The Character Sheet for Showtime's Dexter. Beware of spoilers, only spoilers from the seventh and eighth seasons are meant to be blacked out. All character sheets contain major spoilers. Proceed reading at your own risk.note As per wiki's policy, all trope names should be visible which may indicate if the character died or if they are deceiving.
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"I'm Dexter, and... I'm not sure what I am. I just know there's something dark in me."
Played by: Michael C. Hall
"I'm not the monster he wants me to be. So I'm neither man nor beast. I'm something new entirely, with my own set of rules. I'm Dexter."
The show's protagonist. Dexter was adopted into his foster-family as a three-year old after his mother was murdered in front of him. Growing up with bloodthirsty tendencies, Dexter was trained by his father to direct his urges to kill at those who "deserve it", and to never get caught. Works as a blood spatter analyst for Miami Metro PD.
Ambiguous Disorder: He’s said to be sociopathic, but he is far too restrained and can calculate too well into the future to be one. He was never diagnosed as such, as he deliberately messed with the diagnosis under Harry’s request which leaves us with yet inexplicable violent urges and lack of ability to socialise and feel empathy. Overall, the safest diagnosis for him is a psychopath. Not in the common Hollywood definition of the term, but in the actual clinical definition; antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, high self confidence, social assertiveness, fearlessness, poor impulse control, and disinhibited or bold behavior. Still, even that doesn't fit him entirely.
Anti-Hero (Nominal Hero): While Dexter may be the protagonist of the series, and his actions are mostly directed at those who could be considered morally worse than himself, he only does it because of his own urges to kill.
Anti-Villain (Type I or Type II): Despite being a serial killer, Dexter does have redeeming qualities and virtues that make him a character who can be rooted for and sympathized with. The Code of Harry and Dexter's personal inhibitions, such as being incapable of harming children or his family, are one of many things that ultimately assist in demonstrating that Dexter is not as monstrous as he thinks he is. And his traumatic experience as a child, which provoked his compulsion to kill, is an event that is shown to have deeply affected Dexter and continues to do so even years later.
Asexuality: Subverted. In the pilot, Dexter says, ‘I don't understand sex. Not that I have anything against women, and I certainly have an appropriate sensibility about men, but when it comes to the actual act of sex, it's always just seemed so undignified.’ Later on, it turns out he is pretty sexual, but he’s aversive towards sex because somehow his partners get a glimpse of what he’s really like. He sticks with Rita because somehow she doesn’t.
Batman Gambit: He tells Oliver Saxon he will kill him with the pen on his desk when he comes to perform a GSR test on him. Oliver grabs the pen and stabs him with it, but misses and lodges it in his shoulder; Dexter seizes the opportunity to overpower him, grab the pen, and lodge it in his neck, thereby allowing Dexter to argue for self defence.
Battle Trophy: Dexter takes a blood sample from every killer he's killed. Until season 7, when he stops after Deb confronts him for it, and destroys them all.
Becoming the Mask: The fake life co-created with Harry as a cover to kill gradually becomes real.
Berserk Button: Some advice if you live in Miami: be gentle with Rita, and don't try to harm any children. He also becomes very protective of Lumen.
Break Their Heart to Save Them: Dexter fakes his own death to leave Hannah's and Harrison's life for good, as he believes he will destroy their lives too if he stays with them.
But Not Too Gay: In the series premier, Dexter says, ‘I don't have anything against women, and I certainly have an appropriate sensibility about men [...]’ However, he never so much as checks another man out throughout the whole series. Then again, this could be chalked up to Early-Installment Weirdness. Though this view relies on what one thinks an "appropriate sensibility about men" is.
Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Dexter jokingly remarks "Can't live with her, can't kill her" about his sister Debra. He doesn’t actually dislike her though, just hates the fact she inhibits his possibility of killing. He makes huge efforts to defend her.
Combat Pragmatist: When in doubt, if Dexter isn't able to murder his victim in his Kill Room, he will find ways to kill them. Best seen when he takes out Oliver Saxon, the Brain Surgeon with a fucking pen.
Control Freak: He keeps everything tightly organized, and rarely trusts others to do things right. He does not react well when people interfere with his stuff, be it his computer or his shed or...anything, really.
Creature of Habit: He's obsessed with daily rituals and routines of his and other peoples.
Disposing of a Body: Wraps the bodies in plastics, hacks'em good and then drops'em to the bottom of the sea.
Does Not Like Guns: He prefers to kill with knives, since they leave less evidence behind.
Doom Magnet: By the end of the series, Dexter has killed over a hundred people and caused the deaths of many people around him, including relatively innocent people such as Doakes, Rita, Laguerta, and ultimately is forced to mercy kill Debra.
He brags of being a "very neat monster" and doesn't look too well on those who don't tidy their playground, whatever it may be.
He despises anyone who hurts kids in any shape or form.
When a copycat killer of the Bay Harbor Butcher shows up, he's very unhappy about it.
He also doesn't like to tamper with evidence unless it's his own hide on the rope, and even then he half-heartedly does it. Makes you wonder why he went into forensics if he wasn't prepared to someday use the position to tamper with some incriminating evidence against himself.
Flanderization In the beginning of the series his social facade is actually believable, as intended with Harry's lessons in blending in. He smiles, cracks jokes, flirts and offers insightful comments, is only entirely clueless about some of the deeper emotional issues pertaining to relationships and makes up for his lack of empathy by being incredibly observant, an expert liar and thinking on his feet, and his inner monologue is mostly cynical comments, snarkery and exposition. By the third season he seems to have no idea how to act in any situation whatsoever, comes off as incredibly slow-witted in general conversation, and his inner monologue is 90% self-centered poetic imagery.
Perhaps the most notable is Debra, his sister. Dexter is very much in control of his life and is also a serial killer. Debra's personal life is a constant mess, but she's a brilliant detective and believes in the strength of the legal process. Both of them also have amazing natural intuition, which helps them both track down serial killers.
The Ice Truck Killer, a.k.a. Rudy Cooper, a.k.a. Brian, his brother. Both have an instinctual need to kill and enjoy their respective rituals. However, Dexter is bound by his code and has loved ones he doesn't want to hurt, whilst Brian is Ax-Crazy and only cares about fulfilling his need.
Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer. Like Brian, both Dexter and Trinity have a ritualistic need to kill that stems from a Freudian Excuse. They're also both family men with a wife and children to look after. The difference is Dexter actually cares about his family and treats them with respect, while Trinity is an Abusive Parent with control issues.
The Brain Surgeon, a.k.a. Oliver Saxon, a.k.a. Daniel Vogel. He is even viewed as mirroring the Ice Truck Killer in almost all of his tendencies, but his desire is to harm Dexter while Brian's was to be in Dexter's life and free him from the Code. In addition, as opposed to Brian, the Brain Surgeon shared Dexter's ultimate goal of living a normal life.
Freudian Excuse: Witnessing the murder of his mother and be left in the ensuing blood pool.
Happily Adopted: Finds a new and caring family, but his darkness can't be erased.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Dexter often monologues that he wishes he could feel like everyone else, stripped of his own drives to slaughter. He even uses this to get closer to Rita after asking a couple about the secret of a successful relationship right before he kills them.
It's All My Fault: Dexter frequently believes he’s the cause of all the horrible things people around him go through and struggles to stop it from happening. Debra defies it in the series finale, saying she’s an adult who’s responsible for her own choices, but she develops a blood clot during her operation that would not let her reason or even eat on her own. When the doctor says it would take a miracle for her to really recover, Dexter says he’s never seen a miracle, implying that being saved in the ocean by a boat named ‘Miracle’note Well, it was named ‘Milagro’, which is Spanish for ‘miracle was not a miracle―it was a disaster.
Knife Nut: Has an aversion for guns so his evidence-free routine involves a knife, but he sometimes chooses a more exotic weapon - axe, chainsaw, hammer...
Lackof Empathy: He thinks he is this, and for the first two seasons, he's mostly right. However, come season three and beyond, Dexter begins to realize he truly does care about others around him, especially Debra and his family. And ultimately, his progress was all for nothing, as his sense of empathy and emotional development hinders his abilities to kill his targets, causing the death of Rita, the dissolution of his family, nearly kills him when he's facing Travis Marshall, and leads to Vogel being killed and Debra being shot. He is ultimately forced to abandon his son and girlfriend and ends the series a devastated shell, capable of feeling emotions and all the pain that comes with it.
Manipulative Bastard: He successfully plays the Miami Metro staff several times, such as leading them to believe Brian Moser killed himself or that Hector Estrada and Maria LaGuerta killed each other.
Mr. Fanservice: Particularly in season 2, Dexter is frequently shown half-naked and Michael C. Hall sure isn't bad looking...
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Several times, especially in later seasons when he begins to start breaking the code with some regularity by going after people who the police were about to catch, instead of people who were slipping through the cracks like he's supposed to. As a result of his bloodlust, his wife is killed by Trinity.
Travis Marshall makes that fatal mistake near the end of season 6.
Dexter somehow survives sailing into a violent storm in the series finale.
