Rita Bennett (later Rita Morgan) was a character in DEXTER and acts as Dexter Morgan's "significant other". She has two children (from a previous relationship), Astor and Cody Bennett, and much later in the series, a third child named Harrison.
Rita is a concerned mother who comes from a damaged relationship and, like Debra Morgan, she has her own story-line which progresses along with the main course of the plot. While she tended in the first season to be naively unaware of Dexter's flaws, a complicated situation involving Lila West, after which she and Dexter grew apart and eventually reconnected, changed the fundamental nature of their relationship; where she had previously paid his long absences and flimsy cover stories no mind, Rita began to pick up on Dexter's lies and occasionally questioned his erratic behavior. Ultimately, however, Dexter's attachment to Rita and Rita's devotion to Dexter continued to grow throughout their relationship and eventual marriage. Tragically, this was cut short when Rita was murdered by Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer, as punishment for Dexter's constant pursuit of him- and to remind him that he can never escape his demons.
Rita Bennett was born Rita Ann Brandon in Ashley, MI on April 19th, 1973 (approximate date) to mother Gail Marie Brandon and an unknown father (possibly deceased). Not a great deal of her early life is revealed, though via a marriage certificate from back when she was 16 years old, it is revealed that she lived at 321 Elmview Lane in Ashley, MI 48806, likely the same residence she had lived in when she was born. Her husband at the time was John Alan Ackerman, a 21 year old mechanic whom she married on August 16th, 1989. On January 6th, 1990 they divorced (as Dexter feels, was due to a teen romance quickly vanishing).
Rita would meet Paul Bennett some time after, deciding to get married to him and would bear two children, Astor and Cody. This marriage too would prove to be an unhealthy one, this time leading to her abuse at the hands of Paul and having to deal with his drug addiction. Attempting to escape Paul, she moved to Miami with her two children but he followed them, getting arrested by Debra Morgan during a domestic disturbance call, prompting Debra to introduce her to Dexter.
The date was awkward for the both of them, Rita had just escaped a dangerous relationship and Dexter happened to be a serial killer...though none of this information was conveyed upon their first meeting (especially in Dexter's case). Dexter, who was attempting to form a normal life in an attempt to blend in with society also used this date as an opportunity to watch his next target, Marcetti. When Marcetti stood up to leave, Dexter followed suit but to be polite and nice he paid for the dinner, saying it was a pleasure to meet with her. Not a whole lot of thought went into his head at that time about Rita but she called him later that night, during a time Dexter was discarding of Marcetti's corpse in the bay. She spoke of how she wanted to meet him again, to get to know him more...and for the first time in Dexter's life, he agreed to it...having this feeling inside of him that drew his emotions towards her.
Due to her violent past, Rita initially had very little interest in sex, which worked well for Dexter, who considered himself emotionally removed from humanity. Dexter said that he feels Rita is a perfect girlfriend because she was "'as damaged'" as Dexter "'in her own way'".
Rita had no idea that Dexter is secretly a serial killer, and is in fact delighted with how great he seems to be with the children, and how much they seem to love Dexter. Rita begins to grow more confident in herself and, thus, her sexual appetite toward Dexter grows.
Season OneIn Season 1, Rita is portrayed as a mother of two who is slowly recovering from being abused by her (eventual) ex-husband, Paul. Dexter was originally introduced to her by Debra, who responded to the domestic violence call and saved her life. Dexter originally stayed with her to maintain his cover while being a serial killer (in his own words, Dexter stated he chose Rita because she was as damaged as he was, and so briefly feared that if she got better, he'd lose her). Nevertheless, Rita tentatively started a real relationship with Dexter, while remaining unaware of how he spends all of his free time. Her past abuse made her temporarily uninterested in sex.
Eventually their relationship was consummated. Rita stood up to Paul by demanding he sign the divorce papers he refused in prison and she offers supervised weekly visits. He at first tries to intimidate her, but signs them when she does not back down. Paul comes into the house drunk one night, and Rita reluctantly lets him in. He wrestles her on her bed and she successfully knocks him out with a baseball bat. He then sues her for custody of the kids. Dexter takes it into his own hands by knocking him out and making it appear Paul had taken illegal drugs again, and he is sent back to prison. Paul pleads with her in prison not to let Dexter near their children, claiming that Dexter had framed him, but she brushes him off. She later finds Paul's shoe outside of her house—just where he said it ended up after Dexter knocked him out.
Rita's relationship with Dexter becomes troubled. After discovering what Dexter did to Paul, she suspects that Dexter owned the drugs Paul was injected with. Dexter allows her to think he is an addict, as it is better than saying he is a serial killer. She pushes him into Narcotics Anonymous and threatens to leave him when he expresses reluctance. Although he begins to work through the program, Rita suspects (incorrectly) he is having an affair with his sponsor, Lila, and breaks up with him. In anguish, Dexter then turns to Lila, and consummates what had before been (on his part, at least) a platonic relationship. When Rita tries to reconcile with Dexter, she learns that the relationship was now a romantic and sexual one. Rita makes the break official, although her children still try to maintain a relationship with Dexter. After Dexter lies to Lila about working late (he had gone to kill Jimenez), Lila breaks into Rita's house, afraid that they had rekindled their relationship. Angered, Dexter breaks up with her. The next day, Dexter apologized to Rita for his infidelity, saying that Lila is one of his biggest mistakes. Later, she calls him and states she wants him back, due to her "feelings for him". His breakup with Lila, his love for Rita and her children, and his sincere regret over what he had done convinces Rita to start dating him again. By the last episode of Season 2, their relationship is back on solid ground.
