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Dexter Morgan: The Bay Harbor Butcher, The Dark Defender, Widower, Father, Blood Spatter Analyst, Serial Killer

Spoiler Spoiler warning: This article or section contains key plots and information. Read at your own risk.

Dexter Morgan
Character Profile
Portrayed By
Michael C. Hall

Dominic Janes (young), Devon Graye (teen), Maxwell Huckabee (age 3), Nicholas Vigneau (age 7)

First Appearance
Last Appearance
Remember The Monsters?
Appears in
96 Episodes (see below)
Full Name
Dexter Morgan (né Moser)
Kyle Butler,

Darryl Tucker, Sean Ellis, Dave Cutler, Patrick Bateman, Dan, Arthur Curry, Mr. Hartwell, Steve Gaskill

Dex (Debra Morgan),

Dexie (Thomas Matthews), Dexman (Miguel Prado), Morgan (James Doakes), Pyscho (James Doakes), Sparky (James Doakes), Baby Brother (Brian Moser), Dickie Moser (Hector Estrada), Dexterous (Vince Masuka), King of Spatter (Vince Masuka), Pure Jungle Cat (Vince Masuka), Dex-posé (Vince Masuka), Dex-Bot (Vince Masuka), Dexterino (Vince Masuka), Poindexter (Joey Quinn), Socio (Angel Batista), Master Manipulator (Hannah McKay), False Prophet (Travis Marshall), The Beast (Travis Marshall)


35 (2006) 42 (2013)
1 February 1971
Reddish brown
Personal Status
Marital Status
Rita Morgan (deceased)
Immediate Relatives
Mr. Morgan (adoptive grandfather, deceased)

Harry Morgan (adoptive father, deceased)
Doris Morgan (adoptive mother, deceased)
Laura Moser (bio-mother, deceased)
Joe Driscoll (bio-father, deceased)
Brian Moser (bio-brother; deceased)
Debra Morgan (adoptive sister, deceased)
Astor Bennett (step-daughter)
Cody Bennett (step-son)
Harrison Morgan (son)
Dean Moser (grandfather, unknown status)
Emily Moser (grandmother, unknown status)

8420 Palm Terrace #108

Miami FL, 33142

Professional Status
Logger (2012 - ?)

Blood Spatter Analyst for Miami Metro Police, Homicide Division (1994 - 2012)
Serial Killer (1990s - ?) According to Scott Buck in a 2013 interview, Dexter has "isolated himself in a self-imposed prison as far from Miami as possible."

Killer Profile
""The Bay Harbor Butcher"

"The Dark Defender"
(Unknown Killer Status)

Number of Victims
At least 135 (directly)

At least 28 (indirectly)

Modus Operandi
Large Knife,

Power Saw, Garrotting Wire, Surgical Tools, Pistol, Hunting Knife, Cleaver, Defibrillators, Cushion

Killing Method
Sedates With M99 or Sleeper Hold,

Ties Down With Shrink Wrap, Typically Stabs To Heart

Method of Disposal
Bodies are dismembered, then put inside bio-degradable bags and dumped in the Gulf Stream.
Dexter (along with his brother Brian) witnessed the brutal murder of their mother in a cargo container at a very early age. After seeing Laura Moser chainsawed to pieces, they were then left in the cargo container full of blood for two days.

Dexter Morgan is the title character and antihero of both Showtime's DEXTER and the Dexter Book Series.   

"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

Unbeknownst to 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.

"I lie to everyone I know...except my victims, right before I kill them." ~Dexter


Face and Hair

In Season One, 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. (During Season Five, Dexter wears a hairpiece because the real-life Michael C. Hall had undergone treatment for cancer.) Dexter 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). 

Identifying Marks

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.

Normal Clothes

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.

Hunting Outfit

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.

Kill Attire

Power tool

Dexter's Kill Attire

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.

Forensic Apparel

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." ~Dexter
Dexter and His Mask

Looking behind Dexter's mask

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 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.

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 left his apartment a mess when living with him). However, Dexter wouldn't allow his own brother, Brian, to harm Debra, as Dexter was "fond of her."  

