News Column

Tim Grobaty: Showtime's 'Dexter' ends its gory run of Long Beach location shoots [Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)]

July 2, 2013

YellowBrix

Stick a fork in "Dexter."

Stick a kitchen knife in "Dexter." Bury a hatchet in its head. Saw off its limbs, and dump them in the ocean. It's done.

The show goes on, with its eighth and final season kicking off last weekend on Showtime, but it's a wrap for Long Beach, which has been the look and feel of the serial-killer serial killer drama/ dark comedy for its near-decade run.

We were in a bookstore over the weekend where a pair of avid readers were looking at a book about "Dexter."

"They shot a scene in that field across from Marina Pacifica," one informed the other.

It was all we could do to not become a tremendous bore and rattle off three dozen other locations in Long Beach that have been featured in the series.

Of course, hundreds of films and TV shows have used Long Beach, but no production has worked the town like "Dexter."

Throughout the eight-year run, Long Beach has mostly played Miami and its environs. The city has played Miami so often it can do it in its sleep. It's like Morgan Freeman being asked to act avuncular.

Much of Season 1 was filmed in Miami, but in that season location scouts became enamored of a Los Altos neighborhood in Long Beach with houses that required little more than pink and turquoise paint makeup to look faithfully Floridian. Filming for that initial season in 2006 took place frequently at residences on San Anseline and Chatwin avenues, with Dexter Morgan's then-girlfriend Rita's home, Dexter's childhood home and officer Angel Batista's house all filmed on the two streets just a couple of blocks apart.

Long Beach's ubiquitous palm trees, sometimes hated by local scouts because they mess up the city's chances to play thousands of other towns, were a boon for the city when it came to filming Miami- style shots, including "CSI: Miami," another frequent player here in its decadelong run.

Dexter's Long Beach locations are too many to mention here (you can find them all at the website seeing-stars.com), but they included, in addition to residences stretching from the sea to Los Cerritos, Shoreline Village, Mothers Beach, Schooner or Later, Yankee Doodles, El Dorado Park, the Colorado Lagoon, Queensway Bay - - pretty much the entire beachfront and local waterways. Dexter's boat "Slice of Life" was seen all over the local marinas ("Slice" was the code word on the yellow signs that directed crews to each date's shoot).

A couple of weeks ago, the season shot its final scenes, including the series capper, at Alfredo's Kayak Cafe, which gets a lot of play this season as Batista's waterfront restaurant Papa's.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: "Veronica Mars," the feature film based on the TV series based on the young-adult novel, will feature several location filmed in Long Beach, including an undisclosed residence in town which will play Mars' home. Scenes were filmed at Alamitos Bay last week and will continue at other locations next week.

"I'd tell you where, but the fans are a lot more avid than I thought," said Our Man in Hollywood. The avidity is clear, with the show's followers popping for more than $5.7 million dollars toward the film project on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.

Finally, the upcoming FX series "The Bridge" will film on the Queensway Bridge for the days at the end of next week, with addition scenes to be shot at Sunnyside Cemetery.

tim.grobaty@presstelegram.com 562-714-2116.

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