Dexter deals with a smooth-talking, despicable used-car salesman who's dying to do business with him; Rita suspects that Dexter has a drug problem and insists that he join a NA program, which throws him into the path of a mysterious and attractive woman.
At a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, Caroline (Brooks Almy) shares her story with the group. A bored Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) sits in the back and wonders how long it's been since he last sharpened his knives. Dexter inspects the doughnuts in the back of the room while a beautiful woman, Lila Tournay (Jaime Murray) checks him out. Dexter leaves.
At girlfriend Rita Bennett's (Julie Benz) house, Dexter unpacks Chinese takeout while Rita asks about his NA meeting. Rita asks Dexter if he got his newcomer's chip. Dexter is evasive. Upset, Rita tells him that if he doesn't work the program, she won't stick with him. Dexter, genuinely concerned, promises to go back to NA the next day. Rita forgives him.
At the station the next morning, Dexter has a run-in with Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King) who chides him about running a yellow light the night before. Doakes warns Dexter that he'll see him later that night.
Angel Batista (David Zayas,) Vince Masuka (CS Lee,) and Lt. Maria Laguerta (Lauren Velez) are overwhelmed by people trying to get information about missing loved ones. Angel blames the commotion on Lt. Esme Pasquale (Judith Scott,) who was on the TV news. The team watches Esme on a newscast as she fumbles through an interview with a reporter (Jay Jackson) about the 18 faceless victims of the Bay Harbor Butcher. Masuka comments on how Pasquale is off her game. Dexter, surveying the crowd of people in the station, muses to himself that their loved ones are likely not among his chosen victims.
Cpt Tom Matthews (Geoffrey Pierson) gives the team a pep talk. Lundy's task force is announced: Batista, Masuka, and Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) are chosen. Dexter notes with private satisfaction that the task force won't find any trace evidence. Harry's Code will protect him.
Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) addresses the team. The first task is to ID the bodies - IDs will lead to a pattern, which will lead to the killer.
Dexter, at a new car lot, looks at an SUV. He intends to lay low, but to continue to do research on his next victim, a car salesman named Roger Hicks (Don McManus) who is linked to two killings. Hicks approaches Dexter. Dexter eyes Hicks' coffee cup, hoping to get DNA evidence against him. Hicks takes off his coat and places it inside the SUV as he explains the car's features to Dexter. Dexter eyes the coffee cup again. Hicks, seeing a janitor pass by, tosses out his coffee cup.
Dexter is clearly disappointed. Hicks explains the stow 'n go feature of the SUV, telling Dexter that the storage room is ample enough for a deer carcass, and that the tinted windows come in handy. Knowing that Hicks is his killer, Dexter steals Hicks' comb from his coat pocket.
Back at the station, Dexter drives up in his new SUV, and wonders what's happening to him. Maria drives up, notes the SUV, and asks Dexter if he's getting married.
Dexter checks Hicks' hair from the stolen comb under a microscope, only to discover that it is synthetic. Masuka, lead forensic expert on the task force, tells Dexter that he managed to get him temporarily assigned to help him.
An uncomfortable Deb interviews a family member of a missing person. The woman produces a toothbrush of the missing person, hoping that the DNA will match one of the Bay Harbor Butcher's victims. Deb talks to Lundy and asks to be taken off the task force. Lundy tells her to continue the interviews. Deb leaves, dejected.
An excited Masuka tells Dexter about the field morgue and the gelatinous residue on some of the bodies. Dexter privately laments that the bodies were never meant to be reassembled.
Later that night, Dexter returns to NA. Lila is there, and checks him out. Dexter requests a newcomer's chip and is invited to share. As Dexter stands at the podium, searching for words, Lila asks him his name. Dexter says his name is Bob and recites a seemingly well-rehearsed spiel of drug use. Later, Lila invites "Bob" to join her for coffee at the diner next door. Lila tells Dexter that she knows he's lying, and says that he gave a good performance. As they talk, Dexter finds himself drawn into Lila's description of his "dark passenger" of addiction. Unnerved, Dexter leaves, worried that she knows his secret, and thinks that the program is too risky for him right now.
Dexter brings the newcomer's chip to Rita, and explains to her that the meetings aren't good for him. Rita tells Dexter that she prays he will change his mind, and sends him home. Dexter wonders what happened.
Dexter and Deb spend the rest of the evening eating junk food and watching TV.