Although Dexter ruthlessly and ritualistically kills criminals with no remorse, he often wishes that he could just lead a normal life. Ironically, whenever he makes an attempt to do this, he suffers the consequences.  


“I don't normally seek human contact in times of failure. But then, I don't normally experience failure.” ~Dexter
Dexter is portrayed as highly intelligent, introspective, pragmatic, calculating, relentless, generally fearless, and a "master of compartmentalization." He enjoys challenges, displays a dry sense of humor, and is aware of his human defects.

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
Dexter mocking Travis

Dexter mocks Travis Marshall's religious beliefs before he kills him

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."

Family Relationships

"To be a brother. To have a friend. To have a wife, a family...if you play a role long enough, really commit, does it ever become real? Could I become real?" ~Dexter

Background Info

News of Laura Moser's Death

Dexter's mother is killed in Shipping Yard Massacre when he is three-years-old

It is gradually revealed to Dexter that he is the biological son of Laura Moser (a police informant) and Joe Driscoll (a recovered drug addict) and the biological brother of Brian Moser (also known as The Ice Truck Killer.) When he was three-years-old, Dexter's mother was brutally murdered by chainsaw in front of him.

After his mother's murder, Dexter was taken in by the Morgan family and, at about age seven, legally adopted. His adoptive family members are Debra (sister), Doris (mother) and Harry (father - the homicide detective who found him sitting in blood). When Harry discovered that young Dexter was killing animals and would likely become a serial killer, he (with guidance from Dr. Evelyn Vogel) taught Dexter a "code" to operate under.

Dexter became the husband of Rita Morgan (the mother of his son, Harrison Morgan) and the step-father of Astor and Cody Bennett. (In the novels, Dexter had a biological daughter, Lily, instead of a son)

His Sister

"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
Debra and Cactus

Dexter amuses Debra when he gives her a cactus

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.

His Son

"I want to believe that smile, that watching your mother die hasn't changed you the way that watching mine changed me." ~Dexter
Harrison and Dexter

Dexter and son, Harrison

Dexter, having grown up with lessons from Harry 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.

The Dark Passenger

Main article: "Dark Passenger."
The Dark Passenger

Dexter's darkness

"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.
To protect himself, Dexter decides to violate the code

Inner dialogue with Harry (deceased)

“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 allows Dexter to kill other killers and helps 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.

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's Life of Blood

Born in Blood

Dexter's need to kill stems from an early life incident. At age three, he (and his older brother) witnessed four brutal murders by chainsaw inside a cargo container. Their mother, Laura Moser, was one of those killed. Afterward, the brothers were left sitting in blood for two days before they were found by police. 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."

Total Victims: Dexter's Kill List

Modus Operandi

Main article: Dexter's modus operandi
Kill Room-0

Dexter in a Kill Room

”I prefer a stalk-and-ambush approach. My instincts are impeccable, but I have to be sure of my prey." ~Dexter
This is Dexter's preferred modus operandi but, for various reasons, he does not always follow it.
  1. Select a Victim.
  2. Stalk to learn routine, gather evidence.
  3. Confirm that the victim meets the Code.
  4. Prepare a Kill Room.
  5. Capture the victim.
  6. Collect a blood trophy.
  7. Conduct his Kill Ritual.
  8. Dismember the body.
  9. Leave no evidence.
  10. Dispose of remains from his boat.

Blood Trophies

Main article: Blood Slide Boxes.

Blood slide collection

Dexter collecting a blood slide trophy

”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.

Most Important Lovers

"Lucky to have me? I wouldn't say so." ~Dexter
Women in Dexter's Life

Lila, Rita, Lumen, Hannah

"[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


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.)

