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Dexter (TV series)

Based on Darkly Dreaming Dexter 
by Jeff Lindsay
Developed by James Manos, Jr.
Narrated by Michael C. Hall
Theme music composer Rolfe Kent
Composer(s) Daniel Licht
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 96 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Robert Lloyd Lewis
Tim Schlattmann
Lauren Gussis
Scott Reynolds
Arika Lisanne Mittman
Drew Z. Greenberg
Dennis Bishop (pilot only)
Location(s) Miami, Florida, U.S.
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Running time 45–60 minutes
Production company(s) John Goldwyn Productions
The Colleton Company
Clyde Phillips Productions
801 Productions
Devilina Productions
Showtime Networks
Original channel Showtime
Original release October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01) – September 22, 2013 (2013-09-22)
External links

Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for the fictional Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer, hunting down murderers who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system. The show's first season was 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.

Dexter aired on Showtime from October 1, 2006, to September 22, 2013.[1] In February 2008, reruns (edited down to a TV-14 rating) began to air on CBS, although the reruns on CBS ended after one run of the first season. The series has enjoyed wide critical acclaim and popularity, including four straight Primetime Emmy nominations for Best Drama series in its first four seasons. Season 4 aired its season finale on December 13, 2009, to a record-breaking audience of 2.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched original series episode ever on Showtime at that time.[2][3]

In April 2013, Showtime announced that Season 8 would be the final season of Dexter.[4] The Season 8 premiere was the most watched Dexter episode with more than 3 million viewers total for all airings that night.[5] The original broadcast of the series finale—shown at 9 p.m. on September 22, 2013—drew 2.8 million viewers, the largest overall audience in Showtime's history.[6]


For the seasonal plots, see Dexter (Season 1), Dexter (Season 2), Dexter (Season 3), Dexter (Season 4), Dexter (Season 5), Dexter (Season 6), Dexter (Season 7), and Dexter (Season 8).

Series synopsis

Orphaned at the age of three due to the brutal murder of his mother in a shipping container, and harboring a traumatic secret, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) was adopted by Miami policeman Harry Morgan (James Remar) 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: Early Cuts

Dexter: Early Cuts is an animated web series that premiered on October 25, 2009.[7] Michael C. Hall reprises his role as the voice of Dexter.[8]

KTV Media International Bullseye Art produced and animated the webisodes, working closely with Showtime for sound editing, Interspectacular for direction, and illustrators Kyle Baker, Ty Templeton, Andrés Vera Martínez, and Devin Lawson for creating distinctive illustrations. The webisodes are animated with 2.5D style, where flat 2D illustrations are brought to life in 3D space. The first season was created and written by Dexter producer/writer, Lauren Gussis. She was nominated for a Webby for her writing on the first season.

The first web series precedes the current narrative of the show and revolves around Dexter hunting down the three victims that he mentions in the 6th episode of Season 1, "Return to Sender". Each victim's story is split into four two-minute chapters.

A second season of the web series titled Dexter: Early Cuts: Dark Echo, one story in six chapters, premiered on October 25, 2010. It was written by Tim Schlattmann and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mack. The story begins immediately following Dexter's adoptive father Harry's death.[9][10]


Exterior filming

Although the series is set in Miami, Florida, many of the exterior scenes are filmed in Long Beach, California. Many landmark buildings and locations in Long Beach are featured throughout the series. The final episode's airport scene takes place at Ontario International Airport in Ontario, California.


In preparation for the UK launch of the series, Fox experimented with an SMS-based viral marketing campaign. Created by digital advertising agency Ralph & Co, and promoted by online PR and social media agency Hot Cherry, unsuspecting mobile phone owners received the following unsolicited SMS messages addressed to them by name with no identifying information other than being from "Dexter": "Hello (name). I'm heading to the UK sooner than you might think. Dexter." The SMS-message would be followed by an email directing the user to an online video "news report" about a recent spree of killings. Using on-the-fly video manipulation, the user's name and a personalized message would be worked into the report – the former written in blood on a wall near the crime scene, the latter added to a note in an evidence bag carried past the camera. While the marketing campaign succeeded in raising the profile of the show, it proved unpopular with many mobile owners who saw this as spam advertising aimed at mobile phones. In response to complaints about the SMS element of the campaign, Fox issued the following statement:

The text message you received was part of an internet viral campaign for our newest show Dexter. However it was not us who sent you the text but one of your friends. We do not have a database of viewer phone numbers. The text message went along with a piece on the net that you can then send on to other people you know. If you go to you will see the page that one of your friends has filled in to send you that message. Therefore I suggest you have a word with anyone who knows your mobile number and see who sent you this message. For the record we did not make a record of any phone numbers used in this campaign.[11]

