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Main Character Index | Dexter Morgan | Main Characters | Law Enforcement | Dexter’s Family | Recurring Characters | Antagonists | Supporting Antagonists | Dexter’s Victims | Barrel Girl Gang | The Doomsday Killers | The Koshka Brotherhood | Iron Lake Residents

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 


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    Debra Morgan
"You say anything more about my brother and I will kick your fucking nuts down your throat."
"Me in a dress. I feel like a transvestite."

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.

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Season 8. She's not really cut out for the private sector.
  • Action Girl: Perfectly capable of kicking major amounts of ass, such as the most psychotic of the Fuentes brothers.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: In the source novels her detective skills are very much an Informed Attribute, with her only real method being to ask Dexter for his insights on the crime of the week and being basically clueless on her own. The show tones this down dramatically and allows her to be a competent detective in her own right.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the books, her name is spelled "Deborah".
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: After she's promoted to Maria's position as lieutenant.
  • Badass in Distress: She was kidnapped by the Ice Truck Killer in the season 1 finale and is severely traumatized by it.
  • Big Brother Worship: She loves Dexter a lot. They are really close and she gets pissed whenever she feels he shuts her out, which is fairly often.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Although she's the younger sister, she tends to be more assertive and vocal. If anyone insults Dexter, she will defend him.
  • Becoming the Mask: Debra becomes very attached to her criminal boyfriend Andrew when she goes undercover due to the kind way he treats her.
  • Born Detective: The only one in the department apart from Doakes. Dexter makes it very clear that he is mainly free because his sister has a "blind spot" on him.
  • Brainy Brunette: She has light brown hair and, while somewhat immature and unstable, is one of the most intelligent and competent members of the cast.
  • 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: LaGuerta tends to treat Debra this way.
  • Cartwright Curse: Her love interests tend to either leave, die, or turn out to be dicks.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Soon learns that with greater power comes greater and unpleasant responsibility.
  • 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.
    • A fan made a video tallying all the times Deb says "fuck" throughout the series. The final count came to 996.
  • Cool Aunt: To Rita's kids after Dexter and Rita got married, and she absolutely adores little Harrison.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially with Masuka. She one-ups him when he makes perverted comments about her.
  • Defective Detective: A competent detective whose personal life is a wreck, when it exists.
  • 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.
  • Dirty Harriet: Made pretty fun in the book, noted at least twice that victims' relatives expect a Dirty Harry, not Legally Blonde.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Downplayed, in that she really just hates heels. She complains about them and removes them whenever she can after her promotion to lieutenant, and is so annoyed by them at the New Year's party in season 7 that she takes them off and is barefoot when she shoots LaGuerta. She never seems to have a problem with athletic shoes, though.
  • 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.
  • Dude Magnet: Just ask Masuka, Quinn, Frank, Anton, Gabriel, Sal Price, Jacob Elway, some of the previous men she's slept with, and a few of her colleagues who think she's quite the Fair Cop.
  • 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.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Her very blatant daddy issues. She bases her life 100% on "what would dad think?" and can't handle challenges to her perfect image of him, such as when Dexter investigates the possibility that Harry lied about his biological father (he did) she nearly has a breakdown, or her relationship with a man twice her age that could have potentially jeopardized her career (he was a federal agent heading up a joint task force she was on, which in Real Life would not have been approved of by her superiors) and was very obviously doomed to fail. Basically, her life is a complete mess because she's still seeking her father's approval even though he's no longer around to give it.
    • This also extends to Dexter somewhat, as she can't stand anyone showing him attention over her. She acted like a jealous teenager when Rudy wanted a friendship with him, and even moreso when she believed Lundy sought out his opinion over hers (Lundy actually just couldn't stand Masuka), even though it would be perfectly reasonable since Dexter is a highly regarded forensics expert while she's a rookie cop with less than a year in homicide under her belt. This all relates back to her dad's perceived favouritism toward Dexter when he was secretly teaching him the code.
  • Foil:
    • 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.
    • She and LaGuerta, as the only women in a predominantly-male workplace, act as foils to each other as well as to the men in the group. LaGuerta was a good cop but is better at playing the politics she needs to climb the ranks. Deb is too honest and emotionally driven to politic very well, and ends up being LaGuerta's Butt-Monkey after the Fuentes case.
    • Doakes is also one to her, though it's less prominent than his animosity to Dexter. Both are the foul-mouthed but brilliant detectives at the police department who tend to be passionate about their work. However, Doakes has had a number of years to become jaded and hostile, meaning few others mess with him. Debra on the other hand often has to deal with her superiors antagonizing her.