Not So Different: From Hector Estrada, the man who ordered the murder of his mother, of all people.
Papa Wolf: People who even mildly threaten his kids meet a very bad end. A paedophile that targets Astor, Lila West, Travis Marshall...all dead.
Pay Evil unto Evil: The whole premise behind the code isn't justice, it's to focus his own evil urges in a way that is 'productive', targeting only criminals that have escaped punishment.
Poetic Serial Killer: When particularly disgusted or angered by a killer, or when it's necessary, he kills them with a method that's relevant to their crime, such as bludgeoning Arthur Mitchell with a hammer, or drowning Nick at the same beach he had been baptized at by the man he killed, Brother Sam.
Principles Zealot: He knows without the Code he'd slip into the darkness completely and become like his brother.
Psychotic Smirk: Fantastic things are done with lighting to make Michael C. Hall look as much like Light Yagami as possible when he turns on the evil grin.
Serial-Killer Killer: His whole schtick is that he kills other killers. He isn't limited to serial killers, but he's certainly taken them out. Brian Moser, Miguel Prado, Arthur Mitchell, Walter Kenney, Travis Marshall, Raymond Speltzer...
The Sociopath: Zig-Zagged throughout the series. During the first two seasons, this trope is played straight with Dexter given his general portrayal as a completely self-absorbed individual who is only capable of feeling alive when killing. However, in Seasons 3-6, Dexter steadily becomes more conscious of the needs and feelings of those in his life and begins to take a personal interest in their well-being. However, throughout Season 7 and the first half of Season 8, the legitimacy of Dexter's newfound humanity is brought into doubt after he realizes that he kills others merely because he enjoys it and begins to suspect that his attachment towards others may be nothing more than a self-serving front for possessive feelings characteristic of all sociopaths. Nevertheless, by the end of the series, Dexter ultimately subverts this trope when he learns at a terrible cost that he has grown to value those in his life far more than his own bloodlust and happiness.
Sociopathic Hero: Particularly in the first two seasons, where Dexter is doing relatively 'heroic' things, but has yet to develop the burgeoning sense of empathy and emotions that would later define his Character Development.
Sympathetic Murderer: He only kills abominable people who deserve to die because they got away. His justice system is extremely solid. Plus he's a charming guy.
Unreliable Narrator: Dexter often talks about how he doesn't have any emotions. While his emotions are definitely subdued, it's made pretty clear that he cares for the people close to him and have a conscience, that although quiet most of the time, still occasionally haunts him. He's pretty reliable regarding everything but himself.
Vigilante Man: Part of his trademark is that he only goes after other bad guys (with a few exceptions). He's explicitly referred to as this, when a comic book writer bases his work on him and makes him into a Batman/Punisher/Spawn hybrid called 'The Dark Defender'.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Double subverted. His methods certainly are extreme and his target selection ensures that he's probably a net positive force in the universe, but he doesn't do it to make the world a better place, he does it because he needs to. However, as time passes by, he begins to kill people for their moral reprehensibility, as his urges seem to lessen somewhat.
Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Dexter is fond of children, finding them to be more interesting and easier to understand than adults, and he tends to drop his normally calm attitude around those of his victims that preys on them. He even broke his code of only killing murders to get rid of a paedophile who was stalking Astor.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Dexter often projects his own experiences and motivations onto other killers and thus misinterprets their motivations and reactions. He expects the killer to play out one of the usual stereotypes and is blindsided when the killer actually does something completely different. This gets him in a lot of trouble and gets a lot of people killed.
Xanatos Speed Chess: He often has to work on his own crime scenes, and has to play merry hell with the chain of evidence.
Your Cheating Heart: He cheated on Rita with Lila in season two. However, they had a big fight and Dexter interpreted it as a break-up.
"You say anything more about my brother and I will kick your fucking nuts down your throat."
Dexter's foul-mouthed, tomboyish foster-sister. Deb is a detective in Miami Metro's Homicide division. Debra believes she truly knew her father, but is in reality completely unaware of the secrets he kept—especially concerning Dexter (who she sees as a true brother). Inspired by their fathers' legendary police career, Debra joined the police and desperately yearned to become a Homicide Detective, which she achieves during the series.
Broken Bird: She's broken in-series at the hands of the Ice Truck Killer, and by getting shot and seeing her lover killed in series 4. This is lampshaded heavily in her therapy sessions in series 6. Being ignored by her father in favor of her adopted brother probably didn't help things. In series 7, she finds out Dexter's secret. She doesn't take it well.
Broken Pedestal: In season 7, Dexter's anchorage and high-concept gets broken for her after the reveal.
Cartwright Curse: Her love interests tend to either leave, die or turn out to be dicks.
Cluster F-Bomb: Hoo boy. Deb really likes swearing, legendarily so. Most characters have at one point or another referred to her as a "potty-mouth" or in some way referred to her impressive swearing skills.
Cool Aunt: To Rita's kids after Dexter and Rita got married, and she absolutely adores little Harrison.
Cool Little Sis: She loves Dexter a lot. They are really close and she gets pissed whenever she feels he shuts her out, which is fairly often.
Deuteragonist: She tends to have the second important plot after Dexter, usually solving the crime that connects to one of Dexter's victims
Dirty Cop: Though a more sympathetic example. In season 7 after finding out Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. She does dirty things like hiding/manipulating evidence and then killing LaGuerta to protect Dexter.
Dropped A Bridge On Her: A particularly infuriating example; after she's shot by the Brain Surgeon, it's almost a given she'll bounce back, especially since this isn't the first time she's been shot. And then, random blood clot, and she's brain dead.
Fair Cop: She's absolutely hot and lots of her colleagues fancy her. Especially Masuka keeps mentioning she's hot and keeps hitting on her.
To Dexter. Dexter is cool, calm, collected, and very much in control of his life. He's also secretly a serial killer. Deb is insecure and constantly losing control of her personal life. She's also a brilliant detective and has a strong faith in the legal system.
Takes a whole new slant in season 7 when she finds out Dexter's secret. An entire episode is spent discussing the pros and cons of Dexter's vigilantism to Debra's following the law to the letter.
Genre Blind: In the novels, but even moreso in the television series. To the point where some viewers would block their ear-holes. Lampshaded in series 7 when she finds out Dexter is a serial killer.
Debra: I am the worst fucking detective in the world.
Married to the Job: Increasingly so, as times goes by she finds herself with a bigger commitment to the job and without a stable relationship outside the one with Dexter.
Mercy Kill: In the series finale, Dexter unplugs her from her life support, as the doctor says she will never be able to reason or eat on her own, and probably not even breathe without life support, due to the blood clot she suffered.
Not Blood Siblings: In season 6, she realizes she's in love with Dexter. In season 7, she tells him during a fight. Later on Dexter gets her to check how she feels again and realise her close connection him was only natural and not that kind of love.
Not So Different: She chooses to let the "vigilantes" go in Season 5, and previously made very clear what her thoughts about the case were.
Office Romance: She starts sleeping with and falls in love with Agent Lundy, their task force leader in season 2. In season 5, she starts a casual relationship with her colleague Quinn. There is also the implication that she has dated coworkers in the past, and even as far back as season 1 there's subtext indicating she and Sgt Doakes might have romantic interest in each other.
Rank Up: Gradually promoted from Officer to Detective and Lieutenant.
Secret Keeper: In Season 7 she finally learns the truth about her brother and helps him keep it a secret.
Shipper on Deck: For Dexter/Rita. She's the one that introduces them in the first place! In season 2, when Dexter was having an affair with Lila and Deb finds out, she calls him out on it and states that Rita was perfect for him, not that - as defined by Deb - "English titty vampire".
That Woman Is Dead: Says so after the events of season 7; she goes to the private sector and doesn't want anything to do with Dexter.
Thicker Than Water: Sticks her neck out for her brother time and again, despite not being blood related in the traditional sense.
Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season 8, she outright hates Dexter and has become addicted to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with killing LaGuerta, which she considers her Moral Event Horizon. Then, there is her killing El Sapo in a fit of rage.
The Unfavorite: Craved Harry's attention and envied Dexter for all the time that her father spent with him. She assumed the special relationship was due to favoritism, as the real reason was well hidden.
"Killing must serve a purpose. Otherwise, it's just plain murder."
Played by: James Remar
"Never underestimate the capacity of other people to let you down."
Adoptive father of Dexter and father of Deb, Harry Morgan is ten years deceased when the series begins. A renowned detective in his day, Morgan became frustrated at the perceived lack of justice in the system. Attempting to channel Dexter's sociopathy into a useful outlet - and to avoid him getting caught - he trains Dexter to become the perfect killer. Initially portrayed in flashbacks, he later manifests in Dexter's imagination, reminding Dexter what Harry taught him.
The Ace: He was a legend on the force from the seventies to the nineties. People still talk about him.
Broken Ace: He had issues with the injustice of the legal system, especially how some criminals manage to get away. It troubled him deeply and made him traumatize his kids. It ultimately drove him to decide that the best way to deal with his adoptive son's dark urges is to train him and turn him in serial killer who would hunt criminals.
