Dexter Filming Locations: The Soccer Field


The location: The Soccer Field.

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

    A. A grassy field where Dexter is playing soccer.

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

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 4 (of the first season) - "Let's Give the Boy a Hand".

    When police find the severed foot of Tony Tucci in a downtown area (left there by the Ice Truck Killer), it is wearing a soccer shoe and is posed next to a soccer ball.

    Dexter then realizes that this spot, although it has changed a lot over the years, is the same spot where he used to play soccer when he was young.

    Dexter then has a flashback to his childhood, where we see him playing with other children.  When he teases another child (by playing keep-away with his jacket) his worried father takes him aside and warns him not to act like a bully - his task is to fit in, to appear normal, not to be noticed - and "cops remember bullies", he tells him.

    Back in the current time, Dexter realizes that the Ice Truck Killer knows his personal family history, and is using these body parts to recreate scenes from Dexter's past.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A vacant grassy field.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. Since the original "finding the foot with the soccer ball" scene was actually shot in Miami, one might assume that the soccer field (which is supposed to be the same location, just a few years earlier) would also be in Miami.

    It isn't.

    This small field is actually located just west of downtown Los Angeles, at the northeast corner of S. Commonwealth Ave & W. 5th Street.

    The address is 444 S. Commonwealth Ave, and it appears to be simply a vacant residential lot.

    That's less than a block west of the Catholic church where they filmed the scenes of Tucci's grieving relatives praying for him. (In fact, you can see the steeple of that church in the background of this soccer scene.)

    And it's a similar distance from the center divider where Dexter visits the palm tree with the smiley face on it.

    The field is also right next to (north of) the parking lot of another church, the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles (the oldest Protestant church in L.A.)

    The field is bordered by apartment houses on its north and east sides, by Commonwealth Ave on its west (with a third apartment house right across that street), and by the church's 5th Street parking lot on its south side.

    During those soccer shots, the camera is mostly looking east (and occasionally north).

    (I thought that they might have added the dense green growth on the walls around the field to make it look more like Florida, but no - that vegetation is really there.)

    It's important to realize that the tall, pink and white building (with the "Amanda Snack Cakes" mural on it) seen behind the soccer field doesn't really exist.  They inserted that building (via CGI) in both the Florida and L.A. shots, to try to make them look like the same neighborhood.

    All of these locations (the church, the palm tree and this soccer field) are one block north of Lafayette Park off busy Wilshire Blvd (about half a mile west of famous MacArthur Park), about two miles west of downtown L.A.

    Warning: The MacArthur Park area has been a high-crime area in the past, so if you visit, exercise reasonable caution.

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

    A. It took me two years until I finally found this field (in early 2009), and then, it was almost by accident.

    When I finally discovered the Catholic church where they filmed the scene of Tony Tucci's relatives praying for his safe recovery, I had a hunch that the tall steeple of that church might just be the same elusive steeple seen in the background of the soccer field scene. So I went back to that early episode and checked, and sure enough, it was a perfect match.  So, I simply looked a short ways to the west, and sure enough, there was the field.

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