    • Deb is also a comedic version of a foil to Masuka's pervy jokes. Every time he hits on her, she one-ups him but neither takes the razzing seriously.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: She sees herself as the Foolish to Dexter's Resposible ("I got into more trouble than he ever did. He was the perfect one"). It's subverted, however, because Dexter is way more messed-up than she thought.
  • 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.
  • Good Is Not Nice: She's an honest cop and is really good at it, but she's foul mouthed and can be abrasive at times.
  • Heroic B So D: Twice. When Lundy is murdered and she can do nothing but stand in the parking lot where he died, sobbing and repeating, "I'm broken." Bad as that is, it's nothing compared to when she kills LaGuerta. She completely loses the power of coherent speech and can do nothing but sob and hug her victim. Although she manages to regain basic mental functionality, she never wholly recovers.
  • Hope Spot: Gets one from Brian, her fiancee and future killer if it were up to him and hangs on to it in desperation, while he's not even trying that hard to pretend anymore. It bombs, of course.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Only when it comes to Dexter. Even lampshaded by Dexter himself that she has great detective skills except for anything involving her brother. Like Rita, she thinks Dexter is a paragon of perfection and in season 7 she's shocked after learning the truth.
  • Imaginary Friend: In New Blood, she takes over this role from Harry in the original. Though unlike him, she is more bolder and more correct than him and is even active in helping Dexter in his missions, whether it's suggesting methods he could try to dispose his victim or use her detective skills in researching on the killer that's been terrorising Iron Lake.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • She tries this with Rudy (Aka Brian) and he plays along at first for shits and giggles before giving it up.
    • In Season 7, this is her reason for not turning Dexter in after finding out his secret.
      Debra: I still believe that there is good in you.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Foul mouthed, abrasive and often puts her foot in her mouth, but she's a good person and cop who has a big heart and cares deeply for her family and friends and is quite sympathetic towards people she has to speak to.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: During Season 7, goes from grudgingly aiding and abetting Dexter to killing LaGuerta when Dexter is cornered in the finale.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: She's incredibly foul mouthed and abrasive, but she will never give up trying to catch killers and saving the innocent.
  • The Lad-ette: She's as foul mouthed as any male cop and isn't very feminine and even says that being in a dress makes her feel like a transvestite.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: She hardly ever avoids swearing and filthy language. She justifies it by saying it's a cop mouth. Sometimes it's even adorable.
  • Last-Name Basis: This sometimes leads to confusion when a character calls out for "Morgan" when Dex and Debra are both present.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Had this reaction after a lesbian tattoo artist hit on her in front of Masuka.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Dexter. This is best proven after her death saddened him to the point of faking his own death.
  • Love Makes You Evil: At the end of Season 7, she kills LaGuerta in order to protect Dexter. In Season 8, Vogel even comments that it was an act of selfless love.
  • 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.
  • Morality Pet: She's one of the few people that Dexter can say he wholeheartedly loves.
  • 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.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Dexter has a number of love interests in the series, but it's clear that his most important relationship is with his sister. He states in the pilot that if he could love anyone, it'd be Debra.
  • 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.
  • One of the Boys: Her ability to be "one of the guys" is what allows her to be so effective at her job.
  • Rank Up: Gradually promoted from Officer to Detective and Lieutenant.
  • Really Gets Around: She's quite the serial monogamist.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: As illustrated by her presiding quote up there. She's the tomboy girl to Rita's girly.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: The impulsive Energetic Girl to Dexter's stoic, introverted Savvy Guy.
  • Secret-Keeper: In Season 7 she finally learns the truth about her brother and helps him keep it a secret.
  • Sex for Solace: How her "relationship" with Quinn starts after Rita's death.
  • 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".
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Played with. At first sight, she's the Strong Girl (as an Action Girl police officer) to Dexter's forensics expert Smart Guy. However, even if the other characters aren't aware of it, Dexter is actually quite strong and can handle himself in a fight (he's also skilled in jiu jitsu).
  • That Man 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.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • The masculine Tomboy cop to Rita's naive and feminine housewife.
    • The Tomboy to LaGuerta's Girly Girl. Debra wears masculine outfits, while LaGuerta is always impeccably elegant.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Her usual hair style when she's not working in Vice Squad.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She goes onto recover and gets her detective shield and manages to become Lieutenant and skips Sargeant.
  • 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.
  • Two First Names: Either "Debra" or "Morgan" can be used as a first name.
  • 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.

