"Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like for everything inside me that's denied and unknown to be revealed. But I'll never know. I live my life in hiding. My survival depends on it." ~Dexter ("Born Free")
Unbeknownst to most all but his victims, Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher, an elusive Miami serial killer who targets and kills other murderers. His detailed method of killing allows him to avoid the justice system by getting rid of any potential evidence (including the body itself) with the use of stream currents that flow north into the Atlantic Ocean.
The irony of Dexter's life is that he works closely and affably with homicide detectives and a forensic specialist. Dexter, himself a blood spatter analyst, collects, processes, and interprets evidence for the Miami Metro Police Department. He often uses his ability to access police databases and tamper with evidence to his personal advantage.
By survival, Dexter Morgan is the most successful serial killer in the series.
The Bay Harbor Butcher
Main article: The Bay Harbor Butcher.
From an early age, Dexter showed signs of psychopathic tendencies (killing and dismembering animals) and his adoptive father, Harry, (a homicide detective) realized that Dexter was a potential serial killer. After attempts to curb Dexter's violent behavior failed, Harry concluded that Dexter's need to kill could not be suppressed--only focused. Making the best out of a bad situation, Harry decided to train Dexter as a vigilante, to solely hunt and kill other murderers (arguably making society safer). To avoid arrest, Dexter follows a set of guidelines, The Code of Harry.
Dexter generally disposes of his victims by dismembering them, putting the parts into black trash bags, and dropping the bags off his fishing boat. During Season Two, scuba divers discover the bodies of eighteen of his victims. Due to the location where the bodies are found and because they were cut into pieces, the media labeled the unknown killer the Bay Harbor Butcher - a moniker hated by Dexter.
Face and Hair
Dexter is presented as a handsome, white male in his mid-30's with auburn hair, hazel eyes, and a few beauty marks. His hair length varies slightly during the series. It is the shortest in Season One and the longest in Seasons Two, Three, and Four. Dexter usually has a "5-o'clock shadow" beard, although in the title sequence ("Morning Routine") from Episode Two onward, he's shown shaving his neck - with a drop of blood falling into the washbasin.
Build and Fitness
Dexter is 5'11", approximately 175 pounds, physically fit, and maintains an exercise routine. He is shown, periodically, running on a treadmill, using a stationary bike, jogging in the streets, swimming, and working out in a gym. Keeping himself in shape is important for two reasons. He must maintain the facade that he is an everyday guy, and he must be able to overpower his victims. Furthermore, Dexter's death-dealing activities require a lot of dragging, heavy lifting, and occasionally the chasing of someone (e.g. Lumen Pierce, Lance Robinson).
Dexter has four scars. Under his arm on his left side is a long scar, which he received in childhood. From being shot by Doakes, Dexter has a scar on his left leg. Jimenez gave Dexter a scar on his upper right arm when he slashed it outside the bowling alley. He also has a scar caused by Lumen near his left shoulder.
Dexter, both in the novels and in the television show, is partial to the Cuban style of khakis or light-colored linen trousers, and rayon or linen guayabera-style shirts. He also wears polo shirts, t-shirts, jeans, athletic pants, and shorts. For work, he generally wears a collared, button-down shirt and often a lab coat. Boat shoes are his preferred footwear.
When stalking a target, Dexter wears a military-inspired green (the manufacturer calls it "Army Green") 4-button Henley. He also wears brown cargo pants and boots that resemble WWII paratrooper jump boots. To avoid leaving fingerprints, Dexter uses latex gloves or black leather tactical gloves.
Dexter's kill attire consists of coveralls and a dark-colored bib apron, probably made of thick vinyl. He usually wears a plastic face shield when using a power tool. He also wears sleeve guards, shoe covers, disposable gloves, and waterproof boots that match his apron. This suggests that he has his own PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Often, it appears as if he wears his Hunting Outfit beneath his PPE. At times, he has to improvise.
When creating crime scenes in his lab or working at bloody murder scenes ("Seeing Red"), Dexter wears disposable clothing. This includes coveralls with a hood, gloves, shoe covers (sometimes, boots), face shields, masks, and goggles. It should be noted that some of these items are the same or similar to his Kill Attire.
"My name is Dexter. Dexter Morgan. I don't know what made me the way I am, but whatever it was left a... hollow place inside. People fake a lot of human interactions, but I feel like I fake them all and I fake them very well. And that's my burden, I guess."
One of Dexter's most important traits is his need for control - of himself and others. In order to survive, it is vital that he restrain his dark urges and follow the rules of Code. Also, he is very organized in all areas of his life. He keeps his home clean and neat, writes meticulous lab reports, and carefully plans most of his kills. Dexter admittedly calls himself a "control freak."
Another trait of Dexter is his sense of superiority. Because he follows a code, he believes that he has higher moral values than the killers that he kills. He justifies his actions as "taking out the trash."
Dexter can be charming but he is a practiced liar and, in most cases, viewers should place more trust in his thoughts than in his words. Even Hannah called Dexter a "master manipulator."
Often, he engages in pre-murder conversations with his victims. With them, he can share the truth about who he is and know that they'll take his secret to their watery graves.
Except for anger, Dexter's emotional responses are usually part of a well-rehearsed act. In Season Two, he tells James Doakes that he only has a "small conscience" and that his feelings can't be played on because he doesn't have any ("There's Something About Harry").
Dexter frequently references his internal feeling of emptiness. In his youth, this lead to attempts to "feel alive." (This is shown more in the show than in the books). As an adult, he enjoys the rush he feels when stalking, killing, and evading capture.
For many years, Dexter lived alone, had no interest in romance, and thought it best to avoid sex. He had learned to be wary of intimacy because usually when a woman gets that close to him, she is scared off. But he knew that he needs a relationship to help blend into society. So, for that reason, he starts to date Rita (an abused woman). At first, he considers his relationship with Rita to be part of his "disguise." Later, it appears that he cares more for Rita than he admits. Dexter eventually marries Rita (after she becomes pregnant with his son, Harrison) (In the novels, Dexter has a biological daughter, Lily, instead of a son.)
In his narration, Dexter often refers to "humans" as if he is not one of them. But there are a chinks in Dexter's emotional armor. He acknowledges loyalty to his family, particularly to his dead, adoptive father. Regarding him, Dexter stated, "If I were capable of love, how I would have loved Harry." After Harry's death, Dexter's only family (until he marries) is his adoptive sister, Debra Morgan. In one episode, Dexter comically repeats in his head "I will not kill my sister" (as she regularly leaves his apartment a mess while living with him). However, Dexter didn't allow his own brother, Brian, to harm Debra, as Dexter was "fond of her."
Although Dexter ruthlessly and ritualistically kills murderers with no remorse, he often wishes that he could just lead a normal life. His attempts to do this prove fruitless in the end.
”Am I evil? Am I good? I'm done asking those questions. I don't have the answers. Does anyone?” ~Dexter ("The British Invasion")
Dexter is portrayed as highly intelligent, introspective, pragmatic, calculating, relentless, generally fearless, and a "master of compartmentalization." He enjoys challenges, has a dry sense of humor, and is aware of his human defects.
Main article: Dexter Morgan / Early Life
Dexter was born Dexter Moser on February 1, 1971 (three years after Brian Moser) to parents Laura Moser and Joseph Driscoll. On Wednesday October 3, 1973, Laura, her two sons, as well as three drug users were herded into a shipping container. The boys watched as their mother and the others were brutally murdered by chainsaw. Dexter and Brian sat in their blood for two days before they were rescued, and the traumatic event forever changed both of them. While Brian was institutionalized, Dexter was taken in by the Morgan family and legally adopted. His adoptive family members are Debra (sister), Doris (mother) and Harry (the homicide detective who found him sitting in blood). Dexter grew up unaware of Brian's existence.