People Who Knew His Secret

Brian Moser-0

Brian Moser

  • Brian Moser: 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 is a serial killer, much like himself. Like Dexter, Brian could easily hide his true self behind a mask of deception.
  • Sgt James Doakes at the bowling alley

    James Doakes

    Sgt. James Doakes: Doakes used his detective skills to follow evidence pointing to Dexter being the actual Bay Harbor Butcher. He searched Dexter's apartment and stole his box of blood slides but, when the FBI found the slides in his car, Doakes himself became the prime suspect. The police searched for Doakes but Dexter had him caged in a remote cabin while he set him up. As Dexter's prisoner, Doakes witnessed (through plastic sheeting) Dexter kill and dismember a drug dealer.
  • Debra-0

    Debra Morgan

    Debra Morgan: She walked in on Dexter as he killed the Doomsday Killer on an alter at the church. Debra started to piece things together when she saw the similarities to the time she was on the Ice Truck Killer's table, wrapped in plastic. She then searched Dexter's apartment and discovered his blood slides and knives. Debra waited in his apartment for him and asked if he was a serial killer. Dexter had no choice but to tell her the whole truth.
    Lumen knife-0

    Lumen Pierce

  • 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 kill room. 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-0

    Lila West

  • 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 his secret when she followed Dexter's GPS to the cabin where Dexter was keeping Doakes prisoner. Doakes told Lila that Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher and begged her to free him. Instead, Lila killed Doakes in an explosion in order to protect Dexter's secret .
  • Hannah McKay

    Hannah McKay

    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

    Isaak Sirko

    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 was a killer of many other murderers. This knowledge was passed on to George NovikovJurg Yeliashkevych, and Benjamin Caffrey
Maria LaGuerta finds a blood slide

Maria LaGuerta

  • Captain Maria LaGuerta: When Maria found a blood slide at a crime scene, she began to re-investigate the Bay Harbor Butcher killings and was determined to clear James Doakes' name. Soon, Dexter became her prime the true BHB. 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 LaGuerta had shot each other.
  • Miguel Prado-0

    Miguel Prado

    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 seemed evident that Dexter had killed him. After this, Miguel and Dexter began to work together. This ended badly, as Miguel went rogue and killed an innocent defense attorney named Ellen Wolf and targeted another innocent, Maria LaGuerta, who was on to him. This resulted in Dexter having no choice but to murder Miguel. (While Miguel had learned that Dexter was a serial killer, he may not have realized that Dexter was the 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.)
  • Evelyn Vogel-0

    Evelyn Vogel

    Dr. Evelyn Vogel: She knew of Dexter's secret since he was ten-years-old, which is unlike most of the other characters who discovered the truth without 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, 
    Zach Hamilton

    Zach Hamilton

    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 he was about to die, Zach admitted to Dexter that he had a deep desire to kill. Dexter saw the similarities between Zach and himself, spared Zach's life, took him on as a protege, and taught him the Code of Harry.

Camilla Figg

  • Camilla Fig: Because she and her husband were friends with Dexter's adoptive parents, Harry and Doris, Camilla knew Dexter since his childhood. She realized that the Ice Truck Killer was Brian Moser, Dexter's brother, but 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-0

Stan Liddy

  • 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. But, when he abducted Dexter to obtain a confession, Liddy was killed by him.

By the end of the series, only two of those who knew Dexter's secret (Lumen, Hannah) were still alive.


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.

Forensics Career

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."
Forensics Lab

Dexter in the forensics lab

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
Dexter's Different Sides

Dexter's different personas

Dexter is a force to be reckoned with.

To supplement his forensic expertise, Dexter has 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 impostor. All these abilities have proved necessary to maintain his double life, carry out his nightly activities, and keep one step ahead of the very Department that he works in. His high level of physical fitness is a requirement for his own survival and of utmost benefit in following the first rule of the Code - "Don't get caught."


Dexter's cardio is a major factor in his personal upkeep. In the event that he has to chase a target down, he needs to be able to keep up without tiring. If in a fight, he has to endure hits and return them with ease. And he must have the energy to last a long period of time doing various activities that include chasing, subduing, transferring, and disposing of victims. 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." He is very relaxed while jogging or running on a treadmill. Though not shown, considering his muscle size and abdominal shape, he likely incorporates crunches, weight lifting, and push-ups into his exercise regimen.

