Lila West is a character in DEXTER. She is a Sponsor for a Narcotics Anonymous Group for various types of addicts, having claimed to overcome her own vice: pyromania. She worked as an artist, often stealing items to use in her work and had a very abstract (if not somewhat disturbing) sense of style with her projects.
She meets with Dexter Morgan after he commits himself to the group in spite of his girlfriend Rita Bennett, appeasing what she thought was an addiction to heroin following a realization about her now deceased ex-husband Paul Bennett. In some way Dexter sought to understand his Dark Passenger and potentially overcome it, but upon meeting Lila he delves deeper into the dark and forsakes a number of things in his life for her (including a breakup with Rita).
While initially sparking a romance with Dexter, it's shown that she has a violent response to betrayal and is not above exploiting others to her needs (even going so far as to light her apartment on fire to draw Dexter closer to her). Her manipulative nature wards Dexter away, realizing that she was "poisoning" his life and she even frames Angel Batista as a date rapist-abuser as part of her diabolical thinking. Her pyromania results in the death of James Doakes as well as a former boyfriend, additionally nearly killing Rita's children Astor and Cody Bennett (also endangering Dexter himself) and he finally decides that Lila has to be "taken care of", ending in her death in Paris, France.
Ultimately, she's revealed to be the Main Antagonist of Season Two, alongside secondary antagonists Sergeant James Doakes (who acts as a primary) and Special Agent Frank Lundy. She is the first antagonist to kill a main character, James Doakes, while others would follow suit in later seasons. She's also the only lover Dexter has killed, where he spared both Lumen Pierce and Hannah McKay.
Lila appears to be a fun-loving, compassionate person. However, as the season drags on it is revealed that Lila is in fact a woman afflicted with borderline personality disorder who frequents support groups in an attempt to feel emotions she is otherwise incapable of.
Lila was a compulsive arsonist, and was responsible for at least four fires:
- She set fire to her ex-boyfriend's house and ended up killing him. Mentioned in The Dark Defender.
- She set her loft on fire to get sympathy from Dexter, when they were drifting apart. Occurred in That Night, a Forest Grew.
- She caused a cabin to explode in the Everglades, killing Sergeant Doakes. Occurred in The British Invasion.
- She again set her loft on fire with Astor, Cody and Dexter inside, in an attempt to kill them all. Occurred in The British Invasion.
She also confessed to Dexter that she went sober after unintentionally killing her ex-boyfriend by setting his house on fire while he was inside, passed out on drugs. It is unknown whether or not this actually happened. She immediately sees through Dexter's "mask," and does not get fazed by his dark personality, but she does not learn the truth about him until the end of Season 2, at which point, she is obsessed with him, believing him to be her soul mate.
Lila's dark personality, pale skin, British heritage as well as her sociopathic tendencies and her ability to see Dexter for what he is are deliberate contrasts to Rita's bright personality, tanned skin, American heritage, respect for the law, love for her children and inability to see Dexter's dark passenger. Lila acts almost as the love interest for the Dark Passenger inside of Dexter, giving it confidence and telling Dexter to accept it while Dexter's love for Rita acts as the catalyst for Dexter's rejection of his Dark Passenger and his eventual shaping into something more human and sane than what the Passenger wants him to be.
Although it is never mentioned, it can be deduced that she is from England, possibly London. This is clear from her accent, the threat of deportation from Debra (meaning she is from a country outside of the USA) and the fact that she mentions in That Night a Forest Grew that 'Everybody walks in London... of course, they're usually walking to the pub!' Finally, the last episode of season two is called "British Invasion".
Lila is introduced as a recovering drug addict when Dexter is sent to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting by Rita. She finds an immediate interest in Dexter and sees through his facade, sensing that he is hiding his true emotions. As Dexter becomes more immersed in the drug recovery program, she becomes his narcotics sponsor and they begin to spend more time together much to Rita's chagrin. As Dexter seeks a way to control his "Dark Passenger" he cryptically asks Lila for advice, pretending that his problem is a drug addiction. By her advice, they set out on a road trip to seek some closure from his past and the person who turned him into who he is, the man who killed his mother, Santos Jimenez. However, as Dexter loses his control and is about to kill Jimenez in vengeance, he is calmed down by Lila over the phone, who was convinced he was shooting himself with heroin again due to the stress of meeting his mother's murderer. This experience brings Dexter and Lila closer together and Dexter becomes convinced that Lila can help him manage his urges to kill.
On their return however, Rita discovers Dexter's secret road trip when Lila accidentally summarizes their trip over the answering machine. Assuming that Dexter and Lila had sex on their trip, Rita dumps Dexter. Out of stress and rage over the breakup, Dexter visits Lila's apartment only to end up sleeping with her for real due to the sexual tension and begins a romantic relationship with her.
The relationship does not last long however, when Lila begins to feel that Dexter is drifting apart from her (when in reality, he was just preoccupied with the Bay Harbor Butcher case). This drives her to reveal her hidden insanity: she sets fire to her own loft, helps Santos Jimenez attack Dexter (believing that she and Dexter are closest in times of crisis), and breaks into Rita's house, afraid that Dexter might have gotten back together with her. These actions convince Dexter that Lila is too unstable to pursue a relationship with, causing him to immediately end their affair.In retaliation, Lila begins dating Dexter's co-worker, Angel Batista. When she realizes this has no effect over Dexter, she has rough sex with Angel and then accuses him of rape (she had taken Rohypnol immediately after sex so it would look like he had drugged her) in an attempt to gain Dexter's sympathy. Enraged, Debra runs a background check and discovers Lila's real surname (West) and the fact that she has been illegally living in the United States on an expired visa. Debra then confronts her and demands that she leave the country or be deported. Lila, following Dexter and watching him on his boat with Rita, Astor and Cody, breaks into his van, takes his GPS device and finds the address for Jimenez's cabin. Arriving at the cabin, she finds Doakes caged inside and, upon learning from him that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher, decides to protect Dexter and sets flame to a table before releasing gas from propane tanks inside the cabin, killing Doakes.
After Dexter discovers that Lila killed Doakes, he meets with her to thank her for the intervention and offers her a chance to run away, when in reality he meant to kill her in a remote location. However, when she discovers that Dexter meant to kill her she abducts Astor and Cody as revenge. Although Dexter tracks them down, Lila traps them inside her loft and sets it ablaze saying they "Could have had it all". Fortunately, Dexter and the kids narrowly escape, and Lila flees Miami.While living in Paris, Lila checks her mail and discovers a postcard from Miami with Doakes' picture on the back. Dexter, who was in the room the entire time, injects Lila with a spinal epidural (so he can speak his piece to her while also ensuring that her death is painless) and lays her down on the couch. Lila pleads for her life and tells him that she killed Doakes and tried to get rid of the children for Dexter's sake. Dexter thanks her for helping him embrace what he is, and then stabs her through the heart. He wraps her corpse in a plastic clothing bag.
- Officially she is the second main antagonist and the first to be female, the second one being Maria LaGuerta.
- She is the first central antagonist of the series who does not have a presence in all episodes of the season, with her being absent in the first two episodes of Season 2; while Season 1's Brian Moser did not appear in all of its episodes, he was still a threat from the premiere to the finale.
- Lila is not the only antagonist to travel to another country (in her case, France) to escape Dexter's and the authorities' grasp. The second antagonist with a similar fate was Steve Gonzalez, from the comics which follow the novels continuity. Brandon Weiss also traveled out of the country, but instead of escaping from Dexter, he actually traveled to Cuba in order to prove Dexter is a killer in front of worldwide television. Dexter chased Brandon in Cuba but ultimately failed to kill him there.