Broken Pedestal: He's got a lot of darkness in him. Debra and Dexter saw him as a great father and the best cop there ever was, but both came to realize he was far from it.
Scare 'Em Straight: He brings Dexter to a live execution to instill in him the danger of getting caught.
Your Cheating Heart: He cheated on his wife with Laura Moser and possibly with other attractive informants.
"Don’t go down that emotion road, just go down on her. She’ll be distracted."
Played by: David Zayas
Angelo "Ángel" Batista is a Detective in Miami Metro Police Department's Homicide Division. Batista works closely with Dexter during cases, often teaming up with him for his expert advice on serial killers, and considers himself Dexter's best friend. Batista is basically good-natured, with a dry sense of humor. He is also totally honest, at the request of his beloved father on his deathbed. Angel is also shown wearing a Trilby Hat almost all the time.
10-Minute Retirement: Well on his way out in Season 7, the demise of LaGuerta makes him come back to the force.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Seems to view Dexter as his and has a much greater claim to it than probably anyone else on the series. He's one of the few people Dexter really likes and wishes he could be like him.
"Now you're dealing with science and science is one cold-hearted bitch with a fourteen inch strap-on."
Played by: CS Lee
"I got a reputation to live up to. I mean, if my show does not make people vomit and have an erection at the same time, then I've let my audience down."
Vince is the Miami Metro Police lead forensic investigator and works alongside Dexter in the lab and in crime scenes. He often cracks innuendo to the rest of the team, and harbors decidedly unrequited feelings for Debra. He is portrayed as obsessed with sex—the kinkier the better—and is not shy about propositioning every woman he meets.
Vitriolic Best Buds: With just about everyone, but mostly Debra. They enjoy trading insults as she pretends to be overly offended by his flirting.
"The operative word is "boss". Show some respect."
Played by: Lauren Velez
Captain María LaGuerta is a tough, ambitious woman in command of the Homicide division who is not above bullying her subordinates and manipulating those around her in order to climb the law enforcement hierarchy. She and Isaak Sirko serve as the main antagonists in Season 7.
Adaptation Expansion: In comparison to her book counterpart, Maria's character gets a lot more expanded, specially since her book counterpart was killed by Brian and Dexter quite early.
Bad Boss: At first, she's tough but fair. As she sees her ambitions begin to fall apart, however, she resorts to increasingly desperate measures to keep her power. This includes throwing her employees under the bus and taking credit for cases.
Blackmail: She reaches the top by blackmailing Matthews with a prostitute's client book.
Rank Up: Starts the series as lieutenant, gets promoted to Captain in season 6 after blackmailing Matthews.
Spared by the Adaptation: In the original books, she is killed by Dexter and Brian, but in the series, she doesn't even get into the situation her book counterpart did. However, this is subverted in Season 7, when Debra kills her in the finale.
Vetinari Job Security: Invoked when she gets briefly demoted by Matthews, as she makes Esmee Pascal fail to recover the job.
"This Dexter guy. First of all who the fuck is named Dexter? Did his parents know he was going to be a fucking egghead?"
Played by: Desmond Harrington
Joseph "Joey" Quinn is a detective who transferred to the Homicide division after being in narcotics before Season 3. He has a bad habit of leaping to conclusions from first impressions of the crime scene, as well as becoming hostile towards anyone who tries to correct him. Quinn takes a liking to Debra Morgan but, like Doakes before him, mistrusts Dexter.
Badass: He's kicked a fair amount of ass, such as the very-deserving George Novikov.
In season 4, he steals some money from a crime scene.
Also, when he was in narcotics, he took money from the Koshkas to look the other way. In season 7, he steals the proof against Isaak from the precint in exchange for Nadia's passport, but George double-crosses him and uses a recording of the deal to get him to keep helping the brotherhood. Then he kills George after he pushes him too far.
Good Is Not Nice: He's insensitive and takes offense easily, but at the end of the day he'll at least try to do the right thing.
Hero Antagonist: In Season 5, when he works to uncover who Dexter really is and unleashes Stan Liddy.
Love Makes You Dumb: Could be 'lust makes you dumb', since he has a habit of sleeping with people he shouldn't. For example, a reporter pumping him for information, a key witness in the Doomsday Murders, his boss, and a stripper working for the Russian mafia.
Rabid Cop: He really starts to lose his sense of morality after Debra break up with him.
Sex Equals Love: Quinn falls in love and proposes to Deb, while their relationship pretty much consisted of nothing more than sex. Deb even chews him out about the sudden proposal. In season 7, he falls quite quickly into a relationship with Nadia, too.
Took a Level in Jerkass: He went from Jerk with a Heart of Gold to just simply jerk in Season 6. List including bringing a stripper to his Ex's party, sleeping during work, sleeping with a potential witness, blaming others for his screw ups, drunkenly proposing to strippers, and telling Batista that he wants to have sex with his younger sister. How he isn't fired yet is a complete mystery. In season 7 he got better.
"I can't believe I found the one good, truly decent man left on the planet."
Dexter's girlfriend and later wife, who meets him through Deb. Rita is introduced as a damaged woman who received abuse from her ex-husband Paul, and is grateful for Dexter to give her support. Dexter also helps to look after her children, Astor and Cody. She is kind-hearted and nice to just about anyone, and Dexter ends up truly falling for her. She is horribly murdered by Arthur Mitchell in the season four finale.
Aborted Arc: Dexter discovers on the third season that she was married once, before marrying Paul. However, he decides to respect her privacy and the issue is never mentioned again.
Abusive Parents: Her mother was overly judgmental, as well as verbally and emotionally abusive.
Batter Up: Uses a bat to defend herself from Paul.
The Beard: Unknowingly started off as this for Dexter. No longer applies after he grows to genuinely care for her and the kids.
Betty and Veronica: For Dexter, she's a Betty to Lila's Veronica. She's the good and wholesome one.
Break the Cutie: Breaking of this particular Cutie happened mainly off-screen before the beginning. When her ex Paul appears, she starts breaking again. In season 2, she suffers mostly when her mother tries to control her life and causes her break-up with Dexter.
Broken Bird: She's a woman who was badly abused — severely beaten and repeatedly raped by her asshole of a husband. She was very fragile especially in season 1, and then kept getting better and stronger.
Dramatic Irony: Just look at both her quotes! There's quite a bit like those in the first season.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's a sweet, wholesome and very feminine blond woman. She takes a very good care of her children and she's also a sweet and caring girlfriend. She's a bit older variant of this archetype.
Horrible Judge of Character: She first marries Paul, an abusive drug addict, and later Dexter, the Serial Killer. However, very few people see Dexter for who he really is, so she can't be faulted for that.
I Can Change My Beloved: Naively expresses this to Dexter during marriage counseling, indicating that she’s failed to learn that this doesn’t work even after multiple husbands.
Ignorance Is Bliss: She's at her happiest when she believes Dexter is the perfect man. She never finds out he's a killer, thankfully.
The Ingenue: She's a fairly naive woman, for a mother of three.
Beating up Paul with a baseball bat after he tries to rape her following his release from prison.
Finally standing up to her overly judgmental, bordering on abusive, mother and kicking her out of Rita's house.
"...you haven't seen my true colors, Maria. But you're about to."
Played by: Geoff Pierson
"The great creature arose from the depths. Tokyo's that way, Maria."
A high-ranking Miami Metro PD police official and LaGuerta's immediate superior. He was an old friend of Harry Morgan, and therefore has a soft spot for Debra. He’s also a political animal not unlike LaGuerta; however, he frequently clashes with her.
A Father to His Men: In contrast to Maria, he often appears friendly, professional and fatherly to the Miami Metro cops...except it's merely an act and he's more than willing to throw them under the bus to advance his own interests.
Ms. Fanservice: One episode has her take Harrison to the beach. While Hannah and Dexter are talking, the camara focuses on Jamie for a moment as she takes off her shirt, revealing a bikini top. Then Dexter quickly explains to Hannah that Jamie was Harrison's nanny. By season 8, she is seen fully nude in explicit sex scenes.
Ship Tease: With Quinn in the season 7 finale. They share a drink at the restaurant opening and Quinn apologizes for his actions last season (he hits on her drunk and starts a g=fight with Angel and Louis at Deb's house inauguration). It's implied by this conversation Quinn might be interested in her. Six months later, they're dating in secret.
Your Cheating Heart: Louis cheated on her with a hooker while they were still going out. With the shirt she got him for his birthday still on.
"You give me the fucking creeps, you know that Dexter?"
Played by: Erik King
"Stop grinning like a fucking psycho and get back to work!"
James Doakes is a police detective with the rank of Sergeant serving as lead case investigator to Miami Metro PD's Homicide. Doakes had a killer's impulses which drove him to divorce his wife, confessing that if he had stayed with her he would have killed her. Holds a permanent grudge against Dexter, believing him to be suspicious and "creepy", which eventually leads to his downfall.
Badass: The second most badass character, after Dexter.
Disc One Final Boss: In Season 2. While quickly establishing himself as a major threat at the beginning of the story arc, Doakes' efforts to single-handedly incriminate Dexter end prematurely after the latter imprisons him within Jiminez's Cabin in " Resistance is Futile."