Rita is enjoying her relationship with Dexter once again, and then suddenly discovers, unexpectedly, that she is pregnant with Dexter's baby (later revealed to be a boy). Knowing that being a single parent was one of her few achievements, Rita decided to keep the baby, and left Dexter's role in the child's life entirely up to him. After much deliberation, Dexter decided (with the help of Debra and an ensuing punch) that he'll be there for the child and Rita eventually accepts his marriage proposal. Rita lost her job when she was rude to a customer, but got back on her feet when friend Sylvia Prado (wife of Miguel Prado), a well-off real estate agent herself, hired Rita as her assistant. We have not seen her actually go to work in her new position however, so it is possible that she has now let Dexter financially take care of her and the three children.
In the Season 3 finale, Dexter discovered that Rita was briefly married when she was sixteen, something she never told him. She also lied outright when he subtly asked her about it. After some reflection, he decided to let Rita keep her secrets as he would be keeping his own.
After the baby (named Harrison after Dexter's father) is born, Rita and Dexter move in together to a house in the suburbs. Rita begins to notice a pattern of lies by Dexter, including lying about the concussion he suffered in the car accident, how serious the accident was, and the fact that he kept his old apartment. Rita and Dexter then go to a marriage counselor, who sorts out their problems and puts peace between them. However, their neighbor, Elliot, begins to fall for Rita, kissing her and pointing out that Dexter is never home.... Though she initially kisses him back, she quickly ends it before something begins. She eventually admits this to Dexter and is worried that he may not have seemed to care that she nearly cheated on him but she is later pleased when she sees him punch Elliot over it.In the Season 4 finale, Dexter pursues the Trinity Killer and sideswipes another car. After an argument with the person who owned the damaged car, Dexter is arrested for assaulting the policeman who arrived at the scene. Rita goes to the police precinct to pick Dexter up and he apologizes to Rita for losing control of the situation. Rita tells Dexter that he is an integral part of her family and she would be crushed if he went away. Dexter discusses his demons but she assures him that because she loves him, and any demons that he has can be conquered. Dexter begs Rita to leave early for their honeymoon, to which she finally agrees. Later, after finally murdering Trinity, Dexter returns home to find a voicemail from Rita, who tells him she left her ID at home, and would take a later flight after going back to pick it up. Dexter calls Rita's phone and is shocked when it rings from inside her purse on the table. He hears his son Harrison crying, and finds the baby in a pool of blood and Rita's lifeless body in a blood-filled bathtub, the apparent last murder of the Trinity Killer. He appears to be genuinely devastated by her death, flashing back to his own childhood trauma, before he picks Harrison up and carries him away, exactly like Harry did with Dexter.
In the novels
Main Article: Rita Morgan (Novels)
Other appearancesRita makes a small appearance in Dexter: The Game. She goes out with Dexter to the Crab Festival after Dexter finishes with Jamie Jaworski. After participating on the festival with Dexter, the latter interrupts their date to focus on a new victim of the Ice Truck Killer who appears to be near the festival.
- Dexter was Rita's third husband, with John Alan Ackerman being her first and Paul Bennett being her second.
- Rita's marriage certificate (shown in Episode 312: Do You Take Dexter Morgan?) to John Alan Ackerman has multiple errors regarding date. The certificate claims she was born on April 19, 1989...which would be impossible for several reasons:
- She would have only been just under 4 months old at the time of her marriage to Ackerman, which is illegal in any state and would contradict with the story saying that she was married at 16.
- She would only be 20 as of 2009, which would make Dexter a decade older than her and with her kids being close to 10 and 12, another virtual impossibility.
- In addition to Rita's incorrect year of birth, her husband John Alan Ackerman is also given an incorrect year. He is shown to have been born on July 25, 1984 which would only make him 5 years old at the time of the marriage to a near 4 month old Rita. To calculate both their ages, Rita is said to be 36 in 2009...subtract 36 by 2009 and you went up with 1973 as her true year of birth. Ackerman is 5 years older than her, so his birth date would actually be in 1968.
- Strangely enough, not only is the marriage certificate wrong but so is the divorce finalization slip. They both married on August 16, 1989 as confirmed on both the marriage certificate and divorce paper. However, the paper claims the marriage lasted a duration of 6 months (as Dexter then repeats in his head) but the divorce was finalized on January 6th, 1990. That is less than 10 days before the 16th, so technically the marriage only lasted a duration of 4 and a half months plus a few days, though on paper it would likely read as 5 months, not 6.
- Ironically, she was angry at Dexter for not sharing all of his life with her, yet she chose to stay silent about her first marriage.