The next day, Dexter returns to the car lot, telling Hicks that he's interested in the extended warranty and roof racks. He tells the busy Hicks that he'll wait for him in his office. At Hicks' desk, Dexter collects DNA evidence from the trash can. He's interrupted by a woman dropping off a thank-you note for Hicks. She tells Dexter that she didn't have good credit and couldn't buy a car, but that Hicks was kind enough to send her across the street to another lot. Alarmed, Dexter realizes that she matches the profile of Hicks' victims, and that she is likely his next target. He worries that he can't do anything - he's stopped by Harry's Code.
At the station, Esmee attempts to get a credit card check on her fiance. Maria reminds her of pending work. Esme tries to focus, but her fiance shows up. Esme rushes Maria out of her office. Esme and her fiance argue.
Dexter matches Hicks' DNA to that of the murdered women. He wonders if his conscience is waking up, telling him to act, even though doing so would put him in danger of discovery.
Dexter calls Rita about pizza night. Rita tells Dexter that she and the kids will eat in, and that she won't see him until he gets his act together. Dexter wonders if he's been dumped.
A frazzled Deb listens to a grieving mother (Danielle Barbosa.) Unable to help her, Deb runs off in tears. She goes to see Lundy and asks what's taking so long for her to get off the task force. Lundy wonders why she wants off. Deb tells him that she's the last one who should be on the task force because of what she went through with the Ice Truck Killer. Lundy explains that he wanted her because of her first-hand look into the mind of a serial killer, and suggests that she could be in the position to catch someone even worse that the Ice Truck Killer. Deb goes back to the interviews.
Masuka grumbles about his case load, and asks Dexter to drop off dental X-rays at the field morgue.
Captain Matthews asks Maria for the dirt on Esme Pasquale and her "erratic behavior," and tells Maria that if Esme is out, Maria would take her place. An shrewd Maria tells Matthews that "erratic behavior" is code for "non-male" and refuses to dignify rumors with commentary. Maria walks away.
Outside, Dexter finds that Doakes is waiting for him. Doakes tells Dexter that he'll see him for pizza night. Dexter asks Doakes why he keeps following him. Doakes tells him that he knows his suspicious behavior is somehow connected to the Ice Truck Killer, and will prove it. Dexter takes the X-rays to the field morgue.
In the field morgue, Dexter surveys his work. Lundy surprises him. Dexter introduces himself, but Lundy already knows who he is. Lundy wonders why the victims were chosen, and suspects that "a twisted set of principles" were involved. Dexter says that there is never a justification for killing. Lundy corrects him, saying that saving an innocent life is one justification.
Dexter feels that he must kill Hicks. While Doakes is distracted, Dexter sticks a knife in Doakes' car tire.
Dexter startles Hicks at the car lot and strangles him with piano wire. Hicks wakes up to find himself in the home of one of his victims. Dexter begins his death ritual. Hicks tells Dexter that he has the wrong guy, and offers him any car in the lot, no charge. Dexter marvels at how easily Hicks is able to lie. Hicks gives Dexter some insight about himself and Rita. Dexter finds himself opening up about Rita, and how she began mostly as a cover, but then found that she somehow became part of his life. Hicks tells Dexter that "she's not worth it" and that he's "better off without that cunt", which causes Dexter to kill him on impulse, which is quite rare for Dexter and convinces him that he truly does care about Rita and her children.
Later that evening, Dexter goes back to NA. Using his real first name, he shares with the group, saying that there is something dark within him, and when the "dark passenger" is driving, he feels alive. He tells the group that nothing else could love him, and wonders if that's just something that the dark passenger tells him. He admits that he feels connected to someone, and wonders what it means, and that he is scared by that feeling. Lila and the group applaud. Dexter takes his seat. The group stands for the serenity prayer. As Dexter stands, he sees someone watching him. It's Doakes, who approaches him. Doakes says that Dexter's strange behavior all makes sense now, and that lots of cops turn to drugs and alcohol. Doakes tells Dexter to stay clean and out of his way, and they won't have a problem any longer. Dexter is amazed. Doakes mentions that Dexter owes him a new tire and leaves.
At the station, Deb interviews an Anxious Man (Jeremy Nichols) about the man's missing father. The Anxious Man tells Deb that he simply wants to make sure that his father is rotting in hell so that his family will be safe. Deb recalls a previous interview and finds Lundy. Two of the missing persons have prison records. Lundy and Deb think it may be a pattern. Lundy tells Deb to run the victims' DNA against the criminal database.
A happy Dexter wakes up Rita. He tells Rita that she was right, the 12-step program is great. Dexter thanks Rita. Rita forgives Dexter.
The next day, Dexter and Rita drive the new SUV to Dexter's NA meeting. As Rita drops him off, Dexter points out his new NA sponsor - the beautiful Lila. Dexter runs to greet the waiting Lila while a worried Rita watches.
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