Foil: Ostensibly, he's the complete opposite of Dexter. Doakes is the abrasive Jerkass who is driven to anything to do good, while Dexter is the unassuming, kind lab geek who does everything to keep himself from doing greater evil.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Literally at times. It ends up harming him as his high level of on-the-job kills make it easier to see him as a killer.
Hero Antagonist: Until his death near the end of Season 2, he was Dexter's main foe on the good side.
Jerkass Has a Point: Dexter makes sure the point is buried under the obnoxiousness of a public antagonism.
"People like us don't really belong, we just pass through."
Played by: Keith Carradine
"I track killers. That's what I do. They tend to move around."
A high-ranking and illustrious FBI Special Agent recruited by Captain Thomas Matthews to lead the task force dedicated to identifying and arresting the Bay Harbor Butcher. He and Lila West serve as the main antagonists in Season 2.
Awesomeness by Analysis: He is not fooled by Dexter's letter full of fake hints and false leads, and quickly deduces it was fabricated by a person knowledgeable of police prodedures.
Back for the Dead: He returns in season 4 after being absent for season 3, only to be killed a quarter of the way through the season.
Badass: He's spent his life capturing serial killers.
Nice Guy: He's quite tactful, smiling and friendly. He also avoids confrontation when he doesn't see a benefit to it.
The Profiler: His job at the FBI. And he rocks at this game, breaking several extremely hard cases.
Put on a Bus: He leaves after the Bay Harbour Butcher case is solved at the end of season 2. The Bus Came Back: He returns in the fourth season as the cast investigates the Trinity Killer, who Lundy has been searching for his entire career.
A no-BS African-American divorcee with two kids who joins the Homicide division.
Ascended Extra: She was only a background character in season 7, but as of season 8, she has plenty of speaking lines.
Demoted to Extra: ... for the first half of the season at least. She hasn't been featured at all in the latter half.
Dr. Evelyn Vogel
Played by: Charlotte Rampling
"I believe that psychopaths are not a mistake of Nature, they're a gift. They're alpha wolves, who helped the human race survive long enough to become civilized. An indispensable demographic. Psychopathic traits can be found in the most successful CEOs, in the most effective politicians. Without psychopaths, Mankind wouldn't exist today."
An intelligent neuro-psychiatrist specializing in profiling psychopaths who acts as a consultant for various law enforcement agencies assisting in their investigations.Vogel arrives in Miami to aide in the investigation of a serial killer known as The Brain Surgeon, helping profile and instruct Miami Metro Homicide as a consultant. She meets with Dexter Morgan here and in time reveals that she knows about the Code of Harry, as well as that Dexter is a psychopath and serial killer.
Ambiguously Evil: She has some rather creepy mannerisms and believes that psychopaths are needed for humanity to develop, but she hasn't been anything but helpful so far. Even with the revelation of her new book about Dexter, she doesn't have any truly evil intentions.
Anti-Hero: An unscrupulous example. Despite being amoral and calculating, the Code she developed proved pivotal in helping Dexter control his bloodlust and eliminate far more dangerous and sinister serial murderers like the Ice Truck Killer, Trinity and Jordan Chase. Additionally, in order to protect Dexter from "unnecessary distractions", she does more than anyone else to rescue Debra from her suicidal downward spiral.
Aborted Arc: In a case of Real Life Writes the Plot. Josh Cooke got a role in a major Broadway production, and therefore Louis' arc had to be cut short. See Dropped a Bridge On Him for the in-universe details.
Big Bad Wannabe: He wants to ruin Dexter's life, but he's pretty pathetic and is quickly ousted by more serious villains.
Broken Pedestal: He gets quite shaken when Dexter calls his serial killer simulation "tasteless".
After Dexter shuts down the premise of his game, Louis dedicates an unreasonable amount of effort to get back at Dexter, including mailing him the Ice Truck Killer hand, and cancelling all his credit cards.
He also did this to a former co-worker for equally petty reasons by putting a bunch of child pornography on his computer and getting him arrested for it.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Season 6 hinted strongly that he knew Dexter was a serial killer and would become the next big threat to him. In Season 7, he's a nuisance to Dexter at best, he doesn't actually know about Dexter being a serial killer, and he is killed in the third episode by The Mafiya.
Evil Is Petty: His masterplan involves sinking Dexter's boat very gradually.
Fanboy: He's in total awe every time he watches Dexter decipher a crime scene.
Humiliation Conga: Fired, dumped and then murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thats a humiliation parade.
Otaku: It's hinted that his interest in famous serial killers borders on unhealthy obsession and admiration.
Smug Snake: After Dexter threatens him, he still walks right into Miami Metro with a shit-eating smirk as if he's a king.
Techno Wizard: He basically does magic with computers whenever Masuka needs him to.
Your Cheating Heart: Paid for sex with a hooker while going out with Jamie. When Dexter sends Jamie a copy of the video, she breaks off the relationship.
Played by: Kristen Dattilo
A detective within Miami Metro's Vice Division. She meets Angel while working undercover, and later dates him.
"I've always been fascinated by people who do bad things."
Played by: Brea Grant
A sexy new intern in the Forensics Department.
Aborted Arc: There seemed to be a lot more going on with her at first: her budding romance with Masuka, her theft of the Ice Truck Killer evidence...but she's abruptly revealed to only be after money and is fired with nary a mention of her since.
Dead Guy Junior: Harrison is a family name — he was named after Dexter's foster father.
Enfante Terrible: Dexter worries (needlessly) that he will become this due to witnessing a traumatic event, but of course he's far too young to be affected. Dexter is merely paranoid.
Morality Pet: Dexter has his issues, but he loves his son dearly.
Put on a Bus: Early in Season 7, Dexter is afraid for his life (specially after what happened with Travis last season), and with Isaak chasing after him, he decides to send Harrison to Orlando for some time with Astor and Cody. He returns soon, though.
Played by: Sage Kirkpatrick
Dexter and Brian's deceased mother, killed in front of them by drug dealers after agreeing to be a Reverse Mole for Harry.
Cruel and Unusual Death: She was chain-sawed to death in a shipping yard container. Her two young sons had to watch it. Poor woman, poor drug dealing and snitching woman. She had her death coming in that cruel universe, but this was awful.
Death by Origin Story: She was killed by drug dealers, who then left Dexter and Brian sitting in her blood and body parts, serving as an origin story for both of them.
The Informant: She was Harry Morgan's Confidential Informant. Her drug-dealing friends called her that bitch who was a fucking snitch and who fucked a cop.
Posthumous Character: She appears only in some flashbacks. However, they are very important, especially in season 1.
Reverse Mole: For Harry, who liked to sleep with his female CIs.
Played by: JoBeth Williams
Rita's judgemental, controlling mother.
Abusive Parent: She's emotionally abusive to Rita, and she also puts too much pressure on her grandchildren. Rita even says she ran away with Paul, the abusive asshole, becuase she wanted to get away from her.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She looks like a dedicated mother and grandmother, and she in fact is, but she's also suffocating and very controlling in her love.
Control Freak: She needs and demands control over her daughter's life, which prompted Rita to run away from her.
Evil Matriarch: She seems more interested in controlling Rita than loving her, and refuses to even show up for Rita's funeral.
Never My Fault: After she's fired, she places blame on the school as opposed to her own harsh methods.
Stern Teacher: She was fired because she had a disagreement about current teaching methods. She doesn't approve of all children getting a medal when they are not first etc. To be fair, she's just that tough and she was never accused of being a Sadist Teacher.
Played by: Kathrin Middleton
Harry's wife and mother to Dexter and Debra.
Flat Character: She's never shown in other context than spending time with young Dexter and Debra. She's usually worried about strange, uncomfortable vibes she gets from Dexter.
Posthumous Character: She died of cancer when Dera was a teenager. She sometimes appears in flashbacks.
Nice Guy: When hearing about Deb's infidelity, his first reaction is talking about how to mend the relationship, rather than walking away.
Put on a Bus: As with most relationships on the show, shortly after the next season they quickly broke up and he was never heard from again
"Sometimes a life has to be taken. There's no need to dress it up."
Played by: Yvonne Strahovski
A woman who went on a killing spree with her boyfriend as a young girl, before gaining immunity after it was discovered he kept her in line with fear. This was later revealed to be a lie, with Dexter and Debra finding out she took an active role and tends to poison her problems away.
Karma Houdini: Played with. She dodged being punished for her actions, but as soon as she did she learned Dexter was dead. Of course, it turns out in the next scene he's just faking it, but she will probably never know.
Master Poisoner: She has killed at least 3 people with poison without leaving any traceable evidence.
"I look different, don't I? Without my hands tied behind my back."
A woman whom Dexter inadvertently rescues from the house of one of his victims in season 5 after she sees him in the act. At first frightened and mistrustful of Dexter and traumatized by her brutal kidnapping and torture, Lumen later convinces Dexter to aid her in tracking down and killing what remains of the group of men who brutalized her.
Birds of a Feather: With Dexter. "It is a law of nature that elements will want to unify. Single cells thrash about in a petri dish until they coalesce."