    Harry Morgan
"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.

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Very neglectful and emotionally distant towards his daughter Debra. Almost every single flashback of the two of them involves a Kick the Dog moment (although usually unintentional).
    • His treatment of Dexter also counts Depending on the Writer. Sometimes he seems to genuinely be training him because it's the only option, other times he comes off as trying to turn his son into a weapon against criminals who escape justice.
    • In New Blood, Dexter’s vision of Deb outright says that what Harry did to him was child abuse, implying that Dexter knows this on some level. She rightly points out that there were other, better solutions to Dexter’s Dark Passenger.
  • 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.
  • Commander Contrarian: The Spirit Advisor version of Harry always seems to be against whatever Dexter's currently up to.
  • Dead Person Conversation: He frequently shows up to Dexter.
  • Dirty Cop: Like Deb does in season 7, he keeps Dexter's secret from the police. Also, there's the fact that he slept with his informant.
  • Do Wrong, Right: He teached Dexter how to be "a very neat monster" living by the code.
  • Driven to Suicide: Upon walking in on Dexter sawing up the body of a pimp he had been hunting and seeing that his training had Gone Horribly Right.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He was a legendary cop on the force, but he did train Dexter to kill serial killers who escape justice and what we see of him with Debra has him not be a great father.
  • Imaginary Friend: Most of his appearances (when they aren't flashbacks) are as this, to his son Dexter.
  • The Mentor: To Dexter when he was alive. He's the Harry in "Code of Harry".
  • Mistaken for Misogynist: Flashbacks show that Deb always felt left out of the close relationship Dexter and Harry had. This was particularly exacerbated once their mother died. Deb tries to get closer to Dexter and Harry by working to get good at the things they're always doing, but Harry severely scolds her when he sees her handling knives and guns, the very things he spends all his time teaching Dexter to do. Deb is left feeling like Dexter was the son Harry always really wanted instead of his biological daughter. This misconception doesn't change until Deb finds out Dexter's secret decades later and realizes that Harry was simply working hard to teach Dexter to blend in and knew that Deb would be fine.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Seeing his son to bring home his kill… yeah, that can't be pretty. It made him violently sick and drove him to suicide.
  • Parental Favoritism: Toward Dexter, at least Debra feels this way. The truth is that Harry just wanted to protect his children and loved them both. Dexter was just a little more high-maintenance due to being, well, a budding Serial Killer.
  • Parents as People: He loved his kids but his methods clearly damaged both of them in more than a few ways. While it wasn't his intention, Deb was hurt by his seeming favoritism to Dexter, and while his "code" kept Dexter from going down an even darker path, it did nothing to actually fix his murderous habits.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Part of his motive for training Dexter, especially after his Arch-Enemy, a drug-pushing cop-killer, gets Off on a Technicality.
  • Posthumous Character: He's dead by the time the series starts, mostly appearing in flashbacks and then as a sort of spirit advisor of Dexter's.
  • Really Gets Around: He liked to sleep with his female informants.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: He brings Dexter to a live execution to instill in him the danger of getting caught.
  • Spirit Advisor: Initially he was a flashback character, but as the series progressed, he began appearing to Dexter as a kind of hallucination.
  • Two First Names: Either "Harry" or "Morgan" can be used as a first name.

    Ángel Batista
"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. Returns in Dexter New Blood as the Captain of Miami Metro.

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Well on his way out in Season 7, the demise of LaGuerta makes him come back to the force.
  • Amicable Exes: With his first wife who he was with for ten years before he cheated on her. And then with Maria, following their Offscreen Breakup between seasons 5 and 6.
  • Ascended Extra: He's a very minor character in the books, being a medical examiner instead of a cop and received no storylines of his own, no friendship with Dexter, no mentor relationship with Deb, and no romances mentioned. In fact the only characterization he's given in the novels is that he always introduces himself as "Angel Batista, no relation."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's a nice guy, but he's got a mean punch.
  • Big Brother Instinct: For his little sister, Jamie. And Debra.
  • Big Fun: He's overweight and rather friendly and outgoing.
  • Final Guy: Shares this role with Quinn.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: He peppers his English with alot of Spanish.
  • A Father to His Men: A protective and fair lieutenant.
  • 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 Dexter once told Angel he wishes he could be like him.
  • Honor Before Reason: His first marriage broke up because he immediately confessed his affair to his wife when he didn't have to. Also tells the truth to investigators about a controversial shooting, despite overwhelming pressure to lie and knowing that his fellow cops will treat him as a "rat" for it. Doakes tells him his problem is he's "too damn honest," but nonetheless respects him for it.
    • He promotes a more qualified candiate over Quinn because it's the right thing to do even though it could hurt his relationship with Jamie and Quinn.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Gradually becomes this, especially in season 7 when he considers retiring.
  • Last-Name Basis: By most people, although his first name is also used (particularly by LaGuerta during their marriage).
  • Life of the Party: According to LaGuerta, at least. He never saves his money and likes to have a drink with friends all the time.
  • Made of Iron: He recovers very well from getting knifed by Brian Moser.
  • Married to the Job: In his own words, he's so focused on the work that he forgot to have a life.
  • Meaningful Name: Batista's first name is "Angel". He's not a saint, but is probably one of the few consistently nice characters throughout the show.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Regarding his younger sister Jamie.
  • Nice Guy: Probably the nicest person in the show. He even supports Deb after she gets promoted above him.
  • Nice Hat: His trademark Trilby hat which he is almost never seen without.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He is honest with his wife about cheating which leads to his divorce.
  • Overly Long Name: Ángel Juan Marcos Batista.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Several cops openly think he should have been the next lieutenant on account of his seniority, not to mention he's the highest ranking officer in the department, but Batista is content with the choice of Debra.
  • Stepford Smiler: In the first season. He and his wife were separated while he pretended that they are as happy and passionate as ever.
  • Team Dad: He's always caring, supportive and does his best to look out for everyone on the force.
  • The Bus Came Back/Small Role, Big Impact: Returns in Dexter New Blood at a police conference as the captain of Miami Metro Department for only a couple of scenes, but in those scenes, he meets Angela and provides her information that eventually leads to her finding out Dexter's true identity.
  • Token Good Teammate: Out of the main characters who work for Miami Police Department, he's the only one who has no Jerkass tendencies.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Masuka like everyone else. In the last few seasons he also has this dynamic with Quinn, as he tends to snark at Quinn and be annoyed by his behavior, but in the end he cares for him and considers him a friend.
  • Working with the Ex: Until season 7, he works for his ex-wife Maria LaGuerta.

    Vince Masuka
"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.

