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Dexter Morgan

File:TropeDexter 2758.jpg

 Played by Michael C Hall

"I'm Dexter, and... I'm not sure what I am. I just know there's something dark in me."

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 sociopathic 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.


  • Affably Evil: Bordering sometimes on Faux Affably Evil.
  • Afraid of Blood: Especially in the books. He expresses considerable unease about blood that isn't tidily confined, which makes his choice of career seem rather odd until you realise that his job effectively requires putting blood back into order and so could actually be therapeutic. Of course, given that after his mother's murder, he spent at least two days sitting in her blood, surrounded by pieces of her and other ex-people, the aversion is understandable.

 Dexter Morgan: Blood. Sometimes it sets my teeth on edge, other times it helps me control the chaos.

  • Ambiguously Evil: Subverted; he considers himself Necessarily Evil while in-universe opinions (and even out of universe) regarding his work as the BHB range from "Byronic Hero" to "Ax Crazy and in it For the Evulz". It should be noted that for him necessary evil doesn't mean "small evil in order to do great good." It means "small evil in order to control myself so I don't do even greater evil.
  • Animals Hate Him: Especially in the novels, where it is revealed that he have unsuccessfully tried to keep pets, which included a dog that kept barking and growling at him, and a turtle that would hide away from him in its shell to the point where it died of starvation.
  • Anti-Hero (Type V): Unless you consider him an....
  • Anti-Villain (Type I)
  • Badass: If there's a dirty cop, ex-special forces soldier, gigantic gangster, Nicaraguan death squad leader or fucking Jock Dexter can't kill he hasn't met them and killed them yet.
  • Badass Bookworm
  • 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones
  • 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.
  • Control Freak
  • Creature of Habit: He's obsessed with daily rituals and routines of his and other peoples.
  • Creepy Monotone: His inner monologue.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Really really DEADpan.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Dexter IS the poster boy of this trope.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Dexter kills only killers and pedophiles.
    • 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 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.
      • Though this gets thrown out the window in season 6, where he becomes obsessed with taking down the Doomsday Killers himself and sabotages the police investigation (which incidentally makes his sister look very bad after she was just promoted to lieutenant) several times.
      • It doesn't help how the 4th season ended. If he had used his position to help instead of impede the investigation of the Trinity Killer, Rita might not be dead.
    • And of course The Code.
  • The Fettered
  • First-Person Smartass
  • Heroic Sociopath
    • In the books. In the show he comes off as more of a Heroic Secret Schizoid with uncontrollable homicidal urges.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Seems like this is going to be a big theme of season 6. On the one hand it's averted because Dexter has a fairly realistic reason for non-belief (In his own words "it doesn't make sense"). On the other hand it's played straight because the show in general seems to take the view that anyone who isn't a serial killer should have religious beliefs of somekind whether they were raised with them or not because only an insane traumatized serial killer wouldn't believe in something. On yet another hand this is partially deconstructed as Dexter points out the hypocrisy of religious murderers and the main villains of season 6 seem to be some kind of apocalyptic religious nuts.
    • Note the "something" in that statement; Dexter refuses to even state he believes in personal morality like most atheists, which is what freaks people out.
    • Played for Drama: In the sixth season,
      • He can't get a handle on the religious motivation behind the killings.
      • He makes an effort to learn about religion, because he wants to instill some sort of morality into his son. Not that he make a good teacher...
  • Hot Dad
  • Karma Houdini
  • Knife Nut: His routine involves a knife, but he sometimes chooses a more exotic weapon - axe, chainsaw, hammer...
  • Knight Templar Parent: Boarders on this at times.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: His first thought when someone gets in his way is "can I kill them?"
  • Noble Demon
  • Papa Wolf
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil
  • 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 baptised at by the man he killed, Brother Sam.
  • Principles Zealot: Deconstruction of the evil(ish) version of this trope, 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.
  • Redheaded Hero
  • Serial Killer Killer
  • Stepford Smiler: He can be types A, B, and C all at the same time.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Seems to have a fondness for steak.
  • Ubermensch: Dexter becomes this when he starts ignoring his "Dark Passenger" and the Code of Harry to start picking his own targets.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Dexter often talks about how he doesn't have any emotions. While his emotions are definitely subdued, it's pretty clear that's not the case. Just look at Papa Wolf above.
    • He's actually pretty reliable regarding everything but himself.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: 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.
  • Why Did it Have To Be Jocks?
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Dexter is fond of children, and tends to drop his usually 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 pedophile 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.