Dexter's murderous urges took shape well before adolescence and it was his adoptive sister, Debra, who saw the signs first, but she didn't realize what it meant. Dexter had taken apart each of her dolls - a harbinger of human dismemberment. (per Early Cuts)
One day, while on the family boat, Harry asked Dexter if he's "different." He told Dexter that he'd found the grave of the neighbor's missing dog, Buddy, along with a lot of other bones. Harry asked Dexter if he ever wanted to kill something bigger than a dog, like a person. Dexter admitted that he had, but no one in particular. When asked, "Why didn't you?", Dexter replied that he thought that his father and mother "wouldn't like it." ("Dexter")
When Dexter was 19-years-old, Harry fell ill of coronary heart disease and was confined to a hospital. Harry soon realized that a nurse, Mary, was purposefully overdosing people. On the verge of death from Mary's actions, Harry gave Dexter his "permission" to kill her. This would be Dexter's first human kill ("Popping Cherry"). A year later, Harry walked in on Dexter dismembering Juan Rinez and he vomited.
Religious Points of View
"If I believed in God, if I believed in Sin, this is the place where I would be sucked straight to Hell. If I believed in Hell..." ~Dexter ("Waiting to Exhale")
Dexter doesn't understand religion. He personally never believed in a higher power, apart from the guidance from his father, Harry Morgan. Throughout the seasons, he hinted at being atheist, although he had no problem with those who followed religion.
In Season Six, he clarified that his belief was mainly in science. The season's focus on religion introduced him to various characters, from Brother Sam to Travis Marshall. After pressure from Angel and Debra, he decided to pass religious belief on to Harrison (his son). Dexter's faith was tested on multiple occasions, yet he never called out to a spiritual deity for assistance. He found his own way out of bad situations. The exception was when he was faced with a predicament that he couldn't fix alone--Harrison in surgery for a ruptured appendix. Twice during this situation, Dexter prayed to God. Deeply worried, he promised that he'd do anything if Harrison would be okay. He wasn't sure if he really believed in a higher being but, for the moment, he just wanted his son to survive. After news of his son's successful recovery, he said "Thank God," which Brother Sam heard.
Season Six events brought spirituality into Dexter's life. Deciding that his son would benefit from a structured lifestyle, he enrolled Harrison in Catholic school. As Dexter sought to understand religious values, he encountered one who knew little (Joe Walker); one who was an obsessed End Times expert (Professor Gellar); one, a killer, who was trapped between his beliefs and his own personality (Travis Marshall); and one who "found" God but was a normal, functional man (Brother Sam). In the end, Dexter didn't believe in a high power. After Brother Sam's death, he claimed that religion was useless for his "dark passenger." In Season 8, he stated, "I don't believe in miracles."
The Urge to Kill
“Tonight's the night. And it's going to happen again, and again. It has to happen. Nice night.” ~Dexter ("Dexter")
Dexter's need to kill stems from an early life incident. At age three, he witnessed his mother's brutal murder by chainsaw inside a cargo container. He was then left sitting in blood for two days. The traumatic incident caused something inside of Dexter to "change" and he was reborn as a killer.
Dexter's urge to kill is strong and needs to be satisfied nearly monthly. He continually hunts for prey to place on his table. Then he takes his time to thoroughly enjoy his ritual. If he doesn't kill for a duration of time, he becomes unstable, with his personality representing "withdrawal syndrome.
The Dark Passenger
- Main article: Dark Passenger
"I just know there's something dark in me. I hide it. I certainly don't talk about it. But it's there. Always. This ‘Dark Passenger.’ And when he's driving, I feel...alive. Half sick with the thrill of complete wrongness. I don't fight him. I don't want to." ~Dexter
An important aspect of Dexter is his Dark Passenger, a psychological manifestation of his inner-thinking that represents his urge to kill. It is a level of 'darkness' that he can only keep at bay with a high degree of control. For many years, Dexter believes that his ‘Dark Passenger’ is an actual 'entity.' Eventually, he views the ‘Dark Passenger’ as a scapegoat that he blames for his actions. At times, Dexter has thought that other murderers also have ‘Dark Passengers.
The Code of Harry
Main article: The Code of Harry
“Without the ‘Code of Harry,’ I’m sure I would’ve committed a senseless murder in my youth just to watch the blood flow.” ~Dexter
“My code requires a higher standard of proof than your city’s laws, at zero cost to the taxpayer. If you ask me, I’m a bargain.” ~Dexter
Dexter's adoptive father, Harry Morgan (with the guidance of Evelyn Vogel) trained Dexter to control his homicidal urges and to channel them away from innocent people. The Code of Harry allowed Dexter to kill other killers and helped him to avoid arrest.
- Don't get caught!
- Never kill an innocent. Be certain that the target is a killer.
- Victims must be killers who have evaded the justice system.
- Killing must serve a purpose, otherwise it's just plain murder.
- Blend in socially. Maintain appearances.
- Fake emotions and normality.
- Control urges to kill and channel them.
- Be prepared. Leave no traces or evidence.
- Never make a scene. Stay calm and collected.
- Don't make things personal because it clouds judgment.
Main article: Dexter's modus operandi
”I prefer a stalk-and-ambush approach. My instincts are impeccable, but I have to be sure of my prey." ~Dexter ("Popping Cherry")
Dexter's preferred modus operandi but he improvises as needed:
- Select a victim (suspected murderer).
- Stalk (learn routine, gather evidence).
- Confirm that the target meets the Code.
- Prepare a Kill Room.
- Capture the target.
- Collect a blood trophy.
- Conduct his Kill Ritual.
- Dismember the body.
- Leave no evidence.
- Dispose of remains from his boat.
Main article: Blood Slide Boxes.
”Some gangs earn teardrops of blood by killing. I understand, we all need our keepsakes. One man’s tattoos are another man’s blood slides.” ~Dexter
Dexter usually collects a blood slide as a trophy during a planned kill. Hie slices a victim’s cheek with a surgical scalpel and places a drop of blood between two microscope slides. He keeps his blood slides inside a specialized Blood Slide Box.
Dexter was in the top of his class in medical school and, subsequently, earned a degree in forensic science. His formal education included courses in biology, anatomy, chemistry, and mathematics. Additionally, he demonstrates knowledge on various topics, including history, anthropology, psychology, botany, philosophy, architecture, sociology, economics, religious lore, art, literature, law, and criminology. Dexter possesses a large English vocabulary and speaks some Spanish, but he never exhibits fluency in other languages.
Lawyer: "Please state your name and occupation."
Dexter: "My name is Dexter Morgan and I'm a forensics specialist in blood-spatter analysis for the Miami Metro Police Department."
Lawyer: "And how long have you been doing blood-spatter analysis, Mr. Morgan?"
Dexter: "Almost twelve years."
Lawyer: "You've been involved in quite a few cases then?"
Dexter: "Two thousand one hundred and three".
Lawyer: *Chuckle* "Give or take..."
Dexter: "No. Two thousand, one hundred and three."
Lawyer: "Then it's safe to say that blood is your life?"
Dexter: "Safe to say."
Prior to Season One, Dexter Morgan spent almost twelve years employed as the only known blood-spatter analyst in the Miami Metro Homicide Dept. He's a well-respected and model co-worker (reliable, efficient, friendly). The person that he works the closest with, Vince Masuka, covers the remainder of forensics although Dexter does often help him with non-blood related forensics (fingerprints, fiber, hair, and bullets). Dexter also serves as an expert witness in court proceedings and is certified to photograph crime scenes.
Dexter has a precise knowledge of his work field and, thanks to his interest in blood, he proficiently solves criminal cases. To Dexter, "The blood doesn't lie." Both Dexter's personal and professional lives revolve around blood.
At times, suspects involved in cases fly into his radar and match the Code. Then he will tamper with evidence to ensure that they go free so that he can claim their lives. Also, he tampers with evidence for other reasons. In one such instance, he altered evidence to ensure that Detective Joey Quinn didn't take the fall for Stan Liddy's death.
