location: The Supermarket.
What is it supposed to be on the show?
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 3 (of season 3), "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".
Dexter and Rita are out grocery shopping with Rita's kids, when Dexter notices a stranger talking to Rita's daughter, Astor. He recognizes him as a predator, and quickly breaks up the conversation.
When they are back out in the market's parking lot, Dexter sees the guy at his car, and writes down his license plate number (4QLPR7), just in case.
Later, when Dexter, Rita and the kids are at the beach, Dexter spots the same man, watching from a distance and shooting photos of Rita's kids.
Using his license plate number, and the police computers, Dexter investigates the man, and finds he is Nathan Marten, and has a criminal record as a child molester.
Later, he meets with Marten at a boardwalk restaurant, where he tells him that he knows what he's up to, and warns him to stay far away.
The guy doesn't listen. When Dexter sneaks into Marten's home and checks his computer, he finds more photos of Rita's kids, proof that he is stalking Astor.
So Dexter kills him.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. A supermarket - but not in Miami.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. In real life, it is a Top Value Market, at 421 Pacific Avenue, in Long Beach, CA.
That faces north, on the south side of 5th Street, at the southwest corner of Pacific and 5th St.
The parking lot we see later is in front, to the north of the store.
Be warned that this is a slightly scruffy
part of town, so exercise reasonable caution if you visit.
I shot the photo below in 2009
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. I noticed in the scene that the store seemed to carry a large number of Mexican products, such as Bimbo brand bread. So at first, I tried finding a listing of local stores carrying that brand. That didn't work.
So I moved on to another strategy. In the scene outside the store, in the parking lot (where Dexter jots down the predator's license plate), I could see what appeared to be one of the Long Beach's Blue-Line light-rail stations in the background, and a tall building behind it. The problem was which light-rail station? It turns out that Long Beach has a lot of them.
I did the necessary legwork - metaphorically speaking, of course. I
went to Live Local's aerial photos and followed the train tracks
throughout the city, looking at each station and trying to match the building
that can be seen behind that station. Google StreetView came in
handy for those comparison peeks. I spent a long time doing this,
and finally found the right one, with the matching building and, sure enough,
the supermarket right across the street. But I was surprised to find that
it was right next to the donut shop, that
I already knew about...
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