Miami Metro Police Department

Debra Morgan

File:TropeDeb 7783.jpg

 Played by Jennifer Carpenter

"Ugh, a dress. I feel like a transvestite."

Dexter's foul-mouthed, tomboyish foster-sister. Deb is a detective in Miami Metro's Homicide division. Appears in seasons 1-5, played by Jennifer Carpenter. 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.


Maria La Guerta

File:TropeMaria 7601.jpg

 Played by Lauren Velez

"The operative word is "boss". Show some respect."

Lieutenant Maria La Guerta is a tough, determined woman in command of the Homicide division who is not above making her subordinates feel intimidated.


Angel Batista

File:TropeAngel 9473.jpg

 Played by David Zayas

"Don't forget! Tell the universe what you really need!"

Angelo "Angel" 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.


James Doakes

File:TropeDoakes 9729.jpg

 Played by Erik King

"Surprise, motherfucker!"

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.



Vince Masuka

File:TropeVince 6898.jpg

 Played by CS Lee

"Now you're dealing with science and science is one cold-hearted bitch with a fourteen inch strap-on."

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.


Joseph "Joey" Quinn

File:TropeQuinn 7335.jpg

 Played by Desmond Harrington

"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.


Harry Morgan

File:TropeHarry 3093.jpg

 Played by James Remar

"As a cop, I only fire my weapon to save a life – that's a code I live by. Killing must serve a purpose. Otherwise, it's just plain murder."

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.


Tom Matthews

File:TropeMatthews 6373.jpg

 Played by Geoff Pierson

"...you haven't seen my true colors, Maria. But you're about to."

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.


Ellen Wolf

 Played by Anne Ramsey

A defense attorney and Miguel Prado's main rival.

Barbara Gianna

 Played by Kristen Dattilo

A detective within Miami Metro's Vice Division. She meets Angel while working undercover, and later dates him.

Cira Manzon

 Played by April L Hernandez

A competent young officer who Debra takes under her wing.

Ryan Chambers

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 Played by Brea Grant

"I love homicide...I've always been fascinated by people who do bad things."

A sexy new intern in the Forensics Department.


Mike Anderson

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 Played by Billy Brown

A transfer detective from Chicago brought in to fill Debra's now-vacant detective slot.



Family and Friends

Rita Bennett

File:TropeRita 394.jpg

 Played by Julie Benz

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

Dexter's girlfriend and later wife. 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.


Astor Bennett

 Played by Christina Robinson

Cody Bennett

 Played by Daniel Goldman & Preston Bailey

Harrison Morgan

 Played by Luke & Evan Kruntchev

  • For the record, he's around 6.

Paul Bennett

 Played by Mark Pellegrino

Anton Briggs

 Played by David Ramsey

Christine Hill

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 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.


Neil Perry

 Played by Sam Witwer

A computer analyst who is arrested a likely suspect in the Ice Truck Killer case. He isn't the killer.

Frank Lundy

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 Played by Keith Carradine

"People like us don't really belong, we just pass through."

A legendary FBI agent with quirky habits and finely attuned senses when it comes to finding serial killers. He begins a relationship with Debra.


Lumen Pierce

File:TropeLumen 5651.jpg

 Played by Julia Stiles

"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. She is played by Julia Stiles.


Brother Sam AKA Samuel Wright

File:TropeSam 9314.jpg

 Played by Mos

"I'm not afraid of you son...and damn sure ain't afraid to die. I know what's waiting for me on the other side, do you?"

Once on Death Row, Samuel Wright is now a reformed man of God...or so he says. Miami Metro are still highly suspicious of him, and don't know if he's honestly changed or has different intentions.