Because of his many years in his line of work and the tragedy of his wife's murder, Dexter became well known locally. Even Jordan Chase, a motivational speaker, had heard of and (unfortunately) became interested in him. When Dexter attended his high school reunion, most of his classmates admired his "cool job." The exception was sports-store-owner, Joe Walker, who became a bit jealous, due to the attention that Dexter received and began to enjoy.
Sergeant Doakes found it curious that Dexter would "settle" for blood spatter work, a job he considered beneath Dexter's abilities. He also questioned why a "lab geek" had studied advanced jujitsu in college. Detective Mike Anderson judged Dexter to be an exceptionally good deductive analyst and wondered how a "pro" like him could stand working with "Miami Homicide chuckleheads."
Skills And Abilities
"A wolf would chew off its own paw; its survival instinct is that fierce. So is mine." ~Dexter ("Do You Take Dexter Morgan?")
Dexter is a force to be reckoned with.
To supplement his forensic expertise, Dexter mastered a wide array of skills. He's portrayed as a master manipulator, practiced liar, lock picker, burglar, marksman, hunter and tracker, hand-to-hand combatant, actor, computer hacker, and impersonator. These abilities proved necessary to maintain his double life, carry out his nightly activities, and keep one step ahead of the very Department in which he worked. His high level of physical fitness was a requirement for his survival and of utmost benefit in following the first rule of the Code - "Don't get caught."
Dexter's cardio was a major factor in his personal upkeep. In the event that he had to chase down a target, he needed to keep up without tiring. If in a fight, he had to endure hits and return them with ease. And having enough energy while chasing, subduing, transferring, and disposing of victims was a necessity. Regarding his cardio, he said, "The voices in my head get quieter until it's just me, my breath, and my feet on the sand." During the series, Dexter was shown swimming, jogging, running on a treadmill, using an exercise bike, and rowing on a gym's machine. Considering his muscle size and abdominal shape, it was apparent that he incorporated crunches, weight lifting, and push-ups into his exercise regimen.
His physical strength is also quite impressive; only a few of the series' antagonists, including Little Chino and Ray Speltzer, have been able to overpower him. Dexter has overpowered (in no particular order) Trinity, the Ice Truck Killer, Louis Greene, George Washington King, Jonah Mitchell, Jordan Chase, Oscar Prado, Miguel Prado, James Doakes (twice), Joey Quinn, and more. Additionally, he can lift and carry large adult men with ease, showing little sign of strain. He has proven capable of lifting a full grown man (Louis Greene) off of the ground by the neck, although with two hands.
In his college years, Dexter studied advanced Jujitsu techniques to aid in learning how to fight opponents. Through years of experience (and likely a few close calls), he became a master at hand-to-hand CQC (close-quarters-combat) and, on more than one occasion, he was able to out-maneuver and defeat other experienced combatants. For the most part, his training in Jujitsu allowed him to quickly subdue targets with just a few simple movements, which mostly culminated in a rear naked choke hold. (This technique cuts off blood flow to the brain via the carotid arteries and causes temporary unconsciousness in just a few seconds). While not often, Dexter snapped necks, particularly if the situation called for a quick execution. If his opponents had weapons, he was able to disarm them before they caused any real damage.
While capable of taking on opponents, Dexter never rushed a battle to leave room for his own mistakes - unless he really needed to do so out of desperation. For instance, a handcuffed Dexter did decide to start fighting Doakes right away when the latter held him at gunpoint. Another example would be the time that a hit man held him at gunpoint and Dexter quickly cut his throat. Dexter's style often relied on counter-offense. He would allow his opponents to strike first in order to expose a weak or blind spot and then immediately take advantage of them (as with Joe Walker or Travis Marshall). In most instances, he adopted stealth and sneak attacks, as opposed to direct confrontation. He often stalked his victims from the shadows and disposed of them with minimal effort due to quiet steps and quick movements. He took advantage of any opportunity that presented itself, including the use of the surrounding environment. The following situations are examples of when Dexter used strategic thinking:
- Zoey Kruger. Usually, Dexter never allowed a fight to last longer than thirty seconds or so. This was to ensure that his victim had little to no chance of turning the tide of battle in their favor. Dexter preferred to use his animal tranquilizer (also known as M99) to disable his opponent so that he could strap them onto his table. However, when he didn't have his M99 or if he was challenged while carrying it, he had to rely on his strategic thinking. For instance, when Zoey Kruger attacked him, it resulted in him putting the M99 in his mouth and fighting Zoey until he had her in a position where he could inject the M99.
- Jordan Chase. An excellent example of Dexter's strategic thinking would be when Jordan Chase was able to hold both him and Lumen captive at his camp. Dexter was able to stab Jordan in the right foot with the 'missing knife' that he held in his pocket. This is a definite indication that Dexter was constantly preparing himself for any situation that could have the potential to escalate. It can safely be presumed that Dexter knew that Jordan had the potential to be cocky and, thus, Jordan would ignore the possibility that he could get harmed.
- Oliver Saxon. Another good example of Dexter's intelligence would be when he confronted Oliver Saxon in a jail cell. Dexter and Oliver both sat across from each other at a table, upon which Dexter placed a pen. Oliver quickly used the pen to pierce Dexter's shoulder, but Dexter pulled it out and killed Oliver by stabbing him in the throat with it. Miami Metro Police then replayed security footage of the incident, but they let Dexter off as the murder appeared to be in self-defense with no forethought from Dexter. This is an example of Dexter being able to look innocent to the people around him, but at the cost of an injury to his arm.
- James Doakes. Dexter was also very good at manipulating situations and setting people up. When Doakes started to go after him, Dexter's initial response was to make Doakes look inept. At a crime scene, Dexter first gave Doakes incorrect information regarding the homicide of a young woman, which caused Doakes to arrest a completely innocent man. Dexter then put a lab report on Doakes' desk, telling LaGuerta that he had delivered it to him the previous day (which he did not), making it look as though Doakes was deliberately interrogating an innocent person. This caused LaGuerta to harshly question Doakes' judgement. Dexter then headbutted Doakes in the privacy of his lab and quickly walked out to the main office area in front of his co-workers. Enraged, Doakes chased after him and attacked him publicly, while Dexter feigned helplessness and fear, causing LaGuerta to suspend Doakes on the spot.
- Louis Greene. Years later, when Louis started to harass Dexter by sending him Brian's Prosthetic Arm and cancelling his credit cards, Dexter arranged for Louis to get fired as well as causing his girlfriend to break up with him, all while Dexter appeared to be completely innocent.
- Maria LaGuerta. Dexter also successfully setup LaGuerta by making it appear as though she tried to frame him for the murder of Hector Estrada. This put her job in jeopardy.
Methods of Capture
See: M99 Tranquilizer article: Etorphine
Dexter, while he mostly used sleeper holds or M99 tranquilizer in the TV Series, had a different method of capture in the books. Dexter would buy 50-pound-test-nylon-fishing line and strangle his victims into unconsciousness with a tactic known as garroting. Usually, he either casually walked up to his victims and throttled them quickly, or he hid in their cars and waited for them to sit down in the front seat, at which point he would strike. He then told them to drive him to the site where he planned to kill them. Dexter was also seen doing this in the TV Series.
Dexter Morgan, who is rarely seen handling guns, uses a two-tone Heckler & Koch USP (Left Turn Ahead) taken from the corpse of cocaine dealer Esteban Famosa to shoot and kill Esteban's brother, Teo, in the only shooting death caused by Dexter.
In Dexter's early days, he underwent extensive gun-training from his father, Harry. In flashbacks, Dexter can be seen at a gun range making accurate shots with various weapons. In addition, he hunted with rifles and was capable of hitting a deer quite easily.
While Dexter prefers not to use firearms in his adult years, he is still a proficient marksman that can fire a handgun with precision. One of his witnessed uses of a handgun in his adult life was the time that Esteban and Teo Famosa held Sergeant James Doakes as a hostage at the cabin.
