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Dexter an American television drama series. The series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer, hunting down criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system. Set in Miami, the show's first season derived from the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004), the first of the Dexter series novels by Jeff Lindsay. It was adapted for television by screenwriter James Manos, Jr., who wrote the first episode. Subsequent seasons evolved independently of Lindsay's works.

Thumbnail imageOrphaned at the age of three and harboring a traumatic secret, Dexter was adopted by Miami policeman Harry Morgan who recognized his homicidal tendencies and taught him to channel his gruesome passion for human dissection in a "constructive" way — by killing only heinous criminals (such as child molesters, mob assassins, rapists, serial killers of the innocent etc.) who have slipped through the justice system. To satisfy his interest in blood and to facilitate his own crimes, Dexter works as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department (based on the real-life Miami-Dade Police Department). Although his drive to kill is unflinching, he is able to affect normal emotions and keep up his appearance as a socially responsible human being.

Dexter was nominated for 23 Primetime Emmy Awards, in the category of Outstanding Drama Series four times in a row, from 2008 to 2011, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for Michael C. Hall) five times in a row, from 2008 to 2012. It has also been nominated for nine Golden Globe Awards (winning two) and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards.

On December 14, 2006, Michael C. Hall was nominated for a Golden Globe Award at the 64th Golden Globe Awards. In 2008, the show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for its second season (Showtime's first ever drama to be nominated for the award), and its star for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. It won neither, losing to Mad Men and to Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston. In 2010, Hall and John Lithgow, in their respective categories, won a Golden Globe for their performances, on the same night, for their work in Season 4.

CharacterActor
Dexter Morgan Michael C. HallThumbnail image
Debra Morgan Jennifer Carpenter
Sgt. Angel Batista David Zayas

Besides Michael C. Hall playing the title character, the show's supporting cast includes Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter's adoptive sister and co-worker (and later boss) Debra, and James Remar as Dexter's adoptive father, Harry. Dexter's co-workers include Lauren Vélez as Lieutenant (later Captain) María LaGuerta, Dexter and Debra's supervisor, David Zayas as Detective Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Angel Juan Marcos Batista, and C. S. Lee as lab tech Vince Masuka (promoted to title credits in Season 2). Erik King portrayed the troubled Sgt James Doakes for the first two seasons of the show. Desmond Harrington joined the cast in Season 3 as Joey Quinn; his name was promoted to the title credits as of Season 4. Geoff Pierson plays Captain Tom Matthews of Miami Metro Homicide. Julie Benz starred as Dexter's girlfriend turned wife Rita in Seasons 1–4 with a guest appearance in Season 5. Rita's children, Astor and Cody, are played by Christina Robinson and Preston Bailey (who replaced Daniel Goldman after the First Season). Dexter's infant son Harrison is played by twins, Evan and Luke Kruntchev through Season 7. For Season 8, Harrison was played by Jadon Wells. Aimee Garcia plays Batista's younger sister, Jamie.

Notable appearances in Season 1 are Christian Camargo as Rudy and Mark Pellegrino as Rita's abusive ex-husband Paul. Jaime Murray portrayed Lila Tournay in Season 2, a beautiful but unhinged, know-it-all, British "artist" who becomes obsessed with Dexter. Keith Carradine, as Special FBI Agent Frank Lundy, and Jimmy Smits, as ADA Miguel Prado, each appeared in season-long character arcs in seasons two and three, respectively. David Ramsey, who plays confidential informant Anton Briggs in Season 3, returned in Season 4, romantically involved with Debra. John Lithgow joined the cast in Season 4 as the "Trinity Killer". Carradine returned in Season 4, reprising his role as newly retired FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy, who was hunting the Trinity Killer. Courtney Ford was featured in Season 4 as an ambitious reporter who mixes business with pleasure, getting romantically involved with Joseph while simultaneously fishing for sources and stories. Julia Stiles joined the cast in Season 5 as Lumen Pierce, a woman who gets involved in a complex relationship with Dexter after the tragedy that culminated the previous season. Season 5 also saw Peter Weller cast as Stan Liddy, a corrupt narcotics cop. In the Sixth Season, Mos Def was cast as Brother Sam, a convicted murderer turned born-again Christian, and Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks guest-starred as Professor James Gellar and Travis Marshall who were involved in a murderous apocalyptic cult. The seventh and eighth seasons features multiple guest stars including Ray Stevenson as Ukrainian mob boss Isaak, a man with a personal vendetta against Dexter, Yvonne Strahovski as Hannah McKay former accomplice of a spree killer, Jason Gedrick as strip club owner George, also part of the mob, and Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a neuropsychiatrist that takes an interest in Dexter.