  • Annoying Laugh: His signature sound "Heheheheheh".
  • Asian and Nerdy: Frequently referred to as lab-geek.
  • Bald of Awesome: He complete dismantles Ramon Prado with his memorable little lecture about the state of a crime scene. And of course, he's bald.
  • Bromantic Foil: He's the opposite of Dexter, romantically and otherwise; an extroverted, sleazy guy contrasted with the quieter, more polite lab geek with the stable relationship.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He might be an unbelievable sleaze, but Vince is also an extremely talented investigator, which might help explain why he hasn't been fired for conduct.
  • Butt-Monkey: He is the butt of many jokes and Doakes gets on his case the most.
  • Casanova Wannabe: While he does have some success with ladies, he's nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Despite his dirty jokes and weird fetishes, Vince is a loyal friend who does adore women (he seems to actually go for tough women) and has even consoled Debra successfully.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He never misses a chance to snark, even in crime scenes.
  • Extraverted Nerd: An adult version. He's an awkward, dorky lab-geek who is always hitting on women and annoying people with inappropriate comments.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He realizes this in season 3 (Quinn straight up tells him that no one can stand his behavior) and admits that his friends hurt his feelings.
  • Hidden Depths: He may act as the Class Clown but actually wants the respect of his friends. He's also very talented at his job and won't let anyone screw with it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a genuinely caring and loyal friend despite his attitude and wants their respect.
  • Kavorka Man: He actually does get women, and often they're quite gorgeous, despite how pathetic his game seems in the workplace.
  • Last-Name Basis: By most people, although Dexter often calls him by his first name.
  • Life of the Party: Proclaims to be this. Whether it's true or not is relatively unknown.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Probably why he hasn't been hit with sexual harassment complaints.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Any time he drops his usual cheerful, Lovable Sex Maniac attitude, something serious has happen. Some of the time he has become extremely serious were as listed: Learning that his friends don't respect him, investigating the Barrel Gang, and discovering that his lab assistants have done something unethical.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: He plays the role of the comic relief at Miami Metro and often lightens very dark and serious moments.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With just about everyone (except Dexter who is rarely vitriolic and probably the most tolerant of Masuka's antics), but mostly Debra. They enjoy trading insults as she pretends to be overly offended by his flirting.

    María LaGuerta
"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.

  • Adaptational Heroism: She's more sympathetic in the TV series than in the novels.
  • 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.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the books, her first name is "Migdia".
  • Ambition Is Evil: She is power hungry and her ambitions ruin more then a few lives, including Esme Pascal's, her fiance's and Captain Matthews' just to get what she wants.
  • Amicable Exes:
    • With Doakes, Miguel Prado (for a while), and Batista after their marriage fails.
    • To Angel after their marriage fails.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Isaak Sirko for Season 7. While initially beginning the story arc as a Hero Antagonist trying to clear Doakes's name, she ultimately becomes a Knight Templar willing to endanger others and bend the rule of law to the breaking point for the sake of incriminating Dexter. After Sirko's death, she eclipses him entirely as the story arc's preeminent Big Bad.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: With Esme Pascal. After the latter is put in charge of the Homicide division, Maria lends emotional support regarding Esme's unfaithful fiancé and even defends her to the captain when he questions Esme's fitness for duty. But behind the scenes, she was the one sleeping with Esme's fiancé in order to manipulate her into an emotional wreck and get her removed from command.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Season 1, LaGuerta makes no attempt to hide that she is interested in Dexter and shamelessly flirts with him, both publicly and privately, much to his discomfort. This is a characteristic of the character in the book on which Season 1 is based. However, unlike the book, Season 1 ends with LaGuerta staying alive for a long, long time, and after that, the writers never again mention LaGuerta's feelings for Dexter again.
  • The Chessmaster: Manipulates Esme Pascal into a state of complete paranoia until she gets fired by sleeping with her fiance to get the position of Lieutenant back and then dumps him. She later on uses Captain Matthews' history of sleeping with prostitutes to blackmail him for his job and then exposes him anyway.
  • Dirty Cop: She is not above blackmail or any other dirty strategy to get what she wants.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Inverted. Angel, disgusted with her using Debra as a scapegoat for an operation she botched, refuses to sleep in the same room as her - choosing instead to sleep on the couch.
  • Fair Cop: She is a voluptuous middle-aged woman.
  • Friend to All Children: One of her redeeming qualities is that she's incredibly kind to kids.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: She often peppers her dialogue with Spanish when talking to Angel.
  • Hero Antagonist: In Season 7 once she believes she has tangible evidence that Doakes wasn't the Bay Harbor Butcher.
  • It's All About Me: She's willing to send anyone, even her friends (except maybe Doakes), up the river for her own benefit.
  • Jerkass: Ruthless, self-serving, and probably the most unlikable character in the main cast. She gets even worse in later seasons.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She has her decent moments that make you realize that she's not completely bad… at least until season 5, when she Took a Level in Jerkass.
  • Knight Templar: In Season 7, she becomes James Doakes reincarnated.
  • Last-Name Basis: By most people, except the ones who are particularly close to her.
  • Manipulative Bitch: What she did to Pascal. She often shows more interest in politics than in case solving.
  • Mean Boss: To Deb. She constantly treats her poorly; during the Tony Tucci case, this leads to her ignoring Deb's very valid reasons for believing Tucci's innocence which is not only morally wrong, but politically stupid.
  • Morality Pet: For all her flaws, she genuinely cares about Batista even after their divorce and their interactions humanize her to a degree.
  • Never My Fault: One of her defining characteristics. She genuinely believes her misdeeds, failed plans, or cruel actions are not her fault.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Although she is technically right that Doakes isn't the Bay Harbor Butcher, her defensiveness towards Doakes ends up jeopardizing her credibility on the case. This causes Agent Lundy to reject her input.
  • Office Romance: It's revealed that Doakes and she were lovers when they were partners. She also dated Batista while being his direct superior.
  • Overly Long Name: María Esperanza del Alma LaGuerta.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite her near constant antagonism towards Debra, she does genuinely care about others like Doakes.
  • Rabid Cop: After she Took a Level in Jerkass.
  • Rank Up: Starts the series as lieutenant, gets promoted to Captain in season 6 after blackmailing Matthews.
  • Smug Snake: In Season 6 after it's revealed what she did, she has no shame in saying so proudly.
  • 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.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Debra's Tomboy. Debra wears masculine outfits, while LaGuerta is always impeccably elegant.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: At first she was fairly horrible, but she had her good qualities. Then comes Season 6 and she loses every good quality she ever had.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Invoked when she gets briefly demoted by Matthews, as she makes Esmee Pascal fail to recover the job.
  • Working with the Ex: With Doakes and Batista. She's their boss, too.