After Dexter snapped Esteban's neck, he worked with Doakes and, using Esteban's gun, he fired a shot that pierced Teo's heart. Another notable instance of Dexter's marksmanship was during his road trip to Nebraska. Using his left hand, Dexter fired a bullet between the eyes of a cartoon figure on a billboard, while he drove the automobile at about 100 miles per hour.
Following his difficult struggle with Mary, Dexter knew that if he couldn't easily subdue someone like her, he would find it extremely difficult to take on stronger foes. To succeed as a serial killer and to avoid putting his own life on the line, Dexter became skilled in jujitsu (which he studied in college) and other fighting and grappling techniques. The following is a list of situations in which Dexter was forced to subdue a victim or opponent outside of his regular stealthy approach:
- Emmett Meridian. Dexter used a sleeper hold on Meridian as he attempted to walk away, causing Meridian to lose consciousness in a matter of seconds. ("Shrink Wrap")
- Sergeant James Doakes (ex-United States Army Special Forces soldier). The first real sign of Dexter's Jujitsu training was in a small confrontation with Doakes at the Shipping Yard, where Dexter is tracking a theory on where Rudy Cooper could have taken his sister, Debra. When Dexter sarcastically lied to Doakes about why he was in the shipping yard, Doakes punched him squarely in the gut and readied himself to throw another right-hand punch, only to have Dexter dodge out of the way and grab Doakes' wrist. Dexter aligned himself so that Doakes' right arm was outstretched across his own chest, and his free hand was positioned in a choke-hold around Doakes' neck. Doakes tried to use his left hand to pull off Dexter's grip, but was not successful. The two went flying back against the shipping container as Dexter began to tighten his hold, rendering Doakes immobile. A nearby worker forced the two to break up the fight. This was the first clear sign that Dexter was capable of handling others by using his quick reflexes and agility to turn an offense into a weakness. It demonstrated Dexter's ability to manipulate the bodies of others so that they are put in a compromising position ("Born Free"). Later, Doakes) held Dexter at gunpoint on a pier and forced him to put on handcuffs. The two ended up falling into the water and fighting in it waist-deep. Doakes managed to fire a bullet from his gun that grazed Dexter's thigh but Dexter, even with a gunshot wound to his leg, managed to overpower and subdue Doakes by placing him in a choke-hold ("Resistance Is Futile").
- Brian Moser. Dexter's older brother, attempted to separate his younger sibling from his bonds to his adoptive family by killing Debra Morgan. He gave a knife to Dexter and tried to make him do it willingly but, when Dexter hesitated, Brian took the blade back and thrust it down in Debra's direction. Dexter quickly grabbed Brian's wrist and stopped his arm in motion. Using his momentum, Dexter pushed Brian back and slammed Brian's hand against the wall to force the knife out of his grip. However, Brian took the upper hand by elbow-locking his brother's head and kneeing him in the face. Brian then threw Dexter to the floor and escaped. Dexter lost his advantage in this struggle (a rare occasion for Dexter) likely due to having been tranquilized earlier and feeling emotionally torn. ("Born Free")
- Oscar Prado. Oscar attacked Dexter with a knife for attempting to intervene when he was attacking Freebo with it. Dexter proved to be superior in combat when he shoved Oscar's own knife into his heart in self-defense. ("Our Father")
- George Washington King. He knocked out and kidnapped Dexter, planning to torture him. Dexter managed to escape by breaking his own hand in order to free himself from the rope that restrained him. Despite his broken hand, Dexter overpowered King when the latter attacked him and snapped his neck. ("Do You Take Dexter Morgan?")
- Zoey Kruger. She was a police officer who had murdered her family. Kruger found out that Dexter was looking into her case and went to his house with the intention of killing him. Dexter attempted to sneak up on her from behind, but she saw his reflection and tried to defend herself. She put up a fight but was no match for Dexter and he was able to inject her with M99.("Dex Takes a Holiday")
- Lance Robinson. He woke up after being tranquilized and placed in the trunk of Dexter's car. He began to run away, forcing Dexter to run after him. Dexter eventually caught up with him and suffocated him with plastic wrap. ("Everything is Illumenated")
- Stan Liddy. He attacked Dexter with a knife, but Dexter proved to be superior in combat as he managed to get on top of Liddy and thrust the knife into his heart. ("Hop a Freighter")
- Joe Walker. Walker was a professional athlete and, consequently, had impressive reflexes. He defended himself the second that Dexter attacked him, even though Dexter had been successful in sneaking up on him. When Joe took a swing at him, Dexter caught his fist and choked him until he was unconscious. ("Those Kinds of Things")
- Alberto. He proved to be no match for Dexter when the latter used a harpoon to impale him, throwing him into the ocean. ("This is the Way the World Ends")
- Andrew Briggs. He got into a fight with Dexter and tried to grab hold of a knife that was laying on a desk, but Dexter was quicker and grabbed it first. Dexter then quickly killed his opponent with it. ("A Beautiful Day")
The following are not necessarily impressive displays of his fighting abilities, though they still show him overpowering a character in one way or another.
- Jeremy Downs. When he first intended to kill Jeremy, Dexter was able to sneak up on him relatively quickly and force him against a wall with his strength. He then held Jeremy by the throat, claiming that he could snap his neck with ease. ("Let's Give the Boy a Hand")
- Paul Bennett. Due to Paul's constant meddling in his and Rita's lives, Dexter grew increasingly annoyed. When Paul persisted in irritating Dexter, it resulted in Paul being knocked out by a frying pan. ("Seeing Red")
- Oliver Saxon. He took Dexter's pen and stabbed him in the shoulder with it. Dexter then pulled the pen out and quickly killed Saxon with it.
While Dexter is usually more physically capable than his opponents, there are a few instances where he has been at ends with capturing his victim:
- Little Chino - A mountain of a man, Little Chino was taller and more muscular than anyone else in the series. He proved to be stronger than what Dexter had anticipated and broke free from his shrink wrap, while supposedly still tranquilized. If Little Chino had stayed to fight, he could have possibly killed Dexter (although Dexter would likely have used one of his many knives). ("It's Alive")
- Ray Speltzer - Ray, a bodybuilder on steroids with a psychotic attitude, escaped from Dexter's arm lock and used a nearby object to knock Dexter out. Even more unusual, Ray brought Dexter to his own version of a kill room (built like a maze where Ray becomes a Minotaur). Dexter, for once, had to escape for his life. He later repaid Ray with an ambush in a cemetery. ("Run")
"If the legal system worked as well as you say it does, I wouldn’t be so busy." ~Dexter
Despite how Stan Liddy describes Dexter as "squeaky clean on paper," he has committed many crimes, in addition to murder. All of them have something to do with his status as a serial killer.
- Unlawful Disposal of Human Bodies - usually buries his victims at sea; also, has dumped bodies in the Everglades, and burned one in a crematory.
- Breaking and Entering/Burglary - normally committed while vetting a target.
- Trespassing - normally committed while stalking a target..
- Stalking - online and offline.
- Unlawful Use of Police Database - normally committed while vetting a target.
- Arson - Burned everything in his storage unit/shipping container; set a church on fire.
- Destruction of Private Property - breaks things that annoy him or cause problems with his kill ritual.
- Abduction/Unlawful Imprisonment/Detainment - normally committed on victims.
- Intimidation - displays threatening behavior toward victims and problematic people (e.g. Mike Donovan, Louis Greene).
- Assault and Battery - normally committed on his targets.
- Unlawful Possession of Tranquilizers/Drugs - used for victims.
- Interfering with Police Investigations/Tampering with Evidence - to cover-up his crimes or to clear someone else
- Impersonation and Identity Fraud - uses aliases regularly, often illegally; possesses fake IDs.
- Theft/Grand Theft Auto - occasionally steals possessions of victims; stole a car to pursue Jordan Chase.
- Numerous Counts of (moving & stationary) Traffic Violations/Hit and Run accidents - normally committed when in pursuit of victims/people of interest.
- Falsely Pulling Fire and Security Alarms - to distract or remove people from an area.
