Dexter Filming Locations: Rescued at Sea

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

The location: Rescued at Sea

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

    A. The ocean and a beach.

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

    A. The Atlantic Ocean, seven miles off Miami, and one of the beaches near Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 12, the Season 6 finale: "This is the Way the World Ends".

    In the previous episode, Travis had captured Dexter and left him to die at sea in a ring of fire.

    At the start of this episode, Dexter is clinging to a piece of wreckage from the dinghy, floating seven miles out at sea, and not faring well.

    When the wreckage he had been clinging to sinks, it appears that Dexter is about to drown.

    Instead, a fishing boat, the Milagro, appears out of nowhere, and the Cuban refugees on board fish Dexter out of the water.

    One of them, who speaks English, tells Dexter that he is very lucky, and that God is looking out for him.

    During the trip back to shore, the captain of the boat pulls a pistol and begins robbing the refugees.  When he threatens a woman, Dexter kills him with a fishing gaffe.

    As they near land, the refugees jump into the water and wade ashore.  Dexter joins them.

    On the beach, Dexter stops a Miami couple and borrows a cell phone.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The Pacific Ocean and a California beach.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. These scenes were shot in two different locations:

    • at Cabrillo Beach, in San Pedro, CA
    • and at

    • Berth 60 (AKA US Water Taxi), a dock at the south end of Signal Street, also in San Pedro.

They prepped a fishing boat, named the Bronze Back (which is normally docked off nearby Terminal Island), to look like the Cuban refugee boat you see in the episode - including changing its name to the Milagro.

(The name means "Miracle" in English, and that seems a deliberate choice on the part of the writers, considering the semi-miraculous nature of Dexter's rescue at sea, and the woman's comment about God looking out for him.)

They shot the scenes of Dexter in the water (and probably the close-ups on the boat's deck), at Berth 60, the same small dock where they filmed the lake of fire scene last week.

They've used this dock often in the past, including the scenes
back in Season 2, when Dexter threw away the Barbie doll head that Rudy had given him, and where the divers recovered the remains of the Bay Harbor Butcher's (Dexter's) victims.

For the beach scenes, where Dexter and the refugees jump into the water and wade ashore, they moved to Cabrillo Beach -  which is less than a mile from (
southwest of) Berth 60.

Cabrillo is a sheltered, east-facing beach on the west edge of the L.A. harbor, just southwest of the Cabrillo Marina, at the far southeast corner of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

They used CGI to insert a fake background of the Miami skyline on the horizon of one shot (possibly concealing San Pedro's industrial harbor), which explains the slightly ghost-like appearance of Miami in that view .

The solo shot of Dexter walking out of the water onto the beach also has a certain CGI look to it, and I suspect that they digitally erased the horizon in that shot as well.

But in another shot, where they are jumping from the boat into the water, you can clearly see the San Pedro harbor behind them, in the distance (including, if you look closely, a glimpse of Trinity's warehouse).

The boat was at least 300 yards off Cabrillo Beach when the actors jumped off.  But for the wading-onto-the-beach scenes, they just had the actors wade safely into the water (from the beach), and then wade back onto the beach.

    I shot these photos of Cabrillo Beach in 2009:

    (The large ship that you see below was sailing into the L.A. harbor that day, escorted by two tugboats.)

Here is an aerial photo of the two locations.   And here is a map link.

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, Jason, Elaine, Joel, Julie, Geoff, Jeff, Jen, and others. My thanks to all of them.

    This time, Rick let me know they were filming down at Cabrillo Beach, and an anonymous tipster filled me in on the details that I mentioned above.  (Thanks, Rick!)

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