Martial Arts

In his college years, he 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 allows him to quickly subdue targets with just a few simple movements, which mostly culminate 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 snaps necks, particularly if the situation calls for a quick execution, such as with George King in "Do You Take Dexter Morgan?" If his opponents have weapons, he is able to disarm them before they cause any real damage. In "Resistance Is Futile," Dexter fought and outwitted an ex-United States Army Special Forces soldier (Sergeant James Doakes) who held him at gunpoint on a pier and forced Dexter to put on handcuffs. The two ended up falling into the water and fighting in it waist-deep, but Dexter managed to place Doakes in a choke-hold and subdue him. (Doakes, however, did manage to fire a bullet from his gun that grazed Dexter's thigh.)  

Strategic Thinking

While being capable of taking on opponents, he never rushed a battle to leave room for his own mistakes - unless he really needed to do so out of desperation. For instance, Dexter did decide to start fighting Doakes right away when the latter held him at gunpoint, while Dexter was in handcuffs. Another example would be when a hitman held Dexter at gunpoint in exactly the same fashion. Dexter's style often relied on counter-offense and he allowed his opponents to strike first, but he then exposed a weak or blind spot to take advantage of them pretty quickly (as with Joe Walker or Travis Marshall).

Usually, he 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 was usually fond of his own 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 (as shown with Zoey Kruger in Season 4), he had to rely on his strategic thinking, which 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.

In most instances, he would adopt 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 would take advantage of any opportunity that was laying around for him, including the use of the environment he's surrounded by.

An excellent example of Dexter's strategic thinking would be when Jordan Chase was able to hold both him and Lumen captive, Dexter was able to stab Jordan in the right foot with the 'missing knife', 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 Jordan would have the potential to be cocky and, thus, Jordan's behavior would cause himself to ignore the possibility that he could get harmed.

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 on a table, which Dexter placed a pen on. Oliver quickly used the pen to stab it into Dexter's arm, but Dexter killed his opponent by stabbing him in the throat with it. Miami Metro Police then replayed security footage of the incident, but they let Dexter off easy, as the murder appeared to be a 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.

Dexter was also very good at manipulating situations to hurt people, but not physically (i.e. setting them up). When Doakes really started going after him, Dexter's initial response was to make Doakes look inept. Firstly, Dexter gave him incorrect information regarding the homicide of a young woman, which caused Doakes to arrest and interrogate 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 criticizing an innocent person. This caused LaGuerta to begin harshly questioning Doakes' judgement. Dexter then headbutted Doakes in the privacy of his lab and quickly walked out to the main office area in front of everyone. Enraged, Doakes followed him and started to attack him publicly, while Dexter feigned helplessness and fear, causing LaGuerta to suspend Doakes on the spot.

Years later, when Louis Greene started to harass Dexter by sending him Brian's Prosthetic Arm and cancelling all of his credit cards, the latter arranged for Louis to get fired as well, while appearing to be innocent to everybody else. Dexter also set LaGuerta up by successfully making it appear as though she tried to frame him for the murder of Hector Estrada.

Methods of Capture

M99 Tranquilizer

M99 Tranquilizer

Dexter, while he mostly used sleeper holds or 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 seen doing this on a few occasions in the TV Series.

M99 Tranquilizer article: Etorphine


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.
2013-08-22 2217

Dexter's best display of marksmanship.

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.


Dexter with Esteban's gun

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 with Brian. 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.


This skill became necessary following a difficult struggle with Mary. If he couldn't easily subdue someone like her, he would find it extremely difficult to take on the likes of Little Chino, Brian Moser, James Doakes, George King, or Travis Marshall. For Dexter to succeed in becoming a successful Serial Killer and to avoid putting his own life on the line, he needed to learn how to fight opponents above his level.

Combat List

Dexter is extremely skilled in jujitsu (which he studied in college) and other fighting and grappling techniques. He can easily subdue victims or attackers, even under duress. For instance, he was able to overpower James Doakes with a gunshot wound to the leg, Jorge Orozco aka George King with a broken hand and Oliver Saxon with a pen stabbed into his shoulder (which he took out and killed Saxon with). The following is a list of situations where Dexter was forced to subdue a victim or opponent outside of his regular stealthy approach;

  • Dexter uses a quick sleeper hold on Emmett Meridian as he attempts to walk away, causing him to lose consciousness in a matter of seconds. Episode 108: Shrink Wrap

    Dexter subdues Doakes.