Risks and Mistakes
- Dexter frequently answered phone calls at or near his kill sites (which could be used to pinpoint his location).
- He researched his potential victims on his work computer, both at work and home, and took few counter-measures against leaving electronic evidence.
- In Season Two, he borrowed a tranquilizer gun from the Miami Metro Police Department’s armory (under the pretense that he was having an alligator problem) and lost it to Little Chino's lackeys.
- In Season Two, he did not delete his travel history from his GPS tracking device in Rita's minivan after driving it, which resulted in Lila West being able to track him down and learn that he is the Bay Harbor Butcher.
- In Season Five, Dan Mendell, a member of the Group (of men who raped and tortured Lumen Pierce), called another member of the Group, Cole Harmon, whose identity was unknown to Dexter at the time. After killing Mendell, Dexter did not check the phone for the number Mendell called (and for other possible Group members’ numbers). This would definitely have aided him in identifying Harmon.
- In Season Eight, Dexter was viewed on A.J. Yates security cameras while breaking into his house.
Main article: Dexter's Kill List
Category page: Characters Killed By Dexter
People Who Knew His Secret
Despite Dexter's secrecy, some people became aware that he was a killer. By the end of the series, only four of those on this list were still alive. Seven of the deceased were directly murdered by Dexter.
- Harry Morgan. Dexter’s adoptive father, noticed that he was killing animals at a young age. He strongly suspected that Dexter would later become a serial killer. To protect him from being arrested, Harry began to train Dexter in ways to get away with murder. When Dexter was age 20, Harry gave him permission to kill his first victim -- a nurse who was murdering patients. However, after Harry witnessed Dexter dismembering another of his early victims, he committed suicide.
- Brian Moser: Like Dexter, Brian could easily hide his true self behind a mask of deception. He tracked down Dexter, his younger brother (the only family member he had left and the only one he felt a connection with), and discovered that he was a serial killer, much like himself. He used Dexter's methods to set up two victims for him to kill -- both of which Dexter refused to follow through. To protect Debra from him, Dexter cut Brian's throat and drained his blood.
- Sgt. James Doakes: He used his detective skills to follow evidence that pointed to Dexter being the Bay Harbor Butcher. He searched Dexter's apartment and stole his box of blood slides. However, when the FBI found the slides in his car, Doakes himself became the prime suspect. Doakes then went into hiding and tracked Dexter to a remote cabin and saw him loading bags of body parts into his boat. After a struggle, Dexter locked him in a cage while he set him up as the Butcher. As Dexter's prisoner, Doakes witnessed (through plastic sheeting) Dexter kill and dismember a drug dealer.
- Debra Morgan: She walked in on Dexter as he killed the Doomsday Killer on an alter in a church. Debra started to piece things together when she saw the similarities to her experience on the Ice Truck Killer's table when she wrapped in plastic. She then searched Dexter's apartment and discovered his blood slides and roll of knives. Debra waited in his apartment for him and asked outright if he was a serial killer. Dexter felt that he had no choice but to tell her the whole truth.
- Lumen Pierce: She accidentally watched Dexter kill Boyd Fowler in Boyd's home. Not sure what to do with her, Dexter kept her temporarily captive in a deserted tourist center. Initially fearful of Dexter, she began to trust and rely on him. Eventually, Dexter agreed to help her hunt down and eliminate members of the Group aka the Barrel Girl Gang. These were the men who had raped and tortured her. During these kills, Dexter considered her his partner. After one of these kills, they became lovers.
- Lila West: She met Dexter in a NA meeting and developed an obsession with him while she "helped" him get in touch with his feelings and deal with his non-existent heroin addiction. For awhile, they were sexually involved until Dexter broke it off. Lila found out that he was a serial killer when she followed Dexter's GPS to the remote cabin where Dexter was keeping James Doakes prisoner. Doakes told Lila that Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher and begged her to free him. Instead, Lila murdered Doakes in an explosion in order to protect Dexter's secret. Lila then tried to burn Cody and Astor alive, after which Dexter followed her to Paris and stabbed her in the heart.
- Hannah McKay: Dexter targeted Hannah after he confirmed that she had poisoned several people. He persuaded her to go on a "date" to a place where he was able to capture her. Although he had Hannah on his kill table, he didn't go through with the kill. Instead, he cut through the plastic that held her down and they engaged in spontaneous sex on the kill table. Afterward, Hannah asked Dexter why he was going to kill her and he told her that he kills "bad people." Their mutual attraction led to a relationship.
- Isaak Sirko: He figured it out on his own when he traced the last signal of Kaja Soroka's tracking bracelet to Dexter's boat, as this was the same bracelet that Viktor Baskov had with him before he disappeared. Isaak correctly assumed that Dexter had killed Viktor and dumped him in the ocean. While seeking revenge for Viktor's death, Isaak discovered that Dexter had killed many times before. This knowledge was passed on to George Novikov, Jurg Yeliashkevych, and Benjamin Caffrey.
- Captain Maria LaGuerta: When Maria found a blood slide at a crime scene, she began to re-investigate the Bay Harbor Butcher case and was determined to clear James Doakes' name. Soon, Dexter became her prime suspect as the true Butcher. Dexter concluded that Maria could not be dissuaded in her efforts to gather evidence against him. To eliminate the problem, he set up a murder scene that convinced the police that Hector Estrada and Maria had shot each other.
- ADA Miguel Prado: Right after Dexter killed Fred Bowman, Miguel saw Dexter holding a knife with blood on his hands. To see if Dexter would kill again, he presented an opportunity for him to take out a notorious wife-killer, Ethan Turner. When Ethan was reported missing, it was evident to Miguel that Dexter had killed him. After this, Miguel and Dexter began to work together, killing Galt and Fleeter. Their partnership ended badly, as Miguel went rogue and killed an innocent defense attorney and targeted another innocent, Maria LaGuerta, who was on to him. When Dexter tried to reign Miguel in, he threatened to expose Dexter. Subsequently, Miguel was garroted by Dexter and partially skinned. (Although Miguel had learned that Dexter was a serial killer, he didn't realize that Dexter was the true Bay Harbor Butcher. After all, Dexter never cut up bodies in front of Miguel, and Miguel believed that--except for Ethan--Dexter disposed of his victims in graveyards.)
- Dr. Evelyn Vogel: She knew of Dexter's urges to kill since he was ten-years-old, which is unlike most of the other characters who did not have prior knowledge. Dr. Vogel's profession was the study of psychopaths and she had known for years that Dexter was a serial killer. After reflection, Dexter decided against killing her because, not only could Vogel give him insight into the origins of his behavior, but she had helped his adoptive father, Harry Morgan, create The Code.
- Zach Hamilton: To try and stop his wealthy father's affairs which were hurting his mother, Zach killed one of the women who was involved with his father. Zach learned the truth about Dexter after he was on his kill table. As Zach was about to die, he admitted to Dexter that he felt a deep desire to kill. Dexter saw the similarities between Zach and himself. He then spared Zach's life, took him on as a protege, and taught him the Code of Harry.
- Camilla Figg: Camilla was a records supervisor for Miami-Metro PD and Dexter would often ask to borrow files of suspected murderers, causing her to be curious why he did so. She likely never realized he was murdering them, unless she made some connections during the Bay Harbor Butcher case. Because she and her husband were friends with Dexter's adoptive parents, Harry and Doris, Camilla knew Dexter since his childhood. She had read the file for the shipping yard tragedy and realized that the Ice Truck Killer was Brian Moser, Dexter's brother, but had kept it to herself. While dying of terminal cancer, she asked Dexter to put her out of her misery and referenced Harry "teaching him right." Dexter granted her request and injected an euthanizing agent into a piece of key lime pie. Before she died, Dexter whispered to her that he was the one who killed his brother. Camilla's last words were, "It's good you did."
