Deputy Chief Thomas Matthews is a Main Character in DEXTER. Tom was originally the Captain of Miami Metro Homicide within the Miami Metro Police Department, dealing specifically with political factors in the series, while acting as the direct supervisor for Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta. After the events of the Bay Harbor Butcher Investigation, he was promoted to Deputy Chief and takes on a much more distant role from Homicide, only intervening when the situation falls out of LaGuerta's hands, who becomes a major public relations issue.
Tom Matthews was one of Harry Morgan's closest friends, having known him for years on the force and having respect for each other that was unrivaled. Tom is the last man to speak with Harry while he was alive, a day before his suicide and was given the duty of watching over Harry's children. Tom, faithful to his friend's honor, did just that and has kept watch over both Dexter Morgan and Debra Morgan. His interaction with Debra usually involves words about her father, either praising her actions saying that he would be proud or condoning them, saying that Harry never would have done something like that. Dexter on the other hand is kept limited, only involving the utmost of importance such as finding out what really happened to Harry or when Dexter was brought in to analyze a Bloodslide Box that they believed to belong to James Doakes.
The prime contact for Tom is his Lieutenant (now promoted to Captain) Maria LaGuerta. Tom promoted her himself following a "successful" bust that only herself and Sergeant James Doakes knew the full details on and ever since that promotion, the two have been fighting a fierce political war with one another. Tom's moral and ethic views are sound, he believes in the best for the people and if he sees conflict within his department, LaGuerta ends up in his cross hairs rather quickly.
Tom is an older Caucasian man in his 60's with blue eyes and tan skin. With age he shows wrinkles in his face but his smile matches that of a man half his age. He has short, white hair that's combed to match his professionalism. He stands rather tall, often towering over his subordinates in Miami Metro especially compared to Maria LaGuerta.
He is almost always seen wearing a professional business suit, dressed to match the politics within the police force and his high-grade position. Depending on the circumstance, he can also be seen wearing his Badge worn around the neck as with many Detectives in Miami. If the situation calls for it he also wears a bulletproof vest.
Tom's casual attire is fairly corporate casual, mostly consisting of polo T-shirts and dress pants. While in an early retirement, he can be seen wearing collared shirts themed off of beaches and palm trees.
While he originally promoted LaGuerta to her position as Lieutenant, he frequently clashed with her, and wound up (temporarily) installing another Lieutenant to supervise her after several mistakes during the Ice Truck Killer Investigation that embarrass him personally. Despite his flaws and his own political ambition (the latest effort of which involves Tom planning to use the fame of successfully ending the Bay Harbor Butcher case to propel himself to the position of Deputy Chief); Tom is truly a good man at heart, truly caring about the officers under his command and how they perform in the field; but most especially by the fact that, before his close friend Harry Morgan committed suicide, he made Tom promise to look after Dexter and Debra; which is what he has done to this day. The prime examples are shown how he was proud of Debra's growing ranks over the years and her promotion to Lieutenant, having viewed her as much as her father Harry. With Dexter it is not as much, but he has stated he cares for Dexter almost as much as Debra, but he knows of Dexter's intelligence and values his work highly, knowing he can get the job done. He also refused to believe he was the Bay Harbor Butcher, having personally talked with him first to prove otherwise and voice his opinion on the subject. He was relieved to see he was right, unaware Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. In a way, Debra has admitted she views Matthews as the closest thing to a father to her, to which Matthews views the both of them as if they were his own children. Overall, there might be truth to what Maria said to Tom. "You are letting your feelings for the Morgans cloud your judgements."
Throughout the series, Tom is constantly clashing with LaGuerta on numerous subjects, whether it involves Debra's promotion to homicide or Lieutenant or her questioning her fellow officers in an investigation. Such times were when LaGuerta refuses to listen to Debra on numerous occasions in Season 1, which most of Debra's hunches were right that left LaGuerta unable to accept. Tom also likes the press, using it constantly to prove his worth the department for himself, even using the ITK case to make himself look good by saying he was the one who arrested him despite LaGuerta being the one who did it, much to her anger. She later got him back by going to the press against his wishes and told everyone about the real ITK was still at large. This resulted in Tom getting her back by having a replacement Lieutenant in her place, angering her greatly even further. Tom would later state the real reason he can't stand her is because of her arrogance, that she thinks she knows everything without all the facts. The prime example was her belief Dexter is the real BHB and that Doakes is innocent despite all the evidence being there. She also blackmailed Tom to promote her to Captain over an affair he had with someone. Nonetheless, Tom has proven to have some respect for LaGuerta, such as commending her for outsmarting her in him being forcibly retired and that she plays the game well.