  • The first real sign of Dexter's Jujitsu training is in a small confrontation with Sergeant James Doakes at the Shipping Yard, where he is tracking a theory on where Rudy Cooper could have taken his sister, Debra Morgan. After Dexter sarcastically lies to him about why he is in the shipping yard, Doakes punches him squarely in the gut and readies himself to throw another right hand punch, only to have Dexter dodge out of the way, grabbing Doakes' wrist. He aligns himself so that Doakes' arm is planted and outstretched across his own chest, while Dexter positions his free hand in a choke hold around Doakes' neck. Doakes tries to use his other hand to pull off Dexter's grip, but is not very successful. The two go flying back against the shipping container while Dexter begins to tighten his hold...rendering Doakes completely immobile. The two become more violent, but a nearby worker forces the two to break up the fight. (Born Free) **This is the first clear sign that Dexter is capable of handling others who are rather physically strong by using his quick reflexes and agility to turn an offense into a weakness. It demonstrates that Dexter is able to manipulate the bodies of others so that they are unable to move, putting them in a compromising position.
  • Brian Moser, Dexter's older brother, attempts to separate his younger sibling from his bonds to his adoptive family by killing Debra Morgan. He gives a knife to Dexter and tries to make him do it willingly at first, but he then takes the blade back from Dexter and thrusts it down in Debra's direction. Dexter quickly brings his arm out in order to grab onto Brian's wrist, stopping his arm in motion. Dexter then proceeds to push Brian back against the wall using his right arm (via Brian's chest), and then slams Brian's hand against the wall to force the knife out of his grip. Brian, however, turns the tables on Dexter in this struggle, putting his brother into an elbow lock, as the two spin around the room and slam into walls. As Dexter breaks out of the lock, Brian knees his brother in the face and throws him to the ground before making an escape. (Born Free) **This is an example of Dexter using his momentum as he forces his opponent against a wall and proceeds to immediately disarm him. However, likely due to having been tranquilized earlier and feeling emotionally torn in this situation, Dexter loses his advantage. Brian takes the upper hand, first elbow-locking his brother's head and then kneeing him in the face. This is quite a rare occasion for Dexter.
  • Oscar Prado attacks Dexter with a knife for attempting to intervene when he was attacking Freebo with it. Dexter proves to be superior in combat when he shoves Oscar's own knife into his heart in self-defense, killing him.
  • George Washington King knocks out and kidnaps Dexter, who manages to escape, breaking his own hand in the process. Despite his broken hand, however, Dexter overpowers King when the latter attacks him and King's neck is snapped, which kills him.
  • Zoey Kruger is a murderer who learns that Dexter is on her case and goes to his house with the intention of killing him. He tries to sneak up on her and knock her out from behind, but she sees his reflection and is able to defend herself. She puts up a good fight, but is no match for him and is rendered unconscious.
  • Lance Robinson wakes up after being tranquilized and placed in the trunk of Dexter's car. He tries to run away, forcing Dexter to run after him. Dexter eventually catches up with him and suffocates him to death with plastic wrap.
  • Stan Liddy tries to attack Dexter with a knife, but Dexter proves to be superior in combat as he gets on top of Liddy, thrusting the knife into his heart.
  • Joe Walker was a professional athlete and, consequently, had impressive reflexes, which enabled him to defend himself the second that Dexter tried to attack him, even though Dexter had been successful in sneaking up on him. Joe then took a swing at Dexter, who caught his fist and choked him until he was unconscious.
  • Alberto is no match for Dexter when the latter uses a harpoon to impale him, throwing him into the ocean.
  • Andrew Briggs gets into a fight with Dexter and tries to grab hold of a knife that was laying on a desk, but Dexter is quicker and grabs it first. Dexter then quickly kills his opponent with it. The following are not necessarily impressive displays of his fighting abilities, though they still show him overpowering a character in one way or another;
  • When he first intends to kill Jeremy Downs, he is able to sneak up on him relatively quickly and force him against a wall with his strength. He then holds Jeremy by the throat, claiming that he could snap his neck with ease. (Let's Give the Boy a Hand)
  • While constantly dealing with Paul Bennett's bothersome meddling in his and Rita's lives, Dexter grows increasingly annoyed. When Paul continues to persist in irritating Dexter, it results in Paul being knocked out by a frying pan. (Seeing Red)

