Dexter Filming Locations: The Young Tagger chase


The location: The Young Tagger Chase.

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

    A. The scene of a police chase.

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

    A. In Miami, Florida.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 2 (of Season 2), "Waiting to Exhale".

    Debra & Angel are knocking on doors at a housing project, trying to find witnesses to the gang murder, when Debra spots an adolescent boy spray-painting graffiti on their police car.

    Outraged, she calls out, he runs, and she chases after him.

    The chase takes them through the housing project, and she eventually catches him on the front lawn of an apartment house, where she pins him to the ground and sits on him.

    When he curses her out, Debra (who is still suffering from shock after almost becoming a victim of the Ice Truck Killer) grabs her gun and points it at the kid. who begs her not to kill him. Angel, who has been lagging behind in the chase, arrives on the scene in time to call a halt to it.

    Debra gets off the kid, and it's clear that she realizes she overreacted.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. Two different locations, a half mile apart, one a public housing project, the other the lawn of an apartment house..

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The first location, where the chase begins, is the same Rancho San Pedro housing project where the gang murder scene was filmed - but in a different spot in that project.

    The second location is the front lawn of an apartment building, half a mile away.

    The scene opens with a view (looking southwest) of Angel & Debra walking away from a door. This was shot in the housing project quad surrounded by Santa Cruz on the north, W. 1st St. on the south, Beacon St on the east and Palos Verdes St on the west (in San Pedro, of course). They walk east along the sidewalk, crossing the north edge of that quad, then they knock on the door of the apartment at the north end of the east/middle building. The woman inside won't cooperate.

    They then walk around the north side of this east building, and Deb looks east around the corner, out to where Deb sees the kid spray painting their police car.

    The kid (and the car) is on the west side of Beacon Street, and the wall behind him is across on the east side of Beacon Street. (In real life, that wall surrounds a lot where small boats are currently stored, at 111 N. Harbor Blvd.)

    (You can see the port's tall freight elevators behind the kid. Those elevators are actually about a third of a mile to the east, across Harbor Blvd, across a large parking lot, and across the harbor channel, on Terminal Island.)

    Deb gets mad and chases the kid.  He runs off towards the south.

    The scene then fakes it a bit, and cuts back to the northeast corner of that same quad, as the two chase the kid.

    (You can see a tall, brown building (not part of the project) behind Angel's head as he rounds a corner.  That building is located at the northwest corner of Beacon & Santa Cruz, at 201 N. Beacon).

    Debra then chases him east to west, past the outer building at the south end of the quad.

    After a little more chasing around this quad, she grabs the kid, but then they pull the old switcheroo. As she grabs him, they cut to a new location a half mile away (to the northwest). The grass lawn where Deb pins him and sits on him (and threatens to shoot him) is actually located in front of an apartment house at 230 N. Grand Ave, at the southeast corner of Grand Ave & Sepulveda Street.

    The residential home you see in the background, when Deb gets off the kid, is at 241 N. Grand, the southwest corner of that same intersection. (They added a fake street sign which reads 83rd Ave.)

    That apartment house with the lawn is literally next door to (to the west of) Little Chino's gang party house, and is across the street from (southwest of) the alley where Dexter is ambushed by Chino's gang. Likewise, it's just a block from the church where Paul's funeral is held.

    In fact, you can see part of the back of this same apartment house in the night scenes showing the gang party house.

    I shot the photos below in Sept. 2008

    (The fence seen behind the young tagger, when Deb first spots him.)

    (The housing project where the chase ensues.)

    (The lawn where Deb catches & pins the young tagger.)

    [ Warning: These are private apartments.  Do not knock on their doors, trespass on their property,
    or do anything else that might disturb the residents.

    (Exercise reasonable caution around the housing project - the area has a history of gang activity]

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

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

    A. I already knew where the housing project was located (from researching the earlier gang murder scene), so for that part of the scene, it was just a matter of checking aerial photos and trying to match a few clues, such as the color of the buildings, and the location of trees, to try to figure out which quad (of many near-identical quads) was used for the chase scene. It was tricky, but I eventually nailed it down.

    Before I did that, I figured out where the kid was standing when he spray painted the car. I recognized the cargo elevators behind him, and realized the camera was looking out towards Harbor Blvd.  It was then just a matter of finding the matching wall.  The boat parked in front helped, since that wall surrounds a boat storage yard. And it turned out later, reasonably enough, that the quad they used for the chase was the same quad next to that wall...

    As for the apartment house lawn - I more or less lucked into it.  When I was researching the location of Little Chino's gang party house, and looking at aerial photos, I spotted the lawn next door and wondered if it might be the same lawn where Debra pinned the kid.  So I used Google to get a closer look, and compared the two, and sure enough...

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