location: The Red Light.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
intersection with a traffic light and a traffic camera.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
in Miami. A street sign reads "Palms Terrace".
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In the third season finale, Episode 12, "Do You Take Dexter Morgan?"
Dexter has picked up Rita's two kids (Cody & Astor) at their school and is headed home, when he notices that there is a car following him.
He assumes it's Ramon Prado, but it's not. It's the Skinner.
When they come to an intersection with a traffic light, Dexter deliberately times it so that he speeds through the intersection just as the light turns red. That forces the car following him to either stop at the light (and lose the chase) or to run the red.
The unknown driver runs the red light and has a bad crash as a result, when the car is struck hard on its passenger side by another car entering the intersection. The red-light traffic camera automatically snaps a photo of the car in the process.
Dexter watches it all in his rear-view mirror. When the kids mention it, Dexter U-turns and slowly drives back past the crash scene.
"Looks like he's OK enough to walk away," Dexter tells the kids, thinking to himself: "Until I get hold of him."
A. An intersection.
But there's no red light, no traffic camera, the street's not "Palms
Terrace" - and it's nowhere near Miami.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. This accident scene was shot at the intersection of at Lexington Avenue & Gordon Street, in Hollywood, just south of the Sunset-Gower studio where Dexter is filmed. (That's between the 1100 & 1200 block of Gordon.)
Dexter's car, and the car following him, are moving north down Gordon Street. The camera is looking south.
The car following Dexter through the intersection is struck on the passenger side by another car coming from the west on Lexington Ave.
The pink house with the tile roof and the round window (which can be seen on the right side of the scene), is located on the southwest corner Lexington & Gordon.
As you'll notice from my two photos below, there are no traffic lights at all at that intersection - just stop signs. But that's Hollywood for you. It appears that they not only installed fake traffic lights, but they also temporarily took down the stop signs for the shoot (although you can stil see the word "Stop" painted on the street). They also put up a fake street sign on Lexington reading "Palms Terrace".
If they had swung the camera around and looked north, you might have had a good view of the Hollywood Sign. (Take a look at my second photo below.)
But that wouldn't do for Miami, of course. So when they shot the U-turn scene (after the crash) north of the crash scene (around 1250 Gordon), just south of Fountain Ave., they were careful to shoot it on a slant, and used existing trees to block out the view of the Hollywood Sign.
It's not far from several
other Dexter locations: the home of Wendell Owens.,
the hooker motel, Ramon Prado's
house, the kids' school, and the
tailor shop where Dexter was later
grabbed by the Skinner.
(I shot the photos below in 2009)
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. This could have been very difficult. I assumed that the traffic camera was fake, and I thought the traffic lights might be fake as well, but I couldn't be sure.
But once I tracked
down the location of the school (where the
chase begins), I thought there was a good chance that the intersection
might be nearby. So I studied the scene and drew a quick sketch of
the intersection, with a few landmarks to look for, such as the pink house
on the corner (the one with the red tile roof, and that small round window
near its peak), and a slighly unusual crosswalk patttern. Then I began
checking the intersections near the school, using Live Local maps
to look for those items. It took a while, but it turned out to be right
around the corner from the school. Google StreetView
came in very handy to verify it. Then I just headed down there in person
later to shoot the matching photos...
Dexter screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Showtime.
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