Strong Foes

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 is 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).
  • 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.

Crimes Committed

"If the legal system worked as well as you say it does, I wouldn’t be so busy." ~Dexter


Dexter hunts a target.

Despite how Stan Liddy describes Dexter as "squeaky clean on paper," he has committed many crimes, besides 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 takes no counter-measures against leaving digital (both paper and audit) trails, or any other electronic evidence, and does not usually use technology (aside from his computer) to aid in his research on potential victims (or, if he does either, it has never been shown or mentioned).

Lila has key

Dexter answers his phone during a kill.

  • Dexter frequently answers phone calls at, or near, his kill sites (which could be used to pinpoint his location).
  • He researches his potential victims on his work computer, both at work and home.
  • 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.


Main article: Dexter's Kill List

Category page: Characters Killed By Dexter

Early life

Main article: Dexter Morgan / Early Life

Moser Childhood


The Moser Household.


Dexter with his father, Joe Driscoll, driving.

Dexter was born Dexter Moser on February 1, 1971 (via driver's license) only a couple of years after Brian Moser to parents Laura Moser and Joseph Driscoll. He lived most of his infantile life with his elder brother at the address 1235 Mangrove Drive in Miami, Florida. However, he did spend some of his time with his father, Joe Driscoll, at the address 5570 (unknown street) in Dade City, Florida.

Shipping Yard

Laura (a drug addict) met Detective Harry Morgan and began acting as his informant in the Estrada cartel. On Wednesday October 3, 1973, Laura Moser, her two sons Dexter and Brian, as well as three other drug users were herded into the shipping container CBAN 348 9 by Estrada's henchmen. It is believed that Santos Jimenez wielded the chainsaw that killed them. As he revved the chainsaw, she cried and begged them not to do this in front of her children. She gave a final smile to Dexter, told him to close his eyes and that she loved him. Santos then cut into her, brutally killing Laura in front of both of her sons.

Dexter and Brian, forced to sit in blood for two days.

Santos and his helpers fled the area while Dexter and Brian sat in blood for two entire days.This traumatic event forever changed both of them. A happy childhood ended in a tragedy that created two boys who would grow up to be serial killers. Only one of them, however, was given the means to control and focus these urges, thanks to the first man on the scene, Harry Morgan.

Dexter losing grip of his brother's hand as he's carried away.

Detective Morgan opened the shipping container door, startled by the carnage inside. However, he spotted the two children and moved in to pick up the younger one, Dexter. As Harry lifted Dexter from the blood, Dexter held on tightly to his brother's hand before it slipped from his grasp. Harry looked Brian in the eyes and saw (what Brian later claimed in his adult years) "a fucked up kid." Rather than taking him as well, he left the container while Brian screamed, "Please don't leave me Dexter!".


While Dexter was taken in at the age of three, he wasn't officially adopted until roughly the age of seven.

Harry showing Dexter his birth certificate as a "Morgan".


Dexter asks his father what really happened to his parents.

His foster father Harry Morgan arrived home one day while Dexter was playing with his younger foster sister, Debra, and presented him with a birth certificate that declared him a Morgan. Dexter looked at it with an expression of confusion and said that he thought he was already a Morgan. Harry smiled and assured him that to them, Dexter was always a Morgan, but now it was finally official.

Dexter's fence wound.


Harry arguing with Doris about seeking the help of Dexter's biological father.