    Joseph "Joey" Quinn
"This Dexter guy. First of all who the fuck is named Dexter? Did his parents know he was going to be a fucking egghead?"

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.

  • Anti-Hero: He's a pretty big jerkass and is a dirty cop, but he is on the side of good.
  • The Casanova: After his break up with Debra in early season 6, he starts having random one-night stands.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Quinn was a very different character is season 3. He's introduced as the new homicide detective who's under investigation by IA and can be a bit manipulative, but overall he's a good cop if one that tends to bend rules. Even his IA investigation is a result of him covering for another cop which, while it ended badly, was at least well intentioned. Fast forward to the next season and he's a flat out Dirty Cop, stealing money from a crime scene in the season premier and justifying it by saying the city doesn't pay him enough. He only goes downhill especially in season 6 and 7.
    • His relationship with Dexter abruptly changes as well, being friendly enough with him in season 3 to help with his bachelor party and attend his wedding before developing his vendetta against the "lab geek" in season 4 and 5, likely to make him a replacement for Doakes.
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Two hours undercover in a latino night club, six girls. One can understand why.
    • He had a sexual relationship with Debra.
    • In season 7, Quinn met and came to be intimate with Nadia.
    • By the season finale, he and Jamie are boyfriend and girlfriend.
  • Cowboy Cop: And a Dirty Cop. He isn't massively corrupt, but does bend the rules when he thinks he can get away with it.
  • Defective Detective
  • Despair Event Horizon: When Debra dumps him he falls into an escapable pit of despair.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • In season 4, he steals some money from a crime scene.
    • 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.
  • Fair Cop: Quinn is handsome, with his chiselled jaw, and well-built.
  • Final Guy: He shares this role with Batista and is also the only one who was at first suspicious of Dexter to survive the entire series.
  • 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.
  • Hot-Blooded: He tends to act without thinking and it backfires on him big time.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Introduced in season 3 and remains a prominent character until the end of the show.
  • Idiot Hero: Prone to Love Makes You Dumb related mistakes.
  • Jerkass: Mildly at first, but after Debra broke up with him in season 6 he becomes aggressive, crude, unreliable and very petty.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Unlike Doakes who was always aggressive towards Dexter without being provoked, Quinn has a more concrete reason to dislike Dexter. In season 4,5, and early season 6, we see Dexter being a jerk to Quinn more often than the other way around (which is odd because Dexter is usually nice and affable to most people except villains...and Quinn, apparently).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Before he Took a Level in Jerkass and he returns to this in season 7 thanks to Nadia.
  • Lady Killer In Love: His relationships with Nadia and Debra (and to a lesser extent Jamie) are the most genuine examples.
  • Last-Name Basis: Usually referred to by his last name.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's quite a Fair Cop and probably the male character who gets more Shirtless Scenes and even explicit sex scenes with his various girlfriends, particularly Christine.
  • Narcissist:
    • Possibly a high functioning one. He breaks rules, steals from crime scenes, takes bribes, drinks all night and sleeps at work, jeopardizes cases by sleeping with witnesses, etc but genuinely doesn't understand why everyone is bothered by his behaviour, feeling he should basically be allowed to do whatever he wants and acting like he's the victim whenever he's called out for his behaviour.
    • Probably best exemplified in season 4 when he's extremely angry that Dexter calls him a dirty cop. He justifies his stealing from a crime scene in that money from crime proceeds would only be destroyed and the city doesn't pay him enough in his opinion. As Dexter points out, Quinn has (or had at least) family money that allowed him to drive a fancy car, wear an expensive watch and own a place large enough that Deb is shocked he could afford it meaning he has no mortgage, rent or car payments. Add to this his detective salary which is modest but certainly not low and there's no way he needs the money to get by, he's simply greedy and entitled.
  • Rabid Cop: He really starts to lose his sense of morality after Debra breaks up with him.
  • Really Gets Around: He seems to have a new sexual relationship with a different woman in every season, and is known for sleeping around with people he shouldn't.
  • 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He's brought in to replace Doakes, and as of mid-season 5, is following the exact same path.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold again in season 7 where's he's shown to be a loving boyfriend to Nadia and also in season 8 where he's caring towards Debra and acts more friendly to Dexter (he and Dexter never get along in season 4 and 5).
  • Two First Names: Either "Joseph" or "Quinn" can be used as a first name.