Tom is also slightly a player, having a relationship with prostitutes after his wife's passing stating he's been lonely since her death and been seeing some lately in Season 6 in secret to most (except LaGuerta who would blackmail him for a promotion). Debra commented on this that his late wife would be ashamed of him for this.
Due to his position as Captain then as Deputy Chief, his appearances are typically brief and rare because of his business in politics. As such, he is only seen when he needs to be there.
Tom is first seen with LaGuerta over the ITK case and how Debra found the Ice Truck like Debra insinuated was the cause of the case and how LaGuerta didn't listen to her about it. He forces LaGuerta to promote Debra to Homicide despite her protests and has an emotional moment with Debra over her promotion and congratulates her for it. He later shows disappointment over Deb going to him over a case when LaGuerta doesn't listen to her and says that is a low blow. However, he does the same to LaGuerta, stating she needs to listen to her officers when they voice their opinions and needs to stop being so sure of herself.
When the first suspect is Tony Tucci, Matthews reveals he is innocent causing LaGuerta (who believed it was him, again without all the facts) to still believe he is there guy causing Tom to snap at her telling her to open her eyes that this is just the embarrassment she's gonna have to deal with. He later is present with Deb and Dexter happy to have found Tony alive. As they gain a suspect in the case who Tom believes to be the killer, he takes the credit from LaGuerta, much to her anger. She later gets him back revealing to the press the guy isn't the killer behind Tom's back and he gets a mouth from the board and the press. this causes him to find a replacement for Lieutenant from LaGuerta named Pascal, which makes LaGuerta enraged at this and is demoted to Detective for the rest of Season 1.
Matthews is usually seen assisting in the BHB case from afar and introducing special agent Frank Lundy and how they will solve the case. He attempts to use the case for his own benefit and tell the world about the Butcher, but is surprisingly convinced by Lundy to not do so. He is later present demanding answers from Dexter about the bloodslide box and how he states he's discovered Doakes as the BHB. He told the entire department, who was left incredibly shocked by the news, except for LaGuerta who refused to believe it. He eventually gives LaGuerta her old position back after seeing Pascal's frantic behavior around the department, unaware it was due to LaGuerta sleeping with her fiancé. He constantly refuses to listen to LaGuera's beliefs that the evidence on Doakes doesn't prove anything and becomes irritated by her taking personal time to prove his innocence. He later is visited by Dexter off duty who just tells Dex to be casual with him and call him Tom. He then reveals the information Dexter feared: Harry killed himself and shows his comfort to Dexter over the news. After the cabin incident, Tom is present over Doakes' dead body and believes the evidence present is enough to close the case, much to Dexter's relief. He, along with Debra and Batista are present as they are given awards for there efforts in the BHB case.
For unknown reasons, Tom Matthews did not appear during the entire duration of the Skinner Case or the Prado Fiasco, nor was he mentioned by anyone within the department. According to Tom during the Bay Harbor Butcher Investigation, he intended to use the case's popularity and importance in his campaign for Deputy Chief. He was still the Captain near the closing of the case but sometime between the end of that case and near the end of the Vacation Murders Case (nearly two years later) he had obtained his position and operated behind the scenes. To put it in basic terms, Geoff Pierson did not have any appearances in Season Three as Tom Matthews.
Tom is mostly seen again butting heads with LaGuerta over the Trinity case and her growing relationship with Batista. He eventually tells her to call it off stating it may be a mistake. However, she refuses and the two marry each other which Matthews is not pleased about, prompting LaGuerta to snap back asking what it is he has against her prompting Tom to finally reveal why: her arrogance. Tom was also seen with Debra at one point over her shooting, admitting his relief she's alright.