Broken Bird: She's traumatised after undergoing a horrific gang-rape and torture.
But Now I Must Go: Her departure. She says she's done with her revenge and cannot continue living with Dexter when her darkness is gone.
Combat Pragmatist: When you're a slight women with no combat training, you have to be.
Gut Feeling: She's accurate about Dan Mendell the dentist. He just smelled like her rapist.
Stepford Smiler: Like the rest of the Mitchell family, she puts on a cheerful facade to hide the abuse.
Played by: Anne Ramsey
A defense attorney and Miguel Prado's main rival.
Amoral Attorney: Subverted. She's not as straight-up charming as Miguel, but she has the integrity and morals that Miguel makes such a show of pretending to have.
Good Is Not Nice: She works by the book, and claims to truly believe that she thinks her clients are innocents who deserve a fair trial. Though it's ambiguous as to whether she means it or if she does this for the money.
Messianic Archetype: Mos Definitely. He cares for the weak, tries to inspire them to be good people, sees the good in everyone, and his last act is to forgive his killer. In a twist on the usual trope, he was not always this way.
Odd Friendship: To the rest of Dexters social circle, his friendship with a former legendary gangbanger known for his body count would seem .. Odd. Unknown to them the two have a lot more in common then they know.
May-December Romance: Could be with Arthur. She's noticeably younger than him, although this may not be the intention of the writers.
Stepford Smiler: She plasters a big smile on her face to disguise the awful truth of her marriage.
Stockholm Syndrome: She's come to rely on Arthur, making excuses for him and obeying him unquestioningly.
An aspiring writer who dates Debra.
Vince Masuka's daughter.
Played by: Brad William Henke
An initial suspect and later almost-victim of the Ice Truck Killer.
An Arm and a Leg: Rudy cuts off his hand and foot to leave as messages for Miami Metro.
Big Fun: He's a larger man with a ridiculously upbeat attitude.
Nice Guy: Despite being held for days and mutilated, he's friendly, upbeat, extremely affable and even apologises to Deb and Doakes for not being able to remember more. Even then, he goes the extra length to recall a very traumatic memory just to help them.
The son of Ed Hamilton, a rich "friend" of the Miami Metro Police Department. A young budding Serial Killer, he killed a woman named Norma Rivera in an attempt to stop his father's affairs, which were ultimately hurting his own mother. Troubled by the continuing urges, Dexter Morgan takes Zach under his wing and begins teaching him the Code of Harry in hopes that he can provide the necessary lessons that can make Zach like he is, and prevent him from being caught.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: His image as a handsome, charming young man serves as a convenient disguise for his true nature as a bloodthirsty Serial Killer in the making. Partially subverted in later episodes when he is revealed to be little more than a less disciplined version of Dexter Morgan given that he genuinely loves his mother and looks up to Dexter much the same way that Dexter himself once looked up to Harry.
"You can't be a killer and a hero. It doesn't work that way!"
Played by: Christian Camargo
The Big Bad and Dexter's main nemesis of the first season. The Ice Truck Killer murders prostitutes before placing them in a freezer (starting with an ice truck, hence the name), draining their blood and chopping them into pieces before displaying them for all to see. Throughout the entirety of the first season he leaves clues and hidden messages that he knows only Dexter will find at his crime scenes. He's eventually revealed to be Dexter's older brother, Brian Moser, who seeks to coerce Dexter into discarding all semblance of morality to embrace a life of bloodshed and depravity.
Ax-Crazy: The scarier part is that he represents what Dexter would be without the Code of Harry.
Badass: He kicks his brother's ass and evades the police seconds before they're able to catch him. All in the same scene.
Big Bad: He's the main antagonist of season 1, which revolves around the hunt for the Ice Truck Killer.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He poses as Rudy Cooper, compassionate doctor and ardent boyfriend. In reality, he's a murderous sociopath who gives no shits about anyone but himself and Dexter, manipulating everyone—including Dexter—in order to bring his plan into fruition.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Dexter slashes Brian's throat on the same inversion table Brian uses to drain his victims' blood.
Additionally, Dexter fools Brian into believing that a set of prosthetic limbs Brian made himself are really a sleeping Debra when he tries to kill her a second time. This allows Dexter to choke him from behind, leading to his death as described above.
Hope Spot: To Debra. Worst thing is, he's not even trying to pretend anymore, he's just whatever.
Manipulative Bastard: He plays everyone, even Dexter, to fit into his plans. This includes being the doctor for one of his own victims and successfully getting Debra to fall in love with him.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: Christian Camargo is typically regarded as gracious and kind by those who have met him. A far cry from the Ice Truck Killer.
Mr. Fanservice: He's half-naked in almost all of his scenes with Debra.
Becomes Fan Disservice when he knocks out and later kills a hooker clad in nothing but his boxers.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: His modus operandi for killing is primarily based off of Jack the Ripper, a serial killer in Britain near the dawn of the 20th century who brutally murdered female prostitutes and left their mutilated bodies on display for the public.
Criminal Mind Games: The entire fifth book. It turns out it was just his way of showing affection and having fun with Dexter and the kids.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Dexter was suspicious of Brian's motives when he inserted himself into the Morgan family, but it became clear after a while that Brian just wanted to have a family.
Unexplained Recovery: He's back in the fifth book, after having been shot, with no obvious aches or pains regarding that.
Villainous Rescue: Yes, him. He saves Dexter from vampiric cannibals in the fifth book.
Lila West/ Lila Tourney
"Dexter, meet Dexter. I'm gonna help the two of you get to know each other."
Played by: Jaime Murray
"You're going to tell me all your deepest, darkest secrets."
Dexter's temporary Love Interest in Season 2 who eventually joins Frank Lundy as one of the story arc's main antagonists. Lila become Dexter's sponsor when he enrols in NA meetings as his alibi. She learns of his "addiction" early on, finds a connection between herself and Dexter and later professes to be his soulmate. Dexter finally kills her after she murders Doakes "for him", believing that Dexter will run away with her, and tried to kill Astor and Cody when he goes back to Rita.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She seems like a caring Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, right? Well, she might be, but she's also a psychotic pyromaniac.
Cute and Psycho: She's fun, kooky and extremely sexy...she's also unpredictable, obsessive and psychotic.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: She's an attractive woman, but her pale skin is a weird sight in sun-kissed Miami. Deb refers to her as Elvira or vampire, and lastly describes her as "pale as a fucking corpse". She really is a dangerous woman.
Evil Brit: Deb even comments on her being a 'English titty vampire' which is...not an inaccurate description.
Femme Fatale: She once killed an abusive boyfriend by burning his house down while he was in it. She initially didn't know he was in the house, but she doesn't seem to have many regrets about the outcome.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A deliberate deconstruction of this trope. She has all the hallmarks of the crazy girl who encourages the buttoned-up hero to let his wild side out, but she's seriously and dangerously mentally disturbed and Dexter's wild side shouldn't be let any further off the hook than it usually is.
Monster Fangirl: She's still madly in love with Dexter when she finds out that he's secretly a Serial Killer, and even calls him a "poor creature" who just needs someone to understand him.
Ms. Fanservice: Besides being played by the very attractive Jaime Murray, she's frequently shown in sexy and nude scenes.
Pyro Maniac: Fire is her weapon of choice, which she uses to burn her apartment, kill her ex-boyfriend and kill Doakes. It also works as an allusion to her wild, uncontrollable and destructive personality.
Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She's a great beauty with pale skin and black hair. Angel absolutely admires her looks and calls her a pretty porcelain doll.
The Sociopath: Deconstructed. Dexter correctly identifies her as one of these despite Lila's claim that she's madly in love with Dexter. Her shallow affect and reduced empathy actually means that she's desperately tried to experience them somewhere. It's why she started counseling drug addicts in the first place and deludes herself into thinking that she and Dexter are actually soul mates.
Yandere: She quickly becomes obsessed with Dexter, to the point of adoring him even after she finds out he's a notorious Serial Killer.
" I am the last person you wanna fuck with because I will fuck you BACK in ways you never even imagined!"
Played by: Jimmy Smits
"I'll do what I want to whom I want, to whoever I want! Count on it!"
Assistant District Attorney who befriends Dexter in season 3 after Dexter accidentally kills his brother in self defense, and Miguel later catches Dexter with blood on his hands after Dexter kills the man who Miguel believes is responsible for his brother's death. This leads to an odd partnership, however Miguel becomes increasingly unstable and eventually murders an innocent woman, and Dexter is forced to kill him after realizing that Miguel has been manipulating him all along.
Big Bad Friend: In Season 3, he turns out to be manipulating Dexter throughout pretending to be his friend. When his facade crumbles, he stops pretending.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He cultivates the perception that he is the most level-headed and upstanding of his siblings in stark contrast to his hot-headed younger brother, Ramon. However, he is ultimately revealed to be a corrupt narcissist whose destructive wake is the primary cause of Ramon's Hair-Trigger Temper.
The Charmer: He's done so well politically as a result.