    Rita Bennett
"I can't believe I found the one good, truly decent man left on the planet."
Played by: Julie Benz

"Deb must be a mess. I mean, falling for a serial killer?"

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.

  • Anyone Can Die: As we learn at the end of Season 4.
  • Batter Up!: Uses a bat to defend herself from Paul.
  • The Beard: Unknowingly started off as this for Dexter so that he could blend into society, although he was asexual rather than gay. It 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Rita is very kind and conciliatory, and she would rather avoid conflict if at all possible, but everyone has their breaking point. When her neighbor's beagle won't stop baying and keeps her kids up all night, and the neighbor flippantly dares her to do anything about it while laughing in her face, she kidnaps the dog and donates it to another family across town.
  • 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.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: She calls out her emotionally abusive mother.
  • Cosplay: Does one of Lara Croft in season 1.
  • Damsel out of Distress: After Paul leaves prison, he arrives to his house and tries to rape her, but she is able to fight back.
  • Death by Adaptation: She's still alive in the book series.
  • Dramatic Irony: Just look at both her quotes! There's quite a bit like those in the first season.
  • Erotic Eating : With chocolate pudding, but apparently only when she's pregnant.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl : In her youth, Rita was a self-described "dress over the head party girl."
  • 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.
  • 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. (That is, unless Trinity said something to her.)
  • The Ingenue: She's a fairly naive woman, for a mother of three.
  • Kill the Cutie: In the TV-series only. She wasn't killed in the novels.
  • Morality Pet: To Dexter. He behaved wonderful to her for most of the time.
  • Nice Girl: She is very nice and very sweet to everybody to the point of being a pushover.
  • The Pollyanna: With all the crap that has happened in her life, she stays relatively upbeat.
  • Rape as Backstory: Her ex-husband was a crack addict who repeatedly beat and raped her.
  • Serial Spouse: Although she never talks about her first husband (before drug addict Paul), it's revealed she has been married twice before eventually marrying Dexter.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Rita fell for Dexter because he was a kind man who loved kids, and was nothing like her ex.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The girly girl to Debra's tomboy.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: She was sweet, kind, a little broken and a little naive but with nothing but good intentions...and she died needlessly.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • 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.
  • Two First Names: Either "Rita" or "Bennett" can be used as a first name. It also applies after she married Dexter, and took the name "Morgan".

    Tom Matthews
" 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.

  • Ambition Is Evil: He will throw anyone under the bus to keep his political power.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: To LaGuerta at least. He is protective of Debra and Dexter.
  • Blackmail: How Maria gets him to step down.
  • The Bus Came Back: In season 7, he came back to the series to help a way.
  • Cool Old Guy: At first he seems that way, but then it's revealed to be a real piece of work.
  • Da Chief: Mostly in season 1, but still remains this until LaGuerta topples him with a choice piece of blackmail. He returns in season 8.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He can come up with some funny quips, mostly aimed towards LaGuerta or other people he does not like.
  • Dirty Old Man: In secret, he uses prostitutes.
  • 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.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Batista pays the price when he needs to put pressure on LaGuerta.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Covered up Harry's suicide to spare Dexter and Deb the pain of having to deal with knowing their father took his own life.
  • Pet the Dog: He cares about Dexter and Debra due to his friendship with Harry and takes a shot on Debra in Season 1 and has her transferred to Homicide.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Refers to Maria as a 'spic detective'.
  • Put on a Bus: Vanishes after his history of sleeping with prostitutes is revealed and his job is taken by LaGuerta.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: To people he dislikes like LaGuerta, he will do all he can to mess with them if it suits his political agenda.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: Like Jamie, he's an Ascended Extra on the eighth season.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: To people he likes like Dexter or Debra.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers them regularly to Maria LaGuerta.
  • Resigned in Disgrace: Forced to resign after he is found with a dead prostitute overdosed on drugs. He initially called Lt. LaGuerta to help him cover it up, but she later uses it to take her boss's job.
  • Smug Snake: Whenever he has the upper hand over LaGuerta he is very smug about it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Hands them out frequently to LaGuerta, and sometimes to Debra, Batista or whoever else messes up.

    Jamie Batista
"How about, we wind up the Kentucky Derby, and we focus on breakfast. Yummy, okay?"
Played by: Aimee Garcia

Angel's younger sister, who becomes Harrison's new nanny in the sixth season.