Abdomen Injury

At a young age, Dexter injured himself when he tried to retrieve a ball that Debra had lost. As Dexter climbed a fence, a dog chased after him and forced him to fall on a wrought iron fence post. This caused a long cut on his abdomen (which can be seen as a scar on the adult Dexter Morgan.

Dexter was immediately rushed to the emergency room. His blood pressure had dropped and he was in serious condition. The doctor told Harry that Dexter needed a blood transfusion, but it was near impossible because Dexter had a very rare blood type.


"Everything would be fine... you'll be good as new... would I lie to you?".


Thank you letter to his father.

With no other option available, Harry successfully tracked down Dexter's biological father, Joe Driscoll, who offered his own blood so that Dexter could survive. Harry reassured Dexter that he would be "as good as new." He then added, (which is ironic in the end) "Would I lie to you?".

Warning signs


"You're different, aren't you Dexter?"


Dexter thinks that he disappointed Harry.

  • Dexter's murderous urges took shape well before adolescence and it was 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. Debra tried to tell her mother and father what he had done, but Dexter begged her not to and promised to put them back together. Debra told him that, for her to keep the secret, he had to play with her, which Dexter did. (per Early Cuts)
  • One day, while on the family boat, Harry asked Dexter if he's "different." When Dexter asked what he meant, Harry replied that he had found the grave of the neighbor's missing dog, Buddy. Somewhat defiantly, Dexter said that Buddy was a "noisy little creep" who barked so much that it kept his sick mother awake all night. Harry told him there were a lot of bones in the grave - not just Buddy's. Dexter fell quiet, looked down at the boat's floor, and seemed to be ashamed. (Episode 101: Dexter) Harry then 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. Harry then asked, "Why didn't you?" Dexter said that he thought his father and mother "wouldn't like it."

Dexter at the beach.


Dexter successfully fakes his first smile.


Dexter being caught bullying a boy named Simon

  • Dexter misinterpreted the meanings of "blending in" and "fitting in." During a soccer game, Dexter, as well as several other boys stole the shirt of a boy, Simon, and played a game of "Keep Away" by tossing it between themselves while Simon attempted to grab it. Eventually, when the shirt was in Dexter's possession, Harry grabbed Dexter's arm, tossed the shirt back to Simon, and asked Dexter what the hell was going on. Dexter replied by saying that he was having "fun" and just "fitting in." Harry sighed and said that he can't be a bully, that it's wrong, and that people like himself (cops) remember bullies... a first step to a felony. Harry was assured by Dexter that he understood that to "blend in" meant to be a team member - not a bully, not a hero.

Early Adulthood

When Dexter was 20-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. Dexter embedded several ritualistic qualities to his first kill which he would come to do again and again, such as the strapping of the victim to a flat object and the covering of everything in sheets of plastic. But his blood-slide collection did not begin then; only later would he start that particular ritual.

Plot Overview

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.

Season One

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 1 and Season One.

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."

Season Two

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 2 and Season Two

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.

Season Three

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 3 and Season Three

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.

Season Four

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 4 and Season Four

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.

Season Five

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 5 and Season Five

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."

Season Six

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 6 and Season Six

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."

Season Seven

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 7 and Season Seven

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.

Season Eight

Main articles: Dexter Morgan/Season 8 and Season Eight

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 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.
  • Before he bought his boat, Dexter usually dumped his victims’ bodies in the Everglades.
  • When Dexter was 20-yrs-old, he killed his first human -- Mary, a female nurse.
  • Dexter jokingly mentioned to Rita on their first date that he is 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 a 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 same one where Harry had a slip.
  • Dexter is the only character in the show whose thoughts can be heard by the viewer.
  • 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 quite a few 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

TV Episodes

Main article: List of Episodes

The Novels

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.

This page has a disambiguation page, here.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Dexter Morgan

  • How can he leave Harrison..?

    3 messages
    • It was plain to see that as much as Dexter cared about Harrison, he was too dangerous to stay with him. We saw how much he left Harrison in ...
    • wrote:I honestly can't understand why he would ever leave Harrison? He, other than Debra was the only person who he seemed...

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