location: Front Lawn of Dexter's Apartment
We're talking about
the front lawn here, but the scene involves a mix of that lawn, his
apartment house, and his apartment interior.
Dexter's original Miami apartment house was the Bay Harbor Club condos, located at 1155 103rd Street, out on Bay Harbor Island, in Miami Beach, Florida. (An appropriate location, considering that he was the "Bay Harbor Butcher"...)
But after shooting a few initial scenes in Miami for the first few episodes, the producers built a replica of the interior of his apartment, at their Hollywood studios - complete with accurate (fake) views of the outside when he opens the door. The set also includes a replica of the front door exterior and the walkway outside.
Up until this 7th Season, they
have always used a combination of that old footage of the real apartment
house in Miami (for establishing shots), and that studio set at Sunset-Gower studios in Hollywood, CA.
For this season, however, they wanted to
do a scene outside on his front lawn. They had sent a film crew to
Miami before the season started, to capture some fresh views of that
apartment exterior (as well as other Miami locales), but apparently the
stars didn't come along.
So, for the front lawn scene, they simply used the front lawn of an apartment house near the studio, named the Carlton Park Apartments. The address is 5916 Carlton Way, in Hollywood, CA.
That's just west of Bronson, basically one long block northeast of Sunset-Gower studio.
Which, I'm sure, was one of the
main reasons they chose the locale. I suspect that the aqua-green
coloring on the gates (which somewhat matches Dexter's original
apartment) also entered into the choice, along with the front lawn and
those big palm trees.
Otherwise, the apartment house bears little resemblance to the Miami condos. But it was a dark night scene, and mostly close-ups; all you really ever see of it is the gate, the lawn and the sidewalk, so it passed the test.
UPDATE: In the 8th season, they returned to this apartment building for two new scenes, for the 7th episode ("Dress Code").
again, it was playing the role of Dexter's apartment house, but this
time they included the open carport/garage on the the west side of the
apartment complex (at 5922 Carlton).
In the first
scene, Debra plants a GPS tracking device (that she borrowed from
Elway) under Dexter's car, and is almost caught in the act by Cassie.
She explains that she's Dexter's sister, and the two have a brief
conversation about him.
In the second
scene, Dexter comes out of his apartment and heads to his car. He
is suddenly assaulted in the carport by three thugs dressed in black,
who beat up Dexter and leave him lying next to the trash, in a narrow
alleyway on the west side of the garage. They were apparently sent
by Hannah's jealous new husband, Miles Castner, because Miles found out
that Dexter met Hannah at her old greenhouse.
Here is a Google StreetView of the apartments, showing the gate & lawn seen in the scene:
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
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