  • Ascended Extra: She was promoted to main character status on the eighth season.
  • The Cutie: She's downright adorable with a positive, bright smile.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: She states that Dexter "wouldn't kill a fly" and begins a relationship with Louis.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: She's one of the happiest characters on the show, mostly because she isn't on the Police Force.
  • Magical Nanny: To Harrison, taking the role left by Sonya on the fifth season after she was Put on a Bus.
  • 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.
  • Nice Girl: She is a genuinely nice, cute girl who cares deeply about Harrison and even works late at night watching over him when Dexter has to leave, without hesitation.
  • Practically Different Generations: It's mentioned on one of their dinners together that Angel and Jamie did not grow up together. Given the 15-20 year age difference between them it's likely Angel had left home before she was born or when she was very young.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: For season 8.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: She has huge, expressive eyes that contribute to her role as The Cutie.
  • 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.
  • Shipper on Deck: Plays matchmaker for Dexter and Cassie.

    James Doakes
"Surprise, motherfucker!"
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.

  • Abusive Parents: His father was said to have been abusive, and a butcher, but it only strengthened his status as the prime suspect of being the Bay Harbor Butcher.
  • Adaptational Heroism: He doesn't have the same backstory where in the books he was involved in an operation where his team handed Doctor Danco, a professional torturer over to El Salvador. Doakes is a fairly ethical cop if unscrupulous on some fronts.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the novels, Doakes's first name is "Albert".
  • Amicable Exes: He and his ex-lover LaGuerta are close friends.
  • Anti-Hero: A mix between Pragmatic Hero and Unscrupulous Hero, he's even more foul mouthed and abrasive than Debra and is a huge jerk to Dexter, but he's firmly on the side of good and is an honest cop.
  • Arch-Enemy: In both the books and the show, Dexter has referred to Doakes as an arch enemy. Until his death at the end of Season 2, he was one of Dexter's recurring antagonists with both characters gradually having more personal enmity towards each other.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: A former U.S. Army soldier with experience in special operations; specifically, he was an Army Ranger. He opted to leave the military behind for a career as a police officer.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: He's often in charge of cases or has a major role in them.
  • Bald of Awesome: It's never revealed if he's bald or shaves, but it's still awesome nonetheless.
  • The Big Guy: Doakes tends to be among the most physically capable of the main characters. He is also more prone to using physical force.
  • Bullying a Dragon: His treatment of Dexter qualifies as this, especially since he's the only one who suspects that Dexter is hiding something and may be potentially dangerous.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor guy has all kinds of crap happen to him. And he's still much luckier than his book counterpart.
  • Born Detective: Lampshaded by Dexter, who doesn't know why Doakes is the only cop not to like him.
  • Clear My Name: He ends up framed for Dexter's crimes as the Bay Harbor Butcher due to his own actions. He then tries to clear his name and prove Dexter is the real killer. It doesn't end well.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Got to be about once a sentence.
  • Cowboy Cop: He doesn't start out as this despite his overall demeanor. But as he becomes more intent on catching Dexter, he starts breaking more rules. It's deconstructed in that his actions simply make him seem more suspicious as a Bay Harbor Butcher suspect.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He worked for special ops before coming to Miami Metro, and he claims that he's pretty messed up because of this. Evident in his obsession with exposing Dexter for what he really is.
  • Death by Adaptation: Killed by Lila in order to protect Dexter. In the books he survives, albeit badly maimed by Doctor Danco.
  • 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."
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: He was a member of the U.S. Army's special ops. Specifically, he was a Ranger, meaning he more than likely saw a good deal of combat in his time.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even for someone like Doakes who has a lot of integrity and "does everything out in the open", Angel is "too damn honest" for him.
  • Fair Cop: Doakes is a fit and attractive man. Quite scary though.
  • 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.
    • Doakes pushes other people away in order protect them from his violent tendencies. Dexter is unwilling to sacrifice either his life as a killer or his life as a family man.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While he is a good cop, he has a dark past, and pushes people away, but this is only to prevent his own violent tendencies from affecting anyone. But this in turn has negated him from having a personal life, and as such very little friends.
    • Once all the evidence [incorrectly] points to him being the Bay Harbor Butcher, his reputation as a cop was destroyed posthumously, with no one (except his family, Laguerta and Dexter) attending his funeral.
    • Averted with Laguerta, who is the only one at Miami Metro who was loyal enough to believe and try to prove his innocence.
  • Genius Bruiser: A muscular tough guy who served with the US Special Forces, but also a good detective and one of the smartest characters.
  • Good Is Not Nice: An antisocial jerk who's prone to violence, but also a damn fine cop and a good person at the end of the day.
  • 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 serves as one of Dexter's main foes on the side of good.
  • Hero of Another Story: Although he's not quite a Deuteragonist, he gets a fair amount of focus as a character during the first two seasons: he has a brief subplot with Drug Kingpin Carlos Guerrero, serves as Debra's mentor for much of the Ice-Truck Killer case, and a few episodes deal with his overall psyche as a more aggressive cop.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Within the Department, he already has a reputation of being unreasonably hostile towards Dexter and it only gets worse, to the point where he becomes a prime suspect in the Bay Harbor Butcher case.