Margo Martindale had a recurring role as Camilla, a records office worker who was close friends with Dexter's adoptive parents. JoBeth Williams portrays Rita's suspicious mother, Gail Brandon, in four episodes of Season 2. Anne Ramsay portrayed defense attorney Ellen Wolf, Miguel's nemesis. Valerie Cruz had a recurring role as Miguel's wife, Sylvia. In Season 6, Billy Brown was cast as transferred-in Detective Mike Anderson to replace Debra after her promotion to Lieutenant; Josh Cooke played Louis Greene, a lab tech and Masuka's intern; and Darri Ingolfsson played Oliver Saxon in Season 8.

Thumbnail imageCritical Reception

Although reception to individual seasons has varied, the response to Dexter has been mostly positive. The review aggregator website Metacritic calculated a score of 77 from a possible 100 for Season 1 based on 27 reviews, making it the third-best reviewed show of the 2006 fall season. This score includes four 100% scores from the New York Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times and People Weekly. Brian Lowry, who had written one of the three poor reviews Metacritic tallied for the show, recanted his negative review in a year-end column for the trade magazine Variety after watching the full season.

On Metacritic, Season 2 has a score of 85 with all 11 reviews positive; Season 3 has 78 with 13 reviews; Season 4 has 79 with 14 reviews; Season 5 has a score of 75 with 11 reviews; Season 6 has a score of 63 with 10 reviews; Season 7 has a score of 81 with 7 reviews; Season 8 has a score of 71 with 10 reviews. While remarking on some of the show's more formulaic elements (quirky detective, hero with dense workmates, convenient plot contrivances), Tad Friend of The New Yorker remarked that when Dexter is struggling to connect with Rita or soliciting advice from his victims, "the show finds its voice."ù

Popular Reception

The Third Season finale on December 14, 2008, was watched by 1.51 million viewers, giving Showtime its highest ratings for any of its original series since 2004, when Nielsen started including original shows on premium channels in its ratings. The fourth season finale aired on December 13, 2009 and was watched by 2.6 million viewers. It broke records for all of Showtime's original series and was their highest rated telecast in over a decade. The Fifth Season finale was watched by a slightly smaller number of people (2.5 million). The show was declared the ninth highest rated show for the first ten years of IMDb.com Pro (2002–2012). The seventh season as a whole was the highest rated season of Dexter, watched by 6.1 million total weekly viewers across all platforms.

Thumbnail imageSeveral comparisons and connections between the TV show and its protagonist have been drawn during criminal prosecutions. Andrew Conley said the show inspired him to strangle his 10-year-old brother. In an affidavit filed in Ohio County court, police said Conley stated that he "watches a show called Dexter on Showtime, about a serial killer, and he stated, 'I feel just like him.'"

In Sweden, a 21-year old woman known as "Dexter-mördaren" (The Dexter killer) or "Dexter-kvinnan" (The Dexter woman) killed her 49-year old father by stabbing him in the heart. During questioning, the woman compared herself to Dexter and a picture of the character would appear on her phone when her father called her. In July 2011, she was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In Norway, Shamrez Khan hired Håvard Nyfløt to kill Faiza Ashraf—Nyfløt claimed that Dexter inspired him and he wanted to kill Khan in front of Faiza, similar to the television series, to "stop evil".

Prosecutors compared Christopher Scott Wilson to Dexter when they charged him with the February 2010 first-degree murder of Mackenzie Cowell.

Association was established between Mark Twitchell, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, during his first-degree murder trial, and the character of Dexter Morgan. After weeks of testimony and gruesome evidence presented in court, Twitchell was found guilty of the planned and deliberate murder of 38-year-old Johnny Altinger on April 12, 2011.

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