Break from filming

Michael C. Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma while filming Season 4 of Dexter.[12] He took a break from filming to deal with his health issues in which he underwent treatment for cancer and during the procedure, he was noticeably thinner and had lost his hair which he hid with a bandana.[12] Once he announced that he was cancer-free, he resumed filming Dexter.[12]

Cast and crew


Character Portrayed by Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Dexter Morgan Michael C. Hall Main
Debra Morgan Jennifer Carpenter Main
Angel Batista David Zayas Main
Harry Morgan James Remar Main
Vince Masuka C.S. Lee Main
María LaGuerta Lauren Vélez Main
James Doakes Erik King Main Guest
Rita Bennett Julie Benz Main Guest
Thomas Matthews Geoff Pierson Recurring Recurring Main
Joey Quinn Desmond Harrington Main
Jamie Batista Aimee Garcia Recurring Main
Hannah McKay Yvonne Strahovski Guest

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.[13]

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, both of whom 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, the 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 who 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.


The main creative forces behind the series were executive producers Daniel Cerone, Clyde Phillips and Melissa Rosenberg; Cerone left the show after its second season. Coming off a record-setting season 4 finale, executive producer and showrunner Clyde Phillips departed the series to spend more time with his family. 24 co-executive producer Chip Johannessen took over Phillips's post.[14] Head writer Melissa Rosenberg left after season 4 as well.

After the conclusion of season 5, it was revealed that Chip Johannessen was leaving the show after a single run[15] and that Scott Buck would take over as showrunner from season 6.


Critical reception

Metacritic ratings per season[16]
Unknown extension tag "timeline"
Season 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Rating 77 85 78 79 75 63 81 71

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.[17] Brian Lowry, who had written one of the three poor reviews Metacritic tallied for the show,[18] recanted his negative review in a year-end column for the trade magazine Variety after watching the full season.[19]

On Metacritic, Season 2 has a score of 85 with all 11 reviews positive;[20] Season 3 has 78 with 13 reviews;[21] Season 4 has 79 with 14 reviews;[22] Season 5 has a score of 75 with 11 reviews;[23] Season 6 has a score of 63 with 10 reviews;[24] Season 7 has a score of 81 with 7 reviews;[25] Season 8 has a score of 71 with 10 reviews.[26] 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."[27]

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.[28] 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.[29] 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 Pro (2002–2012).[30] The seventh season as a whole was the highest rated season of Dexter, watched by 6.1 million total weekly viewers across all platforms.[31]

Awards and nominations

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), seven Screen Actors Guild Awards and received a Peabody Award in 2007.[32]

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.[33] 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.


In Serbia, Dexter is broadcast on FOX Crime, and it is offered with both English Audio and Serbian subtitles. In France, Dexter is broadcast on Canal+ and it is offered with both English and French audio.[34] In India and Pakistan, Dexter is broadcast on STAR World.[35] In Israel, Dexter is broadcast on yes Action channel. In Portugal, Dexter is broadcast on the Portuguese public broadcaster RTP [36] and on the cable TV channel Fox Portugal [37] both in its original version with Portuguese subtitles. In Thailand, the series is broadcast on True Series.


U.S. broadcast

When U.S. network CBS publicly announced in December 2007 that it was considering Dexter for broadcast reruns, the Parents Television Council (PTC) protested the decision.[38][39] When the network began posting promotional videos of the rebroadcast on YouTube on January 29, 2008, PTC president Timothy F. Winter, in a formal press release, again called for CBS to not broadcast the show on broadcast television, saying that it "should remain on a premium subscription cable network" because "the series compels viewers to empathize with a serial killer, to root for him to prevail, to hope he doesn't get discovered".[40] Winter called on the public to demand that local affiliates preempt Dexter, and warned advertisers that the PTC would take action against any affiliates that sponsored the show.[41]

Following Winter's press release, CBS added parental advisory notices to its broadcast promotions and ultimately rated Dexter TV-14 for broadcast.[42] The show premiered on February 17, 2008, edited primarily for language and scenes containing sex or the dismemberment of live victims.[43] The PTC later objected to CBS' broadcasting of the final two episodes of the first season in a two-hour block, in addition to objections over the starting times of the episodes, which was as early as 8 p.m. in some time zones.[44]

Association with actual crimes

Several comparisons and connections between the TV show and its protagonist have been drawn during criminal prosecutions. Andrew Conley said that the show inspired him to strangle his 10-year-old brother.[45] 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.'"[46]

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.[47] 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.[48]

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".[49]

Prosecutors compared Christopher Scott Wilson to Dexter when they charged him with the February 2010 first-degree murder of Mackenzie Cowell.[50]

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.[51]