- Stan Liddy: At the time of his death, Liddy was very suspicious of Dexter and close to discovering his secret. He had footage of Lumen and Dexter practicing a kill with knives and dumping large, black bags from his boat. Against Joey Quinn’s wishes, Liddy continued to compile evidence against Dexter. When he abducted Dexter to obtain a confession, Liddy was overpowered by Dexter and stabbed in the heart.
- Oliver Saxon hacked Dr. Evelyn Vogel’s computer and downloaded her files on Dexter. Therefore, he knew Dexter’s life history and that he was a serial killer. When Saxon met Dexter in his apartment on the pretext of having an interest in buying it, he expressed admiration that Dexter had created the perfect cover life -- son, sister, step-kids, girlfriend. Not long after, Dexter told an imprisoned Saxon that when he looked back on own his life, he saw a a trail of blood and body parts. Then, using a pen, Dexter pierced Saxon's carotid artery.
- Jonah Mitchell was only certain that Dexter had killed one person - his father, Arthur Mitchell. Dexter let him know of this while in Nebraska.
- Detective Joey Quinn tried to befriend Dexter, but he was rebuffed, which led to a strained work relationship. Over time, Quinn became increasingly curious about Dexter's behavior. Quinn wondered why Dexter had kept his apartment after he married and asked him, "What are you hiding, Dexter?" whereas Dexter told him to stay out of his life. One night, Quinn watched Dexter enter a nightclub and followed him inside. It surprised Quinn that Dexter, a "lab geek," then easily ditched him. Quinn also took notice of Dexter's unexplained comings and goings from work. During a confrontation, Dexter threw Quinn to the ground, and Quinn realized that Dexter had training in martial arts. After Rita was murdered, Quinn began to suspect that Dexter was responsible for her death because of Dexter’s unemotional call to 9-1-1, the fact that her murder didn’t quite fit Trinity’s profile, and Elliot having admitted that Dexter had punched him for kissing Rita. Quinn also noticed a similarity between the sketches of a Trinity suspect and Dexter but when he tried to question Jonah Mitchell about Dexter, he failed. After Quinn saw Dexter coming home with tactical gloves in his back pocket, he hired Stan Liddy to look into Dexter. Liddy informed Quinn that a new woman was living in Dexter’s house and presented photos of Dexter and her on a boat disposing of heavy, trash bags in the middle of the night. However, Quinn received backlash from Debra and LaGuerta for investigating Dexter so he did not further pursue his leads. When Liddy was found dead in his van, it was fairly obvious to Quinn that Dexter had killed him. In the series' finale, Quinn witnessed Dexter kill Oliver Saxon in apparent self-defense, but Quinn likely deduced that it was an intentional set-up. While Quinn probably believed that Dexter had murdered at least one or two people, he never knew the full extent of his activities.
Important Lovers"Lucky to have me? I wouldn't say so." ~Dexter
- Rita Morgan
- Lila West
- Lumen Pierce
- Hannah McKay
"[Hannah] isn't drawn to my darkness like Lila, or blind to it like Rita, and she doesn't need it like Lumen. She accepts both sides of me." ~Dexter
Main article: Debra Morgan
"My sister puts up a front so the world won't see how vulnerable she is. Me, I put up a front so the world won't see how vulnerable I'm not." ~Dexter
Next to Harry, the most influential person in Dexter's life was his adoptive sister, Debra. According to Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Debra "became a mirror, reflecting a positive image" of Dexter that he used to "balance out the notion of himself as a monster" (Scar Tissue).
In childhood, when Debra had her new dog confiscated by her father (Harry), Dexter attempted to tell her the reason why - that he kills animals. Harry, however, stopped him from doing so. After listening to Harry explain the repercussions if she knew, Dexter realized that he must keep his kills (animals, later humans) a secret from her. For the majority of Debra's lifetime, he was able to do so.
Dexter was always the most important person in Debra's life, but she didn't have access to his feelings. Debra only noticed Dexter's good qualities and loved the man that she thought he was. So when she walked in on him killing Travis, Debra was completely astonished. Thinking quickly, Dexter manipulated Debra into thinking that it was an impulsive act on his part. He even persuaded her to help him burn down the abandoned church to destroy evidence of the crime. Later, Debra discovered his trophies and kill tools in his apartment and, although Dexter tried to reason with her, he found himself rejected by her.
Eventually, Debra's mindset changed when Dexter targeted a dangerous serial killer (Ray Speltzer). She begrudgingly admitted that Dexter does prevent killers from committing further murders. But, after she felt forced by Dexter's actions to shoot an innocent woman, she became deeply enraged at him. She quit her police job, began to drink heavily, and isolated herself from her former life. However, Debra and Dexter later reconciled (through the help of Dr. Vogel) - and their bond was reestablished.
Dexter displayed his feelings for Debra after she was shot by Oliver Saxon.and ended up in a coma - from a blood clot. Recognizing a future in which Debra would never eat on her own, speak, or have normal brain activity, Dexter turned off the life-support and professed his love for her. Those would be his final words to Debra-- the ones that she had wanted to hear.
Main article: Harrison Morgan
"I want to believe that smile, that watching your mother die hasn't changed you the way that watching mine changed me." ~Dexter
Dexter, having grown up with lessons from Harry Morgan on how he could secretly kill people, decided that he did not wish to pass that kind of life onto his own son, Harrison. Therefore, Dexter hid his deadly activities and only showed Harrison his "human" side, along with letting him experience a mostly normal childhood.
Dexter's original feelings about Rita's pregnancy were mixed but he ultimately accepted that his child would come into the world. After his son was born, Dexter began to evolve into someone who could actually care about someone. He enjoyed time with his son, fed him bottles, and played with him. However, Dexter was a serial killer and he was unsure how to survive in the years to come with his new family.
Because of his interactions with another serial killer, Dexter found Rita murdered with a crying Harrison sitting in her blood. Because this was the exact same position he had been in as a child, Dexter became heavily concerned with whether Harrison would be affected like he was. Would the tragedy create a Dark Passenger in Harrison that would make him a killer?
Following his wife's death, Dexter thought that he would not be a suitable single parent and almost deserted his son. However, he accepted the responsibility and did whatever it took to provide for and protect Harrison. To all appearances, Dexter was just a regular guy. Because he was a busy single parent, Dexter hired a nanny to watch over Harrison in times when he had to work or take care of his dark urges. The first nanny was Sonya and, later, Jamie Batista (sister of Angel).
People in Dexter's life kept dying, usually for reasons related to his deadly activities. In the end, to protect the ones that he cared about, he abandoned Harrison to the care of Hannah, faked his death, and moved to an undisclosed location. It is unknown whether Dexter ever saw his son again.
Information within this plot section is the general, main events occurring within each season. For a more detailed look at each Season, refer to the article links or the tabs at the top of the page.
Dexter Morgan has settled into a steady life of ritualistic killing doubled with his life as a forensics blood spatter analyst. He is viewed by his colleagues as a lab geek. To appear normal, he dates Rita, a mother with two children (Astor and Cody) whose abusive husband is in jail. The police investigate a murder scene involving mutilated bodies, but with no blood visible. The murderer, soon to be nicknamed the "Ice Truck Killer," intrigues Dexter with this intricate methodology. The killer begins to leave Dexter personal clues in the guise of a form of friendly competition between them. The body of one of Dexter's previous female victims is found, despite Dexter's having thrown her corpse into the ocean. During a therapy session with Emmett Meridian, Dexter remembers small parts of his past - including a brief image of a boy in blood. Later, at a blood-soaked crime scene, the long-suppressed memory of a childhood trauma causes him to experience a panic attack. He will discover that it was his mother's blood he remembered sitting in and that he has a brother who was with him during the murder of their mother. When his brother abducts Debra and tries to murder her, Dexter is forced to kill him for "the safety of his sister."