Deceptive Disciple: Dexter teaches him the ways of murder, and he acts like a disciple of his. As it turns out, he planned to use Dexter's teachings for his own selfish purposes, behind Dexter's back.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He seems to genuinely care for his brothers and also values Dexter's friendship in his own narcissistic way. This is made apparent at the moment of his death when he expresses sincere anguish after Dexter admits to killing his younger brother, Oscar.
Faux Affably Evil: Acts polite to a fault, but it's eventually revealed that it's all a facade, and he does it purely to manipulate people more easily.
He Who Fights Monsters: Starts out genuinely interested in killing criminals who escaped justice to give them what they deserve, but soon develops his own personal agenda and becomes no better than some of them...
Knight Templar: He is genuinely committed to cleaning up crime and corruption in Miami....even if it means subverting the legal process to those whom he believes to be guilty.
Manipulative Bastard: Gave Dexter his blood-stained shirt to gain his trust; this fools Dexter for almost an entire season before he discovers the stain is just animal blood.
Large Ham: During his confrontation with Dexter, on the rooftop.
Sanity Slippage: Most apparant when he goes utterly crazy at Dexter on the Miami Metro roof, ranting about doing whatever he wants.
Villainous Breakdown: He's got quite a temper, culminating in him blowing his top at Dexter on the Miami Metro roof.
"You're like a child......You dream of a heaven you'll never see."
The Big Bad of season 4, a mysterious, malevolent figure who kills in threes, referred to by Dexter as "the most successful serial killer to ever get away with it". Dexter tracks down Trinity only to find that Arthur has a family and hides within his community, just like Dexter himself and realizes that he may be able to learn a thing or two from him.
Badass Grandpa: Despite being at least 60 years old, Arthur's decades of experience as a killer coupled with his large size endow him with a substantial physical edge over most opponents. This is demonstrated when he subdues a strong individual like Dexter in a chokehold and overpowers his extremely athletic and muscular son, Jonah, with startling ease. Similarly, during the course of searching for Dexter in Miami, he brutally beats to death a far younger man with little more than his bare hands.
Broken Pedestal: Dexter initially views him as a role model for liking a dual life. However, in the latter half of the season, he comes to realize that Arthur is no different (if not worse) than the serial killer he has previously encountered and ultimately pays a heavy price for wasting several opportunities in the past to put him out of commission permanently.
Consummate Liar: An uncannily adept one whose skills surpass even Dexter. He reveals himself to be capable of effortlessly cultivating an affable and kindly public persona, lulling potential victims into a false sense of security, as well as feigning affection for his family whom he has little regard for (if any).
Control Freak: He has small rituals for literally every occasion, and he tends to get very unpleasant if they aren't followed to the letter.
Creature of Habit: To a much, much higher degree than Dexter. He is obsessed to a psychotic degree that all his habits and rituals are carried out the "right" way every time.
Death Seeker: Tries to kill himself, and minutes before being killed by Dexter, says that he had prayed to be stopped and sees his impending death as getting what he prayed for.
Domestic Abuser: Horribly abuses his family, both psychologically and physically.
Drop the Hammer: One of his kills is to murder a man with a hammer. Dexter kills him with a hammer as well.
Evil Counterpart: To Dexter Morgan insofar as he represents everything Dexter fears becoming by leading a double life as a serial killer and family man.
Evil Mentor: At first, Dexter sees him as this when grappling how to apportion his time between tending to his family and satisfying his bloodlust. This changes when he finds out that Arthur keeps his family in line through fear.
Freudian Excuse: He scared his sister in the shower as a child, causing her to fall and slice open an artery which kills her. His mother kills herself, and he's left alone with a drunken, abusive father who blames him for everything.
Interrupted Suicide: Tries to commit suicide but is saved by Dexter who wants to kill him instead.
Lack of Empathy: Aside from grieving over his long-dead sister, he exhibits little (if any) genuine concern for the well-being of others including his own family whom he routinely abuses when they displease him and ultimately abandons.
Leitmotif: He's given "Introducing Trinity" and "Trinity Suite", both eerie, haunting pieces of music used to underscore Trinity's dark nature. It reappears in season 6 when the cops think they may have found him (in reality, Dexter killed him), but it is instead his son who did the murder.
Manipulative Bastard: Due to decades of experience, he's become an expert at lulling his victims into a false sense of security before killing them. Similarly, he deludes his wife (and to a lesser extent) his daughter, Rebecca, into believing that he loves them when in fact he views them as little more than camouflauge for his true nature.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: One of the sweetest actors you'll ever meet and a dedicated author and singer for children playing a serial killer who buries kids alive.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: His character is loosely based on John Wayne Gacy, a respectable construction entrepreneur who was widely renowned for his image as a family man and pillar of community service prior to being exposed as a serial killer and rapist who buried his victims beneath his home's crawl space.
Nonindicative Name: Is called the Trinity killer for his pattern of killing in threes, but he actually kills in fours.
Not So Different: Played with. Much of season 4 is Dexter wondering how different he really is from Arthur, and if he'll end up like him in his old age.
Sanity Slippage: After successfully getting away with hundreds of murders over many decades, it seems he's finally starting to crack under the strain of covering his tracks while simultaneously maintaining his public persona as a "community hero". When Dexter meets up, he's suicidal and begins blurting out his horrible past to complete strangers.
Self-Made Orphan: At some point after his mother's suicide, he killed his father with a hammer.
Shadow Archetype: Of Dexter. He is a very good picture of what Dexter can become if he allows himself to be completely overtaken by his habits and obsession with rituals.
Theme Serial Killer: He kills in fours, choosing victims who represent his family members in the order they died: a young boy, symbolizing the death of his own innocence; his sister, killed in the shower; his mother, throwing herself from a great height; his father, bludgeoned to death.
The "Brain Surgeon"
Click here to see "The Brain Surgeon"
Oliver Saxon(AKA Daniel Vogel)
Played by: Darri Ingolfsson
"You have a lot more to lose than I do. Cute little son, your sister....a girlfriend.....All very lovely and all very easy to remove from your life."
Big Bad: Of the final season. His targeting of Dr. Evelyn Vogel along with Dexter and his loved ones serves as the story arc's primary source of conflict.
Cain and Abel: Killed his younger brother Richard at the age of 14.
Chekhov's Gunman: Turns out that the boyfriend to Dexter's next door neighbor is actually the final season's Big Bad.
Consummate Liar: One far superior to Dexter Morgan. His skills for deception and faking emotions are among the best seen in the series.
Creature of Habit: He plays Mama Cass's "Make Your Own Kind of Music" during all of his kills. It is later revealed that he played the same song whenever he visited the King's Bay Cafe while he was a child..
Dogged Nice Guy: Based on the times she met him, Jamie considered him to be this due to his repeated attempts to persuade her friend, Cassie, into going to the Bahamas with him after dating for only a few weeks. Subverted when he is confirmed to be the Brain Surgeon as well as Cassie's murderer.
Evil Counterpart: To Dexter Morgan more so than any other character encountered in the series. Both characters are bloodthirsty serial killers who are at their peak in terms of physical prowess and sensory acuity (unlike the experienced but aged Arthur Mitchell). Additionally, unlike most of the series' antagonists, the "Brain Surgeon" is at least just as skilled and experienced a killer as Dexter given the ease with which he outmaneuvers the latter on several occasions. Moreover, unlike Brian Moser, he (like Dexter) aspires to settle down and lead a "normal" existence on his own terms as evidenced by his long line of fatal attempts to establish long-term intimate relationships . Thus, he represents what Dexter could be without being held back by a Code or emotional attachments.
Green-Eyed Monster: Of all the Seven Deadly Sins, envy is his most defining personality trait.
Hero Killer: Of all the series' major antagonists, the Brain Surgeon is ultimately responsible for the deaths of more people close to Dexter than any other character. During the latter half of the season, he murders Dexter's protegé, Zach Hamilton, as well as his "spiritual mother", Evelyn Vogel. Finally, towards the end of the series, he ultimately places Deborah in a vegetative state after grievously wounding her (thereby setting in motion a chain of events that leads to her death.)
Hidden Villain: The Brain Surgeon's identity is kept secret until the ninth episode of the season.
Hope Spot: After being presumed dead for two episodes, the Surgeon returns at the end of "Are We There Yet?"
"I Am" Song: He adopts Mama Cass's " Make Your Own Kind of Music" as this. Initially, it appears that he is fond of the song because it reminds him of happier times he spent with his mother, Dr. Evelyn Vogel. However, considering that he later brutally murders Dr. Vogel without hesitation or remorse, it is more likely that the lyrics appeal to his own ego and amoral worldview.
Lack of Empathy:He shows no remorse for murdering his victims including his own brother, Richard. Likewise, he reveals that the sole reason for his desire to reconnect with his mother, Dr. Vogel, is so she can help him become a more efficient serial killer. Upon realizing that Dr. Vogel intends to hand him over to Dexter, he brutally murders her without hesitation. After the fact, he shows sadistic amusement over her death and smugly admits he found killing her to be a highly refreshing experience.