Jamie Batista

 Played by Aimee Garcia

Angel's baby sister and Harrison's new nanny.



Antagonists

Rudy Cooper/Brian Moser AKA The Ice Truck Killer

 Played by Christian Camargo

"You can't be a killer and a hero. It doesn't work that way!"

The Big Bad and Dexter's main nemesis of the first season. The Ice Truck Killer takes hookers, kills them and using a freezer, starting with an ice truck hence the name, drains their blood and chops them into pieces before putting them on display for all to see. Throughout the entirety of the first season he leaves clues that he knows only Dexter would find as a game of cat n' mouse is played. It's eventually revealed that the Ice Truck Killer is Dexter's brother, Brian Moser, who wanted to get close to Dexter and live their lives together, as they were the only two people who would ever understand each other. When Brian reveals that he would have to kill Debra to do this, Dexter regretfully kills him in the TV series, but spares him and even leaves him a head start after being shot by LaGuerta in the books.


Lila West/Tourney

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 Played by Jaime Murray

"You haven't got the first idea who you are, have you? Dexter, meet Dexter. I'm gonna help the two of you get to know each other."

Dexter's temporary Love Interest during season 2 and Big Bad of that season. 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.


Miguel Prado

File:TropeMiguel 4899.jpg

 Played by Jimmy Smits

"I'll do what I want, when I want, to whomever 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.


Jorge Orozco AKA George Washington King

 Played by Jesse Borrego

A Nicaraguan Serial Killer and supporting antagonist in season three.

Arthur Mitchell AKA The Trinity Killer

File:TropeArthur 932.jpg

 Played by John Lithgow

"It's already over."

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. He is played with terrifying haminess by John Lithgow.



Stan Liddy

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 Played by Peter Weller

"You fuck with the bull, you get the horn."

A Dirty Cop who is recruited by Quinn to investigate Dexter. However, he quickly gets out of control…


Professor James Geller

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 Played by Edward James Olmos

"Is that what you want, Travis? To hurt me? You see how I suffer for your sins!"

A Professor of Religious Studies who also happens to be a serial killer and Evil Mentor to one of his students.


Travis Marshall

File:TropeTravis 2741.jpg

 Played by Colin Hanks

"You're not going anywhere until you've repented for your sins."

A student of Professor James Geller and his serial killer protege.


  • Anti-Villain: He doesn't want to kill anybody. Unfortunately for him, the "Geller" personality is the stronger one.
    • as of "Ricochet Rabbit" this may be a sham, though one must not forget "Geller".
  • Ax Crazy: May not be the most evil Dexter villain, but is definitely the most insane.
  • Bastard Understudy
  • Big Bad
  • Cain and Abel: He killed his sister, though he was under the delusion that 'Geller' had done it.
  • Dead Older Sister: "Geller" murdered his sister to "free him" and allow him to return to their work. Travis didn't take it well.
  • The Dragon: To Professor Gellar Though Gellar was just in his mind he still follow his plans
  • Evil Counterpart: Like Dexter he has a sister that he cares about more than anyone else, and he's guided by an elder mentor who's just a vision.
  • Heel Face Turn: After an encounter with Dexter forces him to realize that Geller 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 It Got Worse for him. Though he promises to help Dexter kill Geller as a result.
    • But then he goes back to "serving" Geller, or at least his interpretation of him.
  • Lack of Empathy: As said in his psych evaluation file.
  • Pet the Dog: He genuinely loves his sister.
  • Split Personality
  • The Sociopath

Barrel Girl Gang

Jordan Chase AKA Eugene Greer

File:TropeChase 9620.jpg

 Played by Jonny Lee Miller

"Tick, tick, tick, that´s the sound of your life running out."

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, a group of serial rapists.


Cole Harmon

 Played by Chris Vance

The loyal head of security for Jordan Chase.

Boyd Fowler

 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.

Dan Mendell

 Played by Sean O’Bryan

A dentist and scout for the group, luring the women into the gang's clutches.

Alex Tilden

 Played by Scott Grimes

A banker and weak-willed flunky of Jordan Chase.

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