Thirty-eight days have passed since Dexter killed his brother. Debra, traumatized by her ordeal with the Ice Truck Killer, moves in with Dexter. Unexpectedly, the bodies of eighteen of Dexter's victims are found in Bay Harbor. An FBI Task Force arrives to help with the investigation and Dexter takes steps to divert suspicion away from himself. Dexter changes his dumping spot from Bay Harbor to the Gulf Stream. Sgt. Doakes begins to stalk Dexter because he believes that he is connected to the Ice Truck Killer. Dexter has an opportunity to kill a blind voodoo priest but is unable to do so. He overcomes his performance issues when he eventually kills a murderer named Little Chino. Dexter discovers that one of the men who murdered his mother is still alive. To conceal that he is a serial killer, Dexter tells Rita that he has an "addiction." She forces him to attend a Narcotics Anonymous program and Dexter starts an affair with his sponsor, Lila. When Sgt. Doakes discovers Dexter's collection of blood slides, he tracks him to a cabin in the Everglades. Dexter captures Doakes and keeps him locked in a cage for nearly a week. Lila finds Doakes imprisoned in the cabin, and he tells her that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. She then ignores Doakes' pleas for help, and murders him by causing an explosive fire. When Doakes is found dead, planted evidence indicates that he is The Bay Harbor Butcher and the case is closed. Dexter follows Lila to Paris and kills her. By the end of the season, Dexter is in a good place. He has said a final goodbye to his brother, rekindled his relationship with Rita, framed the deceased Doakes for his own crimes, and escaped the justice system once again.
Dexter continues his double life as a serial killer and blood spatter analyst. Rita discovers that she is pregnant and informs Dexter that she will keep the baby. Later, Dexter ends up proposing marriage to her, and she accepts. While stalking "Freebo," Dexter kills another man in self-defense. This victim turns out to be the brother of ADA Miguel Prado. Eventually, Dexter tracks down Freebo and kills him, but he encounters Miguel at the scene. Dexter convinces Miguel that he killed Freebo in self-defense. Miguel is grateful to Dexter and agrees to help conceal his death. Dexter begins to view Miguel as a friend. Miami Metro Homicide tracks a new serial killer named the The Skinner because he partially skins his victims alive. When a pedophile targets Astor, Dexter violates his code and kills him. To test Dexter, Miguel mentions a murderer to see if Dexter will go after him. When the man goes missing, Miguel praises Dexter for killing another criminal and offers his aid in the future. They then engage in a risky operation to free an Aryan Brotherhood leader from prison. The plan succeeds, but Dexter performs the kill on his own. Their partnership takes a new step when Dexter only watches as Miguel kills their next target. The next day, a defense attorney goes missing and Dexter discovers that Miguel killed her. Dexter also learns that Miguel has been manipulating him, which infuriates him. Dexter and Miguel race to have leverage over one another. When Miguel attempts to kill Maria, Dexter captures and strangles him. He then successfully frames The Skinner for Miguel's murder. On the night before his wedding, Dexter is captured by The Skinner. However, he breaks free by fracturing his hand. After a short vicious fight, Dexter snaps The Skinner's neck and stages his suicide. While Dexter dances with Rita at their wedding reception, blood from Dexter's cast drips onto her wedding dress.
Dexter and Rita are married and live in a new house with her children, Astor and Cody, and the son they have together, Harrison. Dexter attempts to adapt to married life in suburbia but finds it difficult to maintain his double life now that he is a husband and father. He soon targets serial killer, Arthur Mitchell (The Trinity Killer). Arthur has been killing for thirty years even though he has a family. Intrigued by his ability to blend into society, Dexter puts off his decision to kill him and instead befriends him under an alias - Kyle Butler. As time passes, Dexter learns that Trinity's "normal" home life is not as perfect as it appears on the outside, with his wife and children emotionally and physically abused into obedience. Dexter ignores several chances to kill Arthur, while he prods him for information. In a heated moment, Dexter reveals his intent to kill Arthur. After that, Mitchell discovers Dexter's real identity and confronts him at Miami-Metro. Arthur threatens to destroy Dexter's life if he doesn't leave him alone and then attempts to flee the city. However, Dexter catches up with Trinity and puts him on his table. Trinity testifies that he accepts his final fate as part of God's plan. After he kills Trinity, Dexter goes home expecting to depart for his honeymoon with Rita. However he finds her dead in the bathtub - the last victim of Trinity.
This season picks up directly after the last one. Thinking that he will be an unsuitable single parent, Dexter abandons Harrison and takes off on his boat. When he encounters an obnoxious man, he beats him to death. Dexter then returns to attend Rita's funeral and resume his parental responsibilities. So that he will have free time, Dexter hires a nanny for Harrison. Detective Joey Quinn becomes suspicious of Dexter and investigates him on his own, later enlisting the help of Stan Liddy. When Dexter finds human blood inside a truck, he hunts down Boyd Fowler and kills him in his house. However, Dexter notices a witness to the murder, a young woman held captive by Boyd. Not wanting to kill her, he is forced to capture and imprison her. He learns that her name is Lumen Pierce and slowly persuades her that he will not hurt her. Lumen tells him that a group of man had beaten and raped her. Bent on revenge, she enlists Dexter's help to hunt the men, and they kill them one by one. Meanwhile, Dexter's stepdaughter, Astor, and her friend, Olivia, return unexpectedly to Miami and he deals with their problems. Jordan Chase, the last abuser left alive, kidnaps Lumen and takes her to his camp. Dexter finds the camp, only to be held at gunpoint by Jordan. However, Dexter stabs him in his foot, anchoring him to the floor. Dexter straps Jordan to the table and Lumen performs the final kill. As they are cleaning up, Debra finds the camp and holds Lumen and Dexter at gunpoint through a plastic sheet (thus unable to see them). In the end, Debra allows them to escape with Jordan's body. After disposing of Chase, Dexter learns from Lumen that her urge to kill has vanished and she will now go her separate way. At a birthday party held for Harrison on the beach, Dexter looks toward the camera and reflects on his wish to be human. As he blows out the single candle, his last thought is, "But wishes, of course, are for children."
Over a year has passed since Lumen departed. Dexter continues to eliminate killers. Two paramedics are ambushed and killed by Dexter. He then attends his high school reunion, hunting his next victim. After that kill, Dexter stalks an elderly serial killer, The Tooth Fairy Killer. He also plans to kill Brother Sam, an ex-con and murderer who now self-identifies as a born-again Christian. Dexter initially sees Brother Sam's religious conversion as a scam, but Brother Sam proves himself a changed man. Later, Brother Sam is shot in his garage. Dexter figures out that Nick is responsible for the shooting. He takes Nick for a walk on the beach and, when Nick laughs about what he did, an enraged Dexter drowns him in the surf. This causes Dexter's darkness to appear as an illusion of Brian. He convinces Dexter to target Jonah Mitchell, who now lives in Nebraska and apparently has killed his mother and sister. As Dexter is about to kill Jonah, he relents when Jonah explains what happened. While in Nebraska, Dexter kills a man who demands money from him. Dexter returns to Miami to further investigate "The Doomsday Killer," a serial killer who stages tableaus after the Book of Revelation. At first, he thinks the murders are being committed by two people - a fanatically religious college professor named Professor James Gellar and his protegé, Travis Marshall. But Dexter follows Travis to an old church, discovers Gellar's body in a freezer, and concludes that Travis acts alone. Travis begins to view Dexter as the "False Prophet." He captures Dexter and enacts The Lake of Fire, although Dexter manages to escape. After swimming for hours, Dexter is rescued by a fishing boat carrying immigrants. While on the boat, he kills a dangerous man, Alberto. Travis kidnaps Harrison to sacrifice as the "Lamb of God" during the eclipse. Dexter rescues Harrison, knocks Travis unconscious, and takes him to the old church. Unfortunately, Debra walks into the church to tell Dexter her feelings toward him, only to see Dexter plunge his knife into Travis' chest. The two look at each other in horror and Dexter exclaims, "Oh God."
