Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, the crime horror series Dexter premiered on Showtime in 2006. Running for eight seasons, the show followed Miami Metro Police Department forensic technician Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). Dexter lead a double life, helping solve crimes in the public eye, and maintaining a secret identity as a serial killer who targets murderers.
Though fans were sad to see the show end in 2013, November 7th will see the return of Dexter in Dexter: New Blood, a 10-episode limited series. While we all wait for a new and disturbing update on our favorite anti-hero's exploits, there's no better time to look back on the kills and thrills that brought us here. Here are eight of the best and most shocking moments of the original Dexter series.
Doakes hearing Dexter's kill
Sergeant James Doakes, portrayed by Erik King, was a sharp investigator—the only person in the beginning of the series who could sense a darkness within Dexter. As such, he was a formidable antagonist to our anti-hero. Doakes pursued justice with a relentless fervor, leading to an obsession with Dexter and his secret by season two. After breaking into Dexter's apartment and stealing his collection of blood slides, Doakes finds himself in hot water as this possession of evidence puts him under suspicion of being the Bay Harbor Butcher.
After he sees Dexter carting around body parts, he knows his hunch about Dexter was correct. Unfortunately for him, Dexter overpowers him and holds him hostage in a cabin in the Everglades. While Dexter is in the midst of further framing Doakes for his own string of murders, he brings criminal Jose Garza to the cabin to kill and dismember him. Doakes witnesses the kill, expression twisting in true horror. In this powerful moment, the true extent of Dexter's monstrosity is highlighted as the similarities and differences between him and Doakes are thrown into stark contrast.
Lila West's apartment fire
In season two, Lila West (Jaime Murray) is an obsessive manipulator who has set her sights on Dexter. She also happens to be a pyromaniac. When the pair meet at a Narcotics Anonymous group Dexter agreed to attend to appease his girlfriend Rita's (Julie Benz) mistaken concerns, Dexter grows to believe that Lila can actually help him tamp down his murderous urges.
After setting a number of fires for revenge, sympathy, and attention, Lila's crazed desire for Dexter reaches an all time high. In order to protect his secret and his family, Dexter plans to murder Lila. Realizing this, Lila locks Dexter and Rita's kids in her loft and sets it ablaze. Luckily, the trio make it out alive—but it's close.
The Trinity Killer
John Lithgow portrays Arthur Mitchell—the Trinity Killer—in Dexter's fourth season. He's considered by many to be the best villain on the show. The character is deeply disturbing, largely in part because Lithgow is known for typically pleasant roles. A dark parallel to Dexter's own double life, Mitchell was a prolific serial killer across three decades, killing people in what appeared to be groups of three—later discovered by Dexter to be four—in the ways in which his own family died when he was young. While Dexter put him down in the end, the Trinity Killer's twisted story leads us to one of the most shocking moments on this list...
Throughout her time on the show, Rita was Dexter's girlfriend and eventual wife. With two children from a previous marriage and a new baby with Dexter, Rita was Dexter's anchor to normalcy. Though one might assume a partnership with such dire secrets had its fair share of struggles, their love was the heart of Dexter's humanity.
In the finale of season four, viewers were shocked when Dexter found her dead in the bathtub, her femoral artery slashed by the Trinity Killer. Perhaps most hauntingly, their son Harrison sat by her corpse in a pool of her blood, waiting to be carried off by his father—a mirror of Dexter's own tragic past.
Lumen Ann Pierce
In season five, Lumen Ann Pierce, portrayed by Julia Stiles in the series, is another fan favorite. Held captive and brutalized by a group of rapists, Lumen first met Dexter when he killed one of her abusers, serial killer Boyd Fowler. Though Lumen witnessed the murder and knew of Dexter's secret, Dexter chose to leave her alive. With Dexter's help, Lumen sets out to hunt down and kill the men who raped and tortured her.
Lumen is a cool and bad ass character who comes in at exactly the right time—helping Dexter find purpose in the wake of his wife's death. After killing one of the last rapists, Lumen and Dexter hook up—it's pretty steamy. Dexter feels like less of a monster when he's with Lumen, but in a heartbreaking turn at the end of the season, Lumen finds the darkness within her has dissipated after taking down the final abuser, and she can no longer be with him.
Deb falling in love with Dexter
Despite numerous serial killers who slaughtered their victims in increasingly horrifying ways, somehow the most disturbing twist of the series has nothing to do with death at all. Once Rita was tragically taken out of the picture, the heart of the series really rested on Dexter's sister, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter). Maybe a little too much.
After a series of terrible romantic experiences, Deb realizes in therapy that the feelings she has for Dexter go beyond that of a typical sibling bond. The ick factor is slightly lessened by the fact that they're only adoptive siblings, and thankfully the show never takes the dive to actually put the pair in a relationship. Maybe it was inevitable because the pair of actors—married for a short time in real life—had such palpable chemistry. Maybe it was a way to justify Deb's complicity in Dexter's actions after she learned the truth. Maybe it was just plain unnecessary.
Deb killing LaGuerta
In the finale of season seven, Deb's involvement with Dexter's murders reaches a tipping point. Captain Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) has been on a mission to clear her late friend Doakes's name and bring the real Bay Harbor Butcher to justice. Despite Dexter's clever machinations, LaGuerta keeps uncovering evidence that proves his involvement. Dexter finds he has no choice but to kill her in order to keep his secret.
Dexter plans to stage a double murder of LaGuerta and Hector Estrada—the man who had his mother killed—to look like they took each other out. However, as he's about to kill LaGuerta, Deb walks into the shipping container where it's all going down. LaGuerta awakens from the sedative Dexter gave her, urging Deb to do the right thing and shoot Dexter. In order to protect her brother and his secret, Deb shoots LaGuerta instead, taking the life of an innocent woman.
The women close to Dexter really can't catch a break. In the final season of the original series, Dexter and Deb have an incredibly rocky relationship as a repercussion for the murder of LaGuerta. Dexter attempts to ease Deb's emotional burdens by handing over a criminal to the police instead of killing him. However, when the criminal breaks free of Dexter's restraints, he ends up shooting Deb in the gut.
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It's an emotional rollercoaster when doctors seem optimistic that Deb will pull through after her surgery. However, a blood clot deprives Deb's brain of oxygen, causing a stroke that she'll never recover from. In an act of kindness, Dexter turns off her life support. Dexter discreetly takes Deb's and quietly disposes of it at sea.