  • Honor Before Reason: In his own words, he does "everything out in the open". Ironically, this motivates his open antagonism towards Dexter: He generally makes his animosity and suspicion of Dexter quite clear even though it would be more pragmatic to investigate covertly.
  • Hot-Blooded: He has a hot temper, especially when Dexter is around.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • He doesn't hesitate to call out his coworkers when they screw up, but he's also flexible enough to learn from them (evidenced when he teams up with Debra).
    • He occasionally calls out LaGuerta for her over ambitiousness.
    • And of course, he was right about being suspicious of Dexter. Dexter makes sure the point is buried under the obnoxiousness of a public antagonism.
    • Doakes tells Dexter that while he understands Dexter mainly goes after killers, the lengths he goes for his ritual are far beyond what is necessary. From what we can tell from Harry's own reaction to Dexter's work, Doakes isn't far off.
    • As Dexter himself briefly acknowledges, he's right that Dex' carefully controlled double lives are inevitably going to spin out of his control, and that the people he cares for will be hurt or killed in the fallout when it happens. If Dexter had gone through with turning himself in when Doakes promised to support him in doing so, Rita and Debra would both still be alive by the season finale and he could still have lived some kind of existence in prison.
  • Jerkass to One: Doakes is hostile and antagonistic towards Dexter, almost always unprovoked.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite the above, he's an honest cop who tries to do the right thing and watches out for the people he cares about.
  • Kill It with Fire: How he meets his demise.
  • Last-Name Basis: By most people, except LaGuerta.
  • The Lost Lenore: His relation with LaGuerta was brief, but she hasn't forgotten him and in season 7 she resumes his aborted Clear My Name quest.
  • The Mentor: He serves as Debra's partner once she gets transferred to Homicide and he is very tough but fair on her and can be quite friendly to her.
  • Mirror Character: Dexter notes that the only way Doakes could be so astute regarding him was if he had some of his own killing urges. In the book series, he even has his own Dark Passenger. On top of that, Doakes actually performs a Vigilante Execution on-screen - a Tonton Macoute he met but failed to kill during his military operations in Haiti. One could say that he's identical to Dexter; where Dexter controls his killing urges via the Code of Harry, Doakes controls it via military discipline and police procedures. And he still slips up.
  • Morality Pet: He's interestingly one to LaGuerta, who shows more her caring side towards him and even puts aside her political ambitions when he's wanted as the Bay Harbor Butcher. She even stops Dexter from filing a complaint against him despite Doakes' very visible antagonism towards him. It unfortunately has some negative consequences as well; LaGuerta often acts too lenient towards Doakes and it costs her credibility during the Bay Harbor Butcher Case.
  • Not So Above It All: Although he is abrasive and antagonistic towards Dexter, he's for the most part portrayed as one of the most moral characters on the show. However he still has his flaws and failings even aside from those.
    • It's revealed that he slept with the wife of one of his colleagues.
    • Doakes admits that he divorced his wife because he was afraid he'd kill her.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Doakes' suspicion of Dexter comes off as this to other characters. In his pursuit, he resorts to violating Dexter's privacy and baselessly accusing Dexter of hiding something. Thus, the one time where Dexter actually decides to retaliate and set him up, Doakes' claims simply makes him look more obsessed.
  • Only Sane Man: A rare example. He's the only one to notice something strange about Dexter, yet this only makes him looks as the total opposite of this trope in the eyes of everyone else.
  • The Plot Reaper: He's the most well-known Hero Antagonist of the series, so his suspicious nature would've inevitably ended up clashing with Dexter. His actor Erik King even notes that they couldn't have spent several seasons with Doakes saying "I'm watching you" without losing the integrity of the character. The issue is the Doakes doesn't fit Dexter's code and the trials would likely take years (by Dexter's own admission). Luckily for Dexter, Lila ends up resolving the issue for him. While there have been cops that have taken up Doakes' role as a suspicious antagonist, they haven't been nearly as effective.
  • Posthumous Character: A remarkable one time flashback reapparition in the season 7 finale, incidentally named after his Signature Line "Surprise, motherfucker"
  • Properly Paranoid: He's the only person who thinks Dexter is suspicious. He's oh-so right.
  • Race Lift: The books implied he was white. In the series, he is black.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Constantly throwing profanity at characters, especially Dexter. He even outdoes Debra with his swearing.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: In Season 2, Doakes begins stalking Dexter because he correctly suspects that Dexter is hiding a dark secret.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: The sympathetic angle is usually cancelled by his abrasiveness, he would be an Inspector Javert if only Dexter were not actually guilty.
  • The Worf Effect: Doakes is for the most part portrayed as a physically capable police officer with both experience and skills. However, he's shown getting caught off-guard and subdued a few times within the series to show the threat level he's facing. Notably, Dexter is shown having the upper hand whenever they physically clash.
  • Worthy Opponent: Dexter thinks that Doakes was one of the few people who understood him. He was right.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In other cop shows, Doakes would likely be the main character; he's a rebellious cop who bends the rules, is a brilliant detective who is the only one who is suspicious of the villain (Dexter), and keeps investigating even after others have given up. In the actual show, he's the Hero Antagonist and Foil to the morally ambiguous Serial-Killer Killer. Because of this, he is utilized more as a moral dilemma for Dexter's development and is ultimate sacrificed for the story purposes of maintaining Dexter's freedom.