This season picks up with no time skip. Debra just witnessed Dexter killing Travis Marshall. Dexter persuades her that it was an impulsive act. He manipulates Debra to help him burn down the church to destroy evidence. Miami Metro Homicide falsely concludes that Travis committed suicide because the world didn't come to an end. Captain Maria LaGuerta finds a blood-slide at the scene and it sparks her curiosity. Debra starts to think that Dexter is lying to her and she searches his apartment. She discovers his blood slides and kill tools, and learns that he is the Bay Harbor Butcher. Debra then attempts to stop him from killing more people. Dexter tells Debra that he needs to kill Ray Speltzer, but Debra strongly disagrees until Speltzer kills another innocent woman. Dexter decides to quit collecting blood slides. The actions of Louis Greene become problematiic for Dexter. A new killer emerges in Miami, The Phantom Arsonist who incinerates people. Dexter takes an attractive murderer, Hannah McKay, on a date and injects her with M99. When Hannah awakes and appears unafraid, Dexter cannot kill her and the two have sex on the kill table. They then continue to see each other. To protect Hannah from her father's emotional abuse, Dexter murders him. Hannah attempts to kill Debra by causing a car accident, but she survives. After Dexter discovers what Hannah did, he has her arrested for the murder of Sal Price. Earlier on, Detective Mike Anderson is murdered by Viktor Baskov, a member of the Koshka Brotherhood. Dexter tracks Viktor to an airport where he kills him. Isaak Sirko seeks to avenge Viktor's death but soon he needs Dexter's help to kill assassins. LaGuerta arrests Dexter as the Bay Harbor Butcher, but he sets it up to look as if she is framing him. Dexter feels that his only option is to kill LaGuerta. He captures Hector Estrada and has him lure LaGuerta to the shipping container. When LaGuerta arrives, Dexter injects her with M99. Debra unexpectedly appears and attempts to intercede. Upon awakening, LaGuerta orders Debra to shoot Dexter. However, Debra shoots LaGuerta instead. Immediately, Debra bursts into tears and embraces LaGuerta's dead body. Dexter then alters the crime scene to make it look as though Estrada and LaGuerta shot each other.
Six months after LaGuerta's death, Dexter's life is going well, but Debra is guilt-ridden. She now works as a private investigator and feels nothing but hatred for Dexter. A new serial killer, dubbed The Brain Surgeon, appears in Miami. An expert on psychopaths, Dr.Evelyn Vogel, offers her assistance on the case. She reveals to Dexter that she helped Harry create The Code. She tells him that brain parts are being left on her doorstep and asks him to vet her ex-patients. Dexter takes on a young killer as an apprentice. Hannah McKay returns to Miami and they rekindle their relationship. Because Hannah is a fugitive, they make plans to move to Argentina with Harrison. Dexter finds evidence that The Brain Surgeon is related to Dr. Vogel. Later, Dexter captures The Surgeon but doesn't kill him because he would rather be with Hannah and Harrison. Dexter phones Debra so she can arrest him, but he shoots her and escapes after she wounds him. Debra soon suffers a stroke due a blood clot. Meanwhile, Hannah and Harrison escape to Argentina. Dexter manages to kill The Brain surgeon in jail and make it appear to be in self-defense. Not wanting to leave her in a vegetative state, Dexter turns off Debra's life support and buries her at sea. Feeling that he must protect the ones in his life, Dexter drives his boat straight towards Hurricane Laura. The storm clears out and the wreckage of the Slice of Life is found by patrol units. An article is posted in reference to his death, which Hannah reads. During the final scenes, several large logging trucks, loaded with felled trees, arrive at a lumber mill. One of the loggers is the focus as he finishes up his work and returns to his cabin. The man closes the door behind him, takes off a cold-weather vest, and sits down at a wooden table. He looks out the window at his left before he faces forward. Behind his grown-out beard and flannel jacket is the face of the Bay Harbor Butcher, who closes his eyes for a moment and then opens them, staring straight into the camera. It's Dexter Morgan, alive and alone, in an undisclosed location.
Dexter is the only character in the show whose thoughts can be heard by the viewer.
Dexter often spoke in his head, sharing with the audience his point of view as a Serial Killer, while outwardly pretending to be normal. His comments usually included personal philosophy, dark humor, and killing plans. Unlike the narration in the books, Dexter narrated in the present tense in the show. This means that he only revealed what he was thinking about in the moment, and not predicting what was going to happen. Also, his narrating did not focus on secondary characters, such as Masuka, Angel or Quinn, as he wasn't aware of the details that came along with their private lives. On several occasions, Dexter broke the fourth wall and talked directly to the audience. In the pilot episode, he mentally introduced himself. In the Season Six opening, when a young woman is shown in his apartment, he mentally remarked, "It's not what you think."
(In the first few seasons, Dexter has more of a comical style to the way he refers to various situations.)
- Kill Tools
- Kill Room
- The Ritual
- Slice of Life
- Dexter's Kill List
- Dark Passenger
- Blood Slide Boxes
- The Code of Harry
- Dexter's Apartment
- Bay Harbor Butcher
- Dexter's Rented Room
- Dexter's modus operandi
- The Bay Harbor Butcher Investigation
- Dexter re-named his fishing boat from Slice of Heaven to Slice of Life in reference to him using knives.
- Victims that Dexter buries at sea are often reported as missing persons.
- Dexter jokingly mentioned to Rita on their first date that he was an axe murderer
- Both Dexter's first and last (known) victims are female (Mary and Debra).
- Dexter’s blood type is AB negative.
- Animals don't like Dexter, especially dogs.
- Dexter inherited his watch from Harry.
- Harry set up college funds for Dexter and Debra.
- While Dexter attended medical school, he killed an associate professor. (per ‘Early Cuts)
- Dexter prefers to kill with knives instead of guns because it is more "intimate."
- Hurricane Laura shares its' name with Dexter's biological mother, Laura.
- Dexter’s original marina, Coral Cove, was the one where Harry had a slip.
- Dexter hides a getaway pack inside his bedroom wall (cash, burner phones, passports w/aliases).
- The killing of a mosquito in the opening theme song symbolizes Dexter's killing of a bad person.
- The Dexter TV series and the Dexter novels have many differences.
- Dexter's role was possibly inspired by Miami's 1986 vigilante serial killer, Manuel Pardo. Pardo was an ex-Miami police officer who in 1986 killed at least nine drug dealers. As trophies, he had photos instead of blood slides. Pardo was executed in 2012 by lethal injection.
- Dexter's phone number as of Season 8 is (305)-744-3078, which was also used for Zoey Kruger and Dexter's realtor. Calling the number results in a voice saying, "I'm sorry, but this number's not programmed to take messages".
- While Dexter does kill murderers who are likely to kill again, it's not out of the goodness of his heart, nor is it to make the world a better place. Dexter simply thinks that it's better, as well as safer, to kill criminals instead of innocents.
Main Photo page: Dexter Morgan/Gallery
- Main article: List of Episodes
- Main article: Dexter Morgan (Novels)
In the Novels At the end of the first novel, Dexter admitted that he couldn't harm Deborah (something that was followed in the television series). In the books, he seems to view Rita more as a pet. Dexter enjoyed being around Rita's son, Cody, and daughter, Astor. This also gave him a reason to continue his relationship with Rita, who, as of Dearly Devoted Dexter, he was engaged to due to a misunderstanding. In the beginning of the third book, it was shown that both Cody and Astor had dark impulses, as they pressured Dexter to teach them. Dexter came to accept his role as a stepfather to both children in Dexter in the Dark, although in his typical fashion. For example, while on a stakeout, he began to wonder if Cody had brushed his teeth before bed and if Astor had set out her Easter dress for photo-day at her school. These thoughts distracted him while he was waiting for an intended victim, which annoyed him.
- Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004)
- Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005)
- Dexter in the Dark (2006)
- Dexter by Design (2008)
- Dexter is Delicious (2010)
- Double Dexter (2011)
- Dexter's Final Cut (2012)
- Dexter is Dead (2015)
- "I see their pain. On some level, I even understand their pain. I just can't feel their pain." ~Dexter ("Crocodile")
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