Dexter Filming Locations: The Tooth Fairy's Bus Stop

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

The location: The Tooth Fairy's Bus Stop

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

    A. A bus stop.

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

    A. At 321 Alatka Street, in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 3, of Season 6, "Smokey and the Bandit".

    Dexter had earlier dropped off Walter Kenny ("The Tooth Fairy") at his storage facility.

    So Dexter is somewhat surprised (as he drives his car at night, thinking about how he's going to kill Walter) to suddenly get a call from him.

    The old man has worked himself into a frenzy.  He tells Dexter that he's lost, that he got off the bus at the wrong stop, and doesn't know where he is.

    Dexter is pleased that his victim is making it so easy to find & kill him...

    He asks Walter what address is on the bus stop, and Water tells him it's 321 Alatka.  Dexter tells him he'll be there in 10 minutes.

    Next, we see Dexter's car pull up and pick up Walter, who expresses his gratitude.  Just when Dexter is beginning to feel a little pity for the old guy, Walter suddenly pulls a gun on him.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A street corner.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This is the northeast corner of Cowles Street and San Francisco Ave, in a rather bleak industrial corridor of west Long Beach, CA.

    Walter is standing in front a warehouse property at 899 Cowles St.

    There is no actual bus stop here - they added that.

    When the camera is behind Walter (see the top photo on this page), and you see a building with large, checkered windows, you are looking south at the side of a brick building across the street, on the south side of Cowles (its address is 1444 San Francisco Ave).

When Dexter arrives in his car, he's heading west on Cowles, with the camera looking east.

Why such an obscure location, when there are real bus stops all over town?

Since most street corners look alike, they just opted to use a corner near another location where they were already filming.  The car crash scene that follows this bus stop scene was shot just two blocks down the road from this corner.

Of course, this industrial corridor is also a slightly odd choice even for the car crash scene.  I suspect the scouts discovered the area when they were looking for a warehouse for this season's opening scene (where Dexter is "stabbed").  They filmed that stabbing scene just a short distance from both the bus stop and car crash scenes.

Speaking of the neighborhood, it's not the sort of place you'd want to visit as a tourist.  This stretch of San Francisco Ave is located between Pacific Coast Highway (to the north) and Anaheim Street (to the south).  It's the last street to the west before the Los Angeles River and the Long Beach (710) freeway.  PCH represents sort of a dividing line here: north of PCH, there's a nice residential neighborhood, but south of PCH is strictly industrial.

There is a second (earlier) bus stop scene as well, a day time scene where Dexter watches Walter get on his bus.

That short scene wasn't shot here.  Instead, they just plopped down a fake bus bench on the north side of Pacific Coast Highway, in front of the storage facility where they had filmed earlier.

    I shot the photos below in October 2011.  (The camera is looking northeast.)

    (The red X marks the spot where they set up the fake bus stop.)

    And this is the street Dexter drove down (at night) as he arrived at the bus stop.

    Here is an aerial photo of the corner. Here is a Google StreetView.
      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, and others. My thanks to all of them.

    I knew from Rick that they had filmed this bus stop scene near the car crash scene (that follows this scene), so I just StreetViewed the nearby street corners until I found one that matched what we see in the scene.  The low rock wall is one match, as is the unusual window placement on the building and the leaning tree with a missing limb that Dexter drives past.  As are the large checkered windows seen across the street.

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