British teen Steven Miles, 17, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on 2 October 2014 after brutally stabbing and dismembering his girlfriend Elizabeth Rose Thomas, 17 in Oxted, Surrey. Police discovered Thomas' body on 24 January 2014, and determined the cause of death to be a stab wound to the back. Miles was arrested on suspicion of murder. Miles plead guilty to the crime on September 9. According to Surrey Police, Miles had dismembered Thomas's body following her death, wrapping up limbs in plastic wrap, and had attempted to clean up the crime scene before he was found by a family member. Miles had been reported to be obsessed with the television series "Dexter". Miles was also diagnosed with an autistic syndrome and reportedly had an alter ego named Ed, who Miles claims made him carry out the heinous murder.[52][53][54]

Other media

DVD/Blu-ray releases

Video game

A video game based on Dexter developed by Icarus Studios and based on the events of Season 1 was released on September 13, 2009. It is available for the iPhone platform in the iTunes App Store. The game was released on the iPad on October 15, 2010, and on PC on February 15, 2011. The cast and crew of Dexter have been very supportive, with some of the cast providing full voice work for the game, including Michael C. Hall. The game has received many positive reviews, including an 8/10 from IGN. No additional content for the game has been released or announced as planned. Plans to release the game on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 seem to have been cancelled, as there has been no recent information regarding expansion of the game onto these platforms.

Alternative reality game

Showtime launched Dexter Game On during Comic-Con in July 2010. It was a promotion that relied on community involvement. Part of the user's involvement required the user to use the SCVNGR application available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android platforms to complete treks around the five cities the game was available in. The final trek lead to a kill-room where the "Infinity Killer" had recently claimed a victim. A link was found in the room to a (fake) company called Sleep Superbly, which began an extensive Showtime-maintained alternate reality game that continued until Dexter‍ '​s fifth season premiere.[63]

The alternate reality game involves players working cooperatively together to help catch the "Infinity Killer" and identify his victims. A number of other characters help. During the game, players communicate with the "Infinity Killer" among many others. The game spans Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, etc. as well as countless unique sites created for the game. There are even phone numbers players can call. The characters and companies are controlled by real people, adding an extra realism and ability for intelligent conversation. In order to maintain a realistic feeling in the game, Showtime does not put their name or advertisements on most sites and pages created for the game.

Theme song and series music

The opening title theme for Dexter was written by Rolfe Kent and scored by American composer Daniel Licht. The series music for each episode was overseen by Gary Calamar of Go Music and coordinated by Alyson Vidoli.

Album soundtrack

In August 2007, the album soundtrack entitled Dexter: Music from the Showtime Original Series was released featuring music from the television series. The album was produced by Showtime and distributed by Milan Records. The digital download version offers 5 additional bonus tracks from the show's first two seasons.


EMCE Toys has planned the release of action figures based on the series.[64]

In March 2010, Dark Horse Comics released a 7-inch bust of Dexter Morgan as part of its Last Toys on the Left series.[65] And in April 2010, Dark Horse Comics released a bobblehead doll based on the show character, the Trinity Killer.[66]

In September 2010, the Toronto, Canada-based company, GDC-GameDevCo Ltd., released a Dexter board game.[67]

A variety of merchandise items are available from Showtime including T-shirts, blood slide key rings and coasters, pens made to look like syringes of blood, an apron, mugs and glasses, posters, and even bin bags.[68]

In January 2014, an auction was held for several props used in the series, with part of the auction's proceeds donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.[69]

Comic book

Marvel Comics released a Dexter limited series in July 2013. The comic books are written by creator Jeff Lindsay and drawn by Dalibor Talajic.[70][71]

Prop sales

In partnership with the HollywoodsProps company, DexterCorner created an auction site to sell hundreds of original props from the series.[72] Part of the auction's proceeds were donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.[73]

Showtime has also offered a limited selection of props for sale.[74]

Spin-off series

In April 2013, Showtime president, David Nevins said that even though the series would end with Season 8, all options of continuing the series were "on the table." Original reports were for a series to be built around the Debra Morgan character.[75] Dexter's showrunner, Scott Buck re-signed with Showtime for two years which further heated up discussion on a spin-off series.

On January 14, 2014, Nevins announced that they were in discussions for a spin-off series to Dexter. Nevins said that a new series would happen only if Michael C. Hall returned. Nevins stated: "We're at the very preliminary stage. That show is that character... and if I were to do something, I would do Dexter in a new concept and configuration. I want the show to feel different, not just a continuation of the old show." [76]

Michael C. Hall responded to the possible spin-off series saying he would be interested in returning. Hall said: "I can't even wrap my mind around that. And it's all just theoretical until there is some sort of script reflecting somebody's idea of where it could possibly go. But it's hard for me to imagine what that would be. Yeah, as far as playing Dexter again for an undefined amount of time, that's a little daunting to consider. But doing another television series—there's a lot of amazing stuff on TV. I don't want to do that right away. But I wouldn't say never to that." [77]

See also


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Further reading


External links