Leitmotif: After his identity is revealed, the Brain Surgeon's subsequent appearances are often accompanied by music rendered most distinguishable by an eerie, hollow ringing which reflect his complete lack of normal human emotions such as empathy and remorse along with how dangerously unpredictable he is as a result.
Never My Fault: When confronting his mother about having him institutionalized, she explains that he left her with no other choice after he murdered his younger brother, Richard. Without skipping a beat, he pins Richard's death squarely on her.
Saxon:"THAT WAS YOUR FAULT!! You ignored me! All you ever cared about was Richard!
Pretty Boy: Probably one of the most androgynous adversaries Dexter has ever encountered in addition to being one of the most evil. See image◊. As mentioned above, many fans of the series have half-jokingly referred to him as a doppelganger of Ryan Gosling.
Psychopathic Manchild: Type C. Despite appearing to be a well-adjusted young man on the surface, his emotional maturity remains stunted at a very childlike level given that he clings to the same petty grudges and possessive attitudes that drove him to murder his brother, Richard, when he was only 14. In "Goodbye Miami", he angrily confront his mother, Dr. Vogel, for providing Dexter with maternal attention and affection that is "owed" to him alone.
Saxon:"Don't make the same mistake you did with Richard. Choose right this time. Choose me."
Theme Serial Killer: As the name suggests, the Brain Surgeon cuts into victims' skulls and takes out the part of the brain that produces empathy.
The Sociopath: The vast majority of the final season revolves around Dexter pondering whether he is genuinely a psychopath incapable of experiencing love and forming meaningful relationships with those around him. Due to the fact that he is a clinically diagnosed psychopath, the Brain Surgeon unknowingly ends up convincing Dexter that he is NOT one by committing acts of depravity which leave the latter shocked and disgusted.
The Unfavorite: Resentful towards his brother and mother for what he perceived as a lack of attention.
Tongue Trauma: In the series finale, he forces a man to take him to the hospital where Debra is at gunpoint, then cuts off his tongue to make sure he doesn’t talk. Since his victim can still write, this seems to be an act of mere horrific sadism.
True Final Boss: The final serial killer Dexter plans on killing in the series so he can retire and start a new life with Hannah and Harrison in Argentina.
Played by: Courtney Ford
An attractive young reporter who forms a relationship with Quinn while pumping him for information. She's later revealed to be Arthur Mitchell's daughter from a previous relationship, and Lundy's killer.
Ate Her Gun: She commits suicide by sticking her gun into her mouth and blows her brains out.
Broken Bird: She's consumed with guilt over killing Lundy and obsessed with earning her father's approval. By the time she dies, Christine has become a shuddering, teary-eyed wreck.
Daddy's Little Villain: Everything she does is for her father, Arthur. He would prefer is she didn't meddle, because she puts his cover in danger. He gets furious when she tells him she tries to protect him.
Driven to Suicide: With the police closing in and Arthur having abandoned her, she shoots herself.
Hot Scoop: She uses her good looks to get Quinn in her pocket. She gets a few hot news and exclusive articles.
Manipulative Bitch: She uses her sex appeal to seduce Quinn into divulging important details regarding police investigations in order to protect her father, Arthur Mitchell.
Ms. Fanservice: She has plenty of nude moments and explicit sex scenes.
The Brute: He's the largest and most physically dangerous killer Dexter has ever faced and works as a hitman for the Miami gangs. His massive size even allowed to escape from Dexter's restraints once, prompting another capture later on.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Inverted. He makes a point to mention to never have killed a kid like the one in one of the photos Dexter shows him, Dexter points out the kid was still one of his victims because he ruined his life by killing his mother. (Not too mention when Dexter caught him he was about to brutally murder a kid for snitching.)
A computer analyst who is arrested as a likely suspect in the Ice Truck Killer case. He later turns out to be a fake, hungry for fame.
Big Bad Wannabe: In order to make a name for himself, he consciously obstructs a murder investigation by claiming to be the Ice Truck Killer.
Mommy Issues: As a child, he was regularly abused by his mother but did not retaliate. Considering that he mutilated her corpse immediately following her death, it is apparent that his relationship with her was not beneficial to his psyche.
The Sociopath: Manipulative and charming with no regard for anyone but herself. When Dexter asks her why she killed her husband and daughter in their own beds, she explains that it was so she could be free of care again.
Disposable Sex Worker: His usual victims are prostitutes, partly because they're easier to lure into his home but also because they disgust him as much as his mother did when she brought over customers.
Dumb Muscle: He's a steroid popping body builder strong enough and tough enough that it takes four cops to bring him down... but he's considerably lacking in the brains department compared to Dexter's previous adversaries (Brian Moser, Trinity, Jordan Chase, etc.).
"Speltzer may have a lizard brain like me, but his shortcoming is he doesn't have much of a human brain."
Freudian Excuse: As a child, he was traumatized by the experience of having his mother bring "customers" home while she earned money as a prostitute. So, every time he invites a girl home and she complies, he is reminded of his mother.
Domestic Abuser: He was quite abusive of Hannah. No wonder she ran away at an early age.
Dirty Coward: He shamelessly abuses his own daughter for purposes of extortion and/or for his own amusement. However, he pleads for his life when he realizes Dexter is about to kill him.
Dirty Old Man: He shamelessly leers over Jaime, making her uncomfortable.
Faux Affably Evil: Very polite and affable at the start until Hannah refuses to give him money.
The Gambling Addict: One of Hannah's earliest memories of him is how he left her in a hotel room for at least 3 days while going on a gambling binge. Additionally, the sole reason he tries to reconnect with Hannah in "The Dark....Whatever" is to obtain money to pay his gambling debts (presumably so he can repeat the cycle all over again).
Manipulative Bastard: He callously exploits any lingering affection his daughter has towards him for all it's worth.
Only in It for the Money: The entire reason he seeks out Hannah is to get cash from her; he's spent a long time making money off her 'fame'.
The Sociopath: His "talents" as a con man are due in large part to his complete indifference to the well-being of those around him including his own daughter, Hannah, whom he routinely manipulates and abuses to get what he wants. Additionally, he has a pronounced lack of impulse control as evidenced when he almost immediately drops his kindly demeanor and explodes into a rage when Hannah expresses reluctance over giving him money. Furthermore, he shows a highly pronounced sadistic streak if his abusive treatment of Hannah as a child and undisguised ogling of Jaime is any indication.
A wealthy international casino owner who is married to Hannah Mc Kay in Season 8.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: At the beginning of their marriage, Hannah initially believed him to be a very generous man after he provides her with a false identity to elude authorities and lavishes her with all the luxuries his money can buy. However, he ultimately reveals himself to be a violently possessive egomaniac hellbent on dominating every aspect of her life.
Crazy Jealous Guy: He is extremely possessive of Hannah to the point of having her followed wherever she goes and having Dexter brutally beaten after learning that they met with one another in secret.
Control Freak: He has Hannah followed and wants to control every aspect of her life.
Fiction500: His wealth is revealed to be at least in the millions.
Jerkass: As if the rape and murder wasn't bad enough, he steals copper pipe! What a jerk!
Played by: Sam Trammell
Murder Method: Stabbed in the heart
Murder Location: Abandoned liquor store
A drunk driver who frequently caused traffic accidents, only to put on a convincing show in court. After escaping justice, he would move to a new town with a new name.
The Alcoholic: He's constantly mowing down people in a drunken state.
Asshole Victim: Shows absolutely no remorse for his crimes so the audience doesn't feel any when he's killed.
Crocodile Tears: He puts these on for court, and Dexter even refers to this technique explicitly.
Manipulative Bastard: At his hearing, where he manipulates the jury into believing he's a remorseful innocent.
Jorge & Valerie Castillo
Played by: Jose Zuniga & Valerie Dillman
Murder Method: Jorge's neck was cut with a power saw, Valerie's jugular was sliced with a knife
Murder Location: Their boat
A rich couple who made their living smuggling immigrants across the border before bringing up unexpected 'charges'. When the families couldn't pay, Jorge & Valerie would then drown their hapless victims.
Manipulative Bastard: He’s one of the best seen in the series. He gets women to kill themselves by prescribing them medication, watches them go through withdrawal when he abruptly takes them off it, and all the while gently needles them with thoughts of suicide. It would be admirable if it wasn’t so vile.
Psycho Psychologist: He's a professional psychologist who secretly films the sessions where he convinces his distraught patients to commit suicide.
A retired man from Oregon who was also the serial killer called the Tooth Fairy whom Dexter admired as a teen.
Broken Pedestal: Dexter admired him as a teenager, considering him an Evil Genius. He's disappointed to discover that Kenney has not only become a disgusting, crass, bitter old bastard, but even in his day he wasn't much. He admits to Dexter that he was drunk off his ass half the time and escaped justice by sheer luck.
"It's time to tap into your primal selves and seize the power of instinct. We're gonna cast off those shackles that bind us to jobs we hate, people we don't love, lives that aren't worth living. We are going to... Take It!"
A charismatic and popular motivational speaker, known for his 'Take It!' approach to life. He's also a demented sociopath and ringleader of the Barrel Girl Gang.
