Dexter Filming Locations: Miami Night Life


The location: Miami Night Life.

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

    A. The bright neon of Miami's night life.

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

    A. In Miami Beach.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 1 (of Season 1) titled simply "Dexter".

    About 22 minutes into the first episode, we see Dexter out for a stroll after dark on Friday night ("Date Night in Miami"), eating an ice cream cone and walking past busy, brightly-lit nightclubs.

    As the camera pans young couples groping each other at outdoor tables under the neon lights, Dexter tells us that he doesn't really understand sex - that it seems so undignified... But that he has to play the game of trying to look normal.

    He then mentions that he thinks he's found the right woman, Rita, and the scene cuts to her house (which, in real life, is almost 3,000 miles away).

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The front patios of a trio of Art Deco hotels.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. At 1420 to 1430 Ocean Drive (between 14th & 15 Streets), in the Art Deco Historic District of Miami Beach, across the street from (west of) Lummis Park and the beach.

    The stretch of "little buildings" along the west side of Ocean Drive comprises the world's largest collection of Art Deco architecture.

    There are three little buildings in a row on the west side of Ocean Drive: The Crescent (1420), the McAlpin (1424) and the Ocean Plaza (1430). It appears that the last two (perhaps all three) are operated as time shares by Hilton Grand Vacation Clubs.

    When Dexter pauses and looks up at a couple silhouetted in a 2nd floor window, he is looking up at the McAlpin.

    The producers seem to have 'dressed the set' a bit, fixing up the front porches / verandahs of the last two buildings (perhaps all three) to give them a more exciting look and feel.

    This same stretch of Ocean Drive was also used for the very first scene in the series - which has Dexter driving past the same buildings.

    This South Beach area of Miami was a virtual slum back in the 1970's, but the hit TV show "Miami Vice" spruced up the storefronts with pastel colors in the '80s, and created a hip ambiance that didn't exist in real life (where the residents were mainly senior citizens). In an example of life copying art, people flocked to Miami Beach, expecting what the TV show promised, developers followed to give the people what they wanted, and South Beach was reborn. Ocean Drive is now once again a popular destination.

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

    A. I had found these Ocean Drive locations earlier, for the show's opening shot.
     So, I thought this night scene was probably filmed nearby in the Art Deco section. As it turned out, it was the exact same spot.

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