tops that wall.  Then all they had to do was add a strip of grass, some playground equipment, a few picnic tables and two nuns.  Voila!  Instant preschool.

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

    A.  In previous seasons, I've usually had to hunt down the locations after viewing the episodes, using clues from the various scenes.  By the 6th season, though, I'd 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 aired, I already knew most (but not all) of the filming locations, and only needed to watch the episodes and match up the scenes with the correct locations.

    This group of helpful fans includes 
    Kerry, Rick, Ellen, Susan, Joel, Julie, Geoff,Jeff, and others. My thanks to all of them.. My thanks to all of them.

    This time, fan Susan Loomis was on the scene for part of the filming, and sent me the photos you see above.  She also reported seeing Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) on the scene, hiding behind a large hat.  Thanks, Susan!

    ( As for the later, Episode 9 scene,
    I knew that the block wall at the studio was topped with chain-link fence, so that was the first place I checked. I was able to match a large canary island pine tree visible on the other side of the studio wall, along with a tall palm tree trunk growing right next to that canary pine, plus the square roof of the apartment house north of those trees.)

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