When LaGuerta is promoted to Captain, it is later revealed she blackmailed Tom into promoting her. When the position of Lieutenant was originally offered to Batista due to him having much more experience, due to an incident with Debra having busted a perp during a shoot-out, Matthews, having likely watched it on YouTube, decides to let her have the position. LaGuerta does not take this kindly and insults him afterwards to his face saying this will blow in his face. After Deb's first press conference, though Deb believes she screwed up, Tom reveals the board actually likes her as she's direct. Though surprised, Deb is happy and Tom tells her to keep up the good work. Tom is conflicted with the recent death of a woman named Jessica Morris, which he is revealed to have had an accidental hand in. What is referred to now as the Dead Call Girl Case, newly promoted Lieutenant Debra Morgan (who was promoted by Tom's carefully selected decision process) has discovered that Tom is actually involved in the death of the prostitute and he feels that her getting too close will cost him his career. He intends to use Captain Maria LaGuerta to deal with this situation and has recently called for a dinner where he will meet with Debra to talk about the case. She would tell him what she knew about his involvement and would confess to what really happened and asked to help it go away due to it being an accident. Debra, due to him being very close to him agreed, however, it turns out LaGuerta used the information on Tom and betrayed him and had him forcibly retired by the board when she told them. Tom however, believed it to be Debra who sold him out but she stated she never would do that and Debra would confront LaGuerta for doing such a low tactic, knowing full well she did it for her own personal gain. As such, LaGuerta will now take over Tom's position possibly as Deputy Chief.
After much absence, Tom is finally brought back during LaGuerta's suspicion that Dexter is the BHB. He is seen on his boat drinking scotch greeting LaGuerta as she confides her suspicion that the BHB is alive and well. Tom doesn't believe her, stating the evidence was all against Doakes, but seems to show surprise after hearing a blood slide found at Travis Marshall's' church site. Though reluctant at first, Tom decides to help after discovering LaGuerta was the one who sold him out to the board and shows his anger despite LaGuerta stating he started it. He intends to help for his own reason for his 40-year pension despite LaGuerta's displease at the prospect.
As they dig into the case, the revisit the cabin Doakes died in and discover that Santos Jimenez had rented the cabin, prompting Tom to realize who he is and reveals to LaGuerta Jimenez is responsible for Dexter's mother's death and changing Brian, Dexter's brother, into becoming the ITK. This causes LaGuerta to, after hearing Jimenez's disappearance and Dexter's background, immediately starts to believe Dexter set Doakes up and he is the true BHB. Tom however, refuses to believe her and keeps LaGuerta to question him stating he'll do it having known Dexter since he was a boy.
As Tom talks personally to Dexter, he confides how LaGuerta believes he is the butcher (though Dexter is able to see that Tom also believes it in some way). Dexter then tells him about a boat Doakes once had to lead him off the case which has Tom believe him. He tells LaGuerta about this and she doesn't believe him stating she would have known if Doakes had a boat. They find a tackle box from the old cabin and find a key to a marina and, believing it to be Doakes's old boat spot, search the area and find several sheets of plastic, knives and one with degraded blood on it with Doakes's fingerprints on it. This causes Tom to immediately believe Dexter, but LaGuerta still believes other wise stating Dexter could have planted (which is actually true) it despite Tom's refusal and that Maria should move on. She says she'll keep her word and give Tom his pension and later is visited by Dexter where the two make amends for each other's suspicions.
Matthews is along the rest of the members of the Miami Metro Police Department that are present at LaGuerta's memorial. After Batista's speech, he ends the memorial presenting a bench, made in honor of Maria LaGuerta, and her service to Miami.
In the novels
In the novels, he is just Captain Matthews, and was a friend of Harry Morgan. He has always been captain, and still is as of Double Dexter. He is described as being vacuous and vainglorious, who seeks out the media, and wanting good press. He shows some friendliness to Dexter Morgan and Deborah Morgan, including in the first novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, giving Deborah an in, into the Homicide Squad, similar to how the first TV episodes played out.
- He does not appear in season 3.
- The picture used in Episode 610: Ricochet Rabbit for his informational page is actually a photograph used from this page. Of note, the picture was also used on this Wiki for at least three years as the profile picture. The picture isn't even from DEXTER, it was a professional photograph taken during the Changeling movie premiere.
- Matthews becomes a main cast member in Season 8, along with Jamie Batista. Why the two of them were bumped up to Main Cast is uncertain, as they have relatively the same amount of screentime as the previous seasons.