Big Bad: Of Season 5. His cult's brutal rape and torture of Lumen ultimately sets in motion the conflict underlying the story arc.
Catch Phrase: "Tick, tick, tick. That's the sound of your life running out."
Control Freak: He must absolutely keep control of a situation at all times, and he freaks out pretty viciously when anything goes wrong.
Faux Affably Evil: His public image is that of an extremely charismatic and polite self-help guru who is genuinely committed to turning his clients' lives around for the better. In reality, he is a sociopathic megalomaniac who uses his program as a means to completely dominate other people's lives for his own gratification.
Formerly Fat: Dexter tries to taunt him over his fatness. Jordan merely remarks that he is proud of that phase since he managed to come out of it and lose so much weight and become so successful.
Freudian Excuse: Subverted; it's vaguely hinted that his actions have something to do with him being overweight as a kid, but it's oddly never brought up again.
From Nobody to Nightmare: He was just a fat kid at a summer camp who others felt sorry for. Fast-forward and he's a rich, popular motivational speaker with a side project in kidnapping, rape, torture and murder.
Hates Being Touched: It is strongly implied that Chase is strongly averse to emotional or physical intimacy of any kind. When Emily Birch places her hand on his, he coldly disregards this sign of affection by irritably pulling his hand away. Similarly, rather than touch his victims himself, he manipulating others to do it for his own voyeuristic gratification.
Karmic Death: Stabbed by the woman he victimized and tortured, in the place where he did it.
Kickthe Dog: As an adolescent, he organized the gang-rape of a young camp counselor named Emily Birch whose only crime was trying to befriend him because she thought he seemed lonely. By the time he has become an adult, he is revealed to have completely brainwashed her since then and reduced her to being a slave for his ego.
Manipulative Bastard: Jordan is one of the uber-examples in the entire series. He controls an entire group of men since they were children, reduces a former rape victim into becoming a virtual slave, and manipulates Lumen's movements.
Meaningful Rename: The site of the first time he manipulated the Gang into raping a woman, where he developed his Take It philosophy? Camp River Jordan. We don't find this out till the season finale, when he drives past the camp's entrance sign... and then past an old Case backhoe*
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Chase's character is an amalgam of many famous cult leaders throughout history who attracted countless followers through appeals of self-empowerment and carpe diem. His megalomaniacal and deranged personality is based primarily on Aleister Crowley, a self-proclaimed sorcerer who indoctrinated his "disciples" to discard all their inhibitions while performing sacrifices and sadomasochistic rituals in order to discover their "True Will."
Poisonous Friend: Without his influence, the others (with the possible exception of Cole) probably wouldn't have gone on to become rapist superfriends. Of course, this doesn't mean they're any less monstrous. Not to mention that Jordan doesn't seem to care about any of them, being perfectly willing to sell them out to save himself. More than likely, he retains their company solely to derive gratification from wielding total control over their lives and being a figure of unquestioned idolization.
Villain with Good Publicity: He's a well-known public figure and motivational speaker. Subverted in a realistic way, where he has legions of fans but it's clear he isn't well-thought of by most normal people. Still, they hardly think he's evil, just another run-of-the-mill motivators.
Sharp-Dressed Man: Always extremely well-dressed as befitting a man of his self-assigned importance.
The Sociopath: A far more clear-cut example than most of the series' main antagonists (including Brian Moser and the Trinity Killer).
Start of Darkness: Emily Birch recounts this. She tells Lumen about how he convinced the other members to gang-rape her, and describes momentarily seeing a 'look' on his face...and goes on the say it's the same look he has all the time as an adult.
Sharp-Dressed Man: Lumen nicknamed him 'Suit-And-Tie' since he carefully folded his clothes before raping her.
Undying Loyalty: Even though Jordan doesn't seem to like him much, he's crazily loyal to the guy. He almost seems to worship him, considering the fact he has framed pictures of Chase in his hotel room.
Played by: Sean Hatosy
The 'cleaner' for the Barrel Girl Gang, he works in dead animal pick-up and is responsible for disposing of the gang's victims.
Badass: One of the few non-Big Bads to give Dexter a great deal of trouble.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the Beginning and the End."
Played by: Colin Hanks
"You're not going anywhere until you've repented for your sins."
A student of Professor James Gellar and his serial killer protege. It's later revealed that he has a Split Personality and Gellar has been in his mind the entire time, representing his 'Dark Passenger'.
Anti-Villain: Played with and ultimately subverted. At first, he merely appears to be a weak-willed individual who is being pressured by his former professor, James Gellar, into performing ritualistic sacrifices under the belief they are demanded by God. However, Gellar is ultimately revealed to be a product of Travis's subconscious embodying narcissistic and violent personality traits exhibited by him since childhood.
Ax-Crazy: May not be the most evil Dexter villain, but is definitely the most insane.
Bastard Understudy: Played straight at first, when he seems to be doing the bidding of Gellar. Eventually it's revealed that he was solo the whole time.
Cain and Abel: He killed his sister, though he was under the delusion that 'Gellar' had done it.
Heel-Face Turn: After an encounter with Dexter forces him to realize that Gellar is manipulating him, he begins having doubts. After an episode of trying to deal with his conscience, he makes the turn and frees the woman who would have been their next victim.
And then things went bad for him. Though he promises to help Dexter kill Gellar as a result.
But then he goes back to "serving" Gellar, or at least his interpretation of him.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: David Berkowitz (a.k.a. "Son of Sam"), and Charles Manson. Travis resembles Berkowitz in the first half of the season, when he believes that he is being compelled to commit others by orders from God Himself. In the second half of the season, he begins to more closely resemble Manson after embracing his Dark Passenger as a product of his own twisted psyche and makes the transition from a reluctant killer to a megalomaniacal fanatic who gathers a small cult of "disciples" to assist him in his murderous crusade to bring about the apocalypse.
The Sociopath: Lampshaded by his psych evaluation. However, this trope is subverted by his depiction in earlier episodes where his good side exhibits visible discomfort over the torture of another human being and desperately attempts to protect his sister from his Dark Passenger embodied by Professor Gellar. Consequently, his delusions of grandeur along with the manipulative behavior seem far more consistent with narcissistic personality disorder.
Split Personality: He has an alternate personality in the form of his 'Dark Passenger'.
Tomato in the Mirror: As Travis learns in the season's tenth episode, it isn't Gellar who's been doing the killings...
Well-Intentioned Extremist: He wants to end the world because of how corrupt it is. When he tells Gellar he wants out, Gellar responds by telling him about horrific murders and the like to talk him back in.
Professor James Gellar
"Is that what you want, Travis? To hurt me? You see how I suffer for your sins!"
Played by: Edward James Olmos
"We were given free will for a reason, Travis."
A Professor of Religious Studies believed to be the dominant Doomsday Killer. He is later revealed to have been Dead All Along, murdered by his student Travis and kept in a freezer below an abandoned church. However, he continues to play a role in the Sixth Season as the personification of Travis Marshall's Dark Passenger.
The Heartless: As Travis Marshall's "Dark Passenger", he is the distilled form of Travis's more violent and megalomaniacal character traits. However, in 'Ricochet Rabbit', this malevolent "Gellar personality" is reabsorbed into Travis's consciousness.
Knight Templar: He seems to be this, but the recent episode had a teacher assistant of his reveal that he just likes to stir up trouble, so whether he really believes it or not is up in the air.
Manipulative Bastard: He harms himself when Travis doesn't follow orders, to better emotionally manipulate him.
"We're outsiders, you and I. On the periphery. Watching everybody else. Pretending we're just like them, but knowing we're not. Best we can hope for is to find a place where we don't have to pretend."
A high-ranking member of the Ukrainian Mob who comes to Miami to survey his business interests there and avenge the loss of one of his most loyal subordinates. He and Marie LaGuerta serve as the principal antagonists in Season 7.
Affably Evil: Incredibly polite and charming most of the time. Steers towards Faux Affably Evil when he starts to rack up the body count, as when he politely threatens to drill a guy's eyes in and then kills him anyway or rams a screwdriver inside a guy's eye while soothing him. He even lampshades his status in a discussion with Nadia the stripper.
Revenge Before Reason: His vendetta is not good for the business. Also gets him killed. Surprisingly not by Dexter.
Sharp-Dressed Man: Aside from his brief stint in prison, Isaak is always well turned-out in nice suits.
Shoot the Dog: Forces a loyal barman to commit suicide to make the Police stop its investigation regarding Mike Anderson's death. Followed by...
Pet the Dog: Promises that he will make sure the barman's family gets anything they want.
Straight Gay: He has no gay stereotypes about him, being a pretty rugged yet well-dressed ace who kicks copious amounts of ass.
The Sociopath: At first he gives off this impression, killing with no hesitation or remorse and relating a horrible story about almost killing his piano teacher as a child. Ultimately subverted: everything he does, he does out of love, grief and a sense of personal guilt.
Tragic Villain: Towards the last two episodes, when he's revealed as a lonely, closeted man who's lost the love of his life and is hunted by his own people.
Worthy Opponent: Isaak and Dexter slowly gain a growing respect for each other, acknowledging the other as having very formidable skills.