Dexter (season 1)

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Dexter season 1
Dexter season 1 DVD.png
DVD box
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes12
Original channelShowtime
Original runOctober 1, 2006 (2006-10-01) – December 17, 2006 (2006-12-17)
Season chronology
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Season 2
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Dexter season 1
Dexter season 1 DVD.png
DVD box
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes12
Original channelShowtime
Original runOctober 1, 2006 (2006-10-01) – December 17, 2006 (2006-12-17)
Season chronology
← Previous
Next →
Season 2

The first season of Dexter is an adaptation of Jeff Lindsay's first novel in the Dexter series, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Subsequent seasons have featured original storylines. This season aired from October 1, 2006 to December 17, 2006,[1][2] and follows Dexter's investigation of "The Ice Truck Killer". Introduced in the first episode, "Dexter", this serial killer targets prostitutes and leaves their bodies severed and bloodless. At the same time, Dexter's foster sister, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter), a vice squad officer, aspires to work in the homicide department, and Dexter's girlfriend, Rita Bennett (Julie Benz), wants their relationship to be more intimate.[3] Christian Camargo appears as Rudy Cooper and is a recurring character until the end of the season.[4]

The show's first season received generally favorable reviews from critics; it was praised as "bold, different and exciting, with a central character and performance that take your breath away" by the New York Daily News.[5] The Wall Street Journal saw "the grotesqueries of Dexter" as "not something that can easily be dismissed with the old "you don't have to watch" line", and concluded that "We do have to live among the viewers who will be desensitized, or aroused, by this show".[6] The aggregate site Metacritic scored the show's first season at 77 out of 100 based on 27 critics reviews.[7]

The season received high ratings for Showtime; the pilot episode attracted more than a million viewers, giving the channel its highest ratings in nearly two years,[1] while the finale "Born Free" drew an audience of 1.1 million viewers in the U.S.[8] On average, the season was watched by two million viewers per episode during its original run when factoring in DVR viewers.[9] Due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild strike and encouraged by the show's critical success and high ratings on Showtime, CBS, a national terrestrial broadcast network, announced in December 2007 that it was considering airing an edited version of the first season of Dexter for free-to-air broadcast.[10] It began to broadcast it on February 17, 2008,[11] and thus, Dexter became the first program in 20 years to air on a broadcast network after being shown on a premium cable channel.[12] During the show's rerun on the CBS network in 2008, the ratings were much higher, reaching 8.2 million viewers during its premiere February,[13] giving the network its best rating in the 10 p.m. timeslot since December the previous year.[14] During its 12-week run,[15] it dropped to 7.1 million in early April,[16] and to 6.6 million during the season's finale on May 6.[17]


The first season introduced the viewer to Dexter Morgan, a forensic blood splatter analyst for the Miami Metro Policy Department. Dexter is also a serial murderer, a result of a traumatic childhood incident as a result of seeing his mother killed before his eyes and left with her body in a pool of her blood in a shipping container for two days. His adoptive father, Harry, recognized Dexter's homicidal tenancies and trained him how to quell them, which Dexter now practices as "Harry's Code" - to only kill those that are proven to be murderers themselves, and to leave no evidence. Dexter selects his victims and verifies their crimes, and then stalks them to secluded places to knock them out. He then takes them to a specially-prepared room covered in plastic tarp, secures them, and interrogates them about their victims before killing them and dissecting the body for disposal in the Atlantic Ocean. He keeps a drop of each of his target's blood on a microslide, stored in a wooden box hidden in his apartment's air conditioning unit. Of those around him, only fellow detective, Sgt. James Doakes is suspicious of Dexter's behavior but cannot prove any wrong doing.

The season starts with a string of murders targeting prostitutes. Debra Morgan, Dexter's adoptive sister, is currently in the vice department of the police department and working undercover but seeks to move into the homicide department. Dexter helps Debra identify the means that the killer must be transporting the bodies, a refrigerated truck, and she eventually locates the vehicle. The killer is subsequently named the "Ice Truck Killer", and Debra is promoted to homicide. Dexter finds that his apartment has been broken into, and clues related to the killings left behind. Further, later killings are related to elements of Dexter's past and present, and Dexter realizes the killer is playing a game with him, and takes steps to prevent his own identity as a murderer from being discovered from these connections. The police eventually determine that the killer is targeting prostitutes with prosthetics.

Meanwhile, Dexter is romantically involved with Rita, a single mother whose soon-to-be ex-husband, Paul Bennett, is released from prison on parole. While Bennett is good to their children, he repeatedly — but unsuccessfully — attempts to get back with Rita. After Bennett threatens him, Dexter knocks Paul out, and then sets him up to look like he violated his parole by using heroin. While back in prison, Bennett insists that Dexter set him up, but Rita ignores him.

Debra begins dating a prosthetics doctor named Rudy Cooper, and soon he proposes to her. This is a ruse, allowing him to kidnap her and lure Dexter to his place. Dexter discovers Rudy is really Brian, his blood brother who was also traumatized at the death of their mother, but had spent much of his life in mental institutions to recover from the trauma. Brian reveals himself as the Ice Truck Killer, using his doctor's credentials to identify his targets, and offers to Dexter that they kill Debra together to bond in blood and sever Dexter's adoptive family ties. Dexter refuses and helps Debra to escape. Dexter later lures Brian into a trap, and reluctantly kills him - making it look like a suicide. The season ends with Rita finding evidence supporting Bennett's claim that Dexter had set him up.


Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Guest cast[edit]


The series pilot was developed by James Manos, Jr. based on Jeff Lindsay's novel. Manos served as an executive producer for the pilot along with John Goldwyn and Sara Colleton. The pilot was produced by Dennis Bishop. Steven Brown also served as a producer for the pilot episode. Chad Tomasoski worked as an associate producer. The pilot was directed by Michael Cuesta.

Manos, Goldwyn and Colleton returned as executive producers for the first season. Mid-season Clyde Phillips became a fourth executive producer. Daniel Cerone joined the crew as a co-executive producer and writer. Pilot director Michael Cuesta returned as a co-executive producer and regular director. Melissa Rosenberg also joined the crew as a consulting producer and writer. Timothy Schlattmann served as a story editor and writer. Lauren Gussis worked as a staff writer throughout the first season. Dennis Bishop returned to produce further episodes but left midseason and was replaced by Robert Lloyd Lewis.


No. in
No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
11"Dexter"Michael CuestaJames Manos, Jr.October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01)N/A
Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is introduced as a serial killer who kills other killers who have escaped from, or haven't been found by the justice system. By day he is a blood spatter analyst who works for the Homicide Department of the Miami Metro Police. Dexter has a quasi-relationship with Rita Bennett (Julie Benz), a similarly troubled divorcee raising two young children while her husband is in prison. One day, Dexter is called to a murder scene involving mutilated bodies, but with no blood visible. The murderer, soon to be nicknamed the "Ice Truck Killer", intrigues Dexter with this intricate methodology and a personal message in form of a mutilated doll. At the same time, Dexter's hard-nosed sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), a vice squad officer, tries to gain a transfer into the Homicide Department. 
22"Crocodile"Michael CuestaClyde PhillipsOctober 8, 2006 (2006-10-08)N/A
Dexter assists detectives Batista (David Zayas) and Doakes (Erik King) in investigating the murder of an officer, who was working undercover investigating drug baron Carlos Guerrero (Rudolf Martin). Doakes is personally involved in the case, since he was having an affair with the officer's wife, who was also attacked. Meanwhile, Debra discovers the refrigerated truck in which the Ice Truck Killer dismembers his victims, and is promoted by her superior, Lieutenant María LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez), to the Homicide Department. Inside the truck, Debra, Batista, and Dexter find a block of ice with five fingertips in it, left deliberately by the Ice Truck Killer. 
33"Popping Cherry"Michael CuestaDaniel CeroneOctober 15, 2006 (2006-10-15)N/A
After the discovery of another victim of the Ice Truck Killer at an ice rink, the missing guard, Tony Tucci, becomes a potential suspect. Meanwhile, Rita receives an unpleasant visit from her ex-husband's drug dealer, who confiscates her car, forcing her to take the bus to and from her job as a hotel receptionist. Dexter selects his next murder victim while having flashbacks of his first killing—a nurse who was caring for Dexter's sick father, Harry Morgan, but was administering overdoses of medication to and slowly killing her patients. Elsewhere, Sergeant Doakes continues to harass Guerrero, as a group of renegade police officers decide to take matters involving Guerrero into their own hands. 
44"Let's Give the Boy a Hand"Robert LiebermanDrew Z. GreenbergOctober 22, 2006 (2006-10-22)N/A
As the hunt for Ice Truck Killer continues, posed body parts are discovered which appear to be the calling cards of an increasingly impatient killer. The Ice Truck Killer escalates his killing spree, leaving body parts of his latest victim at sites connected to Dexter's childhood, which leads Dexter to confront his dark personal history. As Halloween approaches, Rita kidnaps a barking dog from a cynical owner because it keeps her children up at night, and gives it to a loving family. Meanwhile, Lieutenant LaGuerta seeks to comfort the mother of the latest Ice Truck Killer victim. Dexter finds the victim mutilated but alive and strapped to a table for Dexter to kill. Instead, Dexter reports the crime scene anonymously to his sister. The pressure on Sergeant Doakes escalates when Guerrero's associates begin following him. 
55"Love American Style"Robert LiebermanMelissa RosenbergOctober 29, 2006 (2006-10-29)N/A
Rita learns that her colleague's fiancé, who was illegally immigrating from Cuba, is missing, and asks Dexter to investigate the problem using his police connections. He investigates Jorge Castillo, a salvage yard owner, and discovers that Castillo is murdering the smuggled immigrants who cannot pay for their freedom. Dexter discovers that Castillo's wife is involved in the murders, and kills both of them. Afterwards, he dumps their bodies in the ocean and frees their Cuban prisoners, not noticing a person watching him from the trunk of a car in the yard. 
66"Return to Sender"Tony GoldwynTim SchlattmannNovember 5, 2006 (2006-11-05)N/A
The body of one of Dexter's previous female victims has been found, despite Dexter's having thrown both of the corpses into the ocean. A young Cuban boy had witnessed the previous night's events, and Dexter dismisses his colleagues' leads that could direct them towards him. Eventually, Dexter frames the husband, whose body is still missing, with his wife's murder. The witness had described Jesus rather than Dexter. During this time, Rita dissuades her abusive husband, Paul, from attending their daughter's birthday party after he is released early from prison. 
77"Circle of Friends"Steve ShillDaniel CeroneNovember 12, 2006 (2006-11-12)N/A
Dexter must deal with Rita's menacing husband. Debra goes on a date with the prosthetics expert who made prosthetic legs for an Ice Truck Killer survivor. Debra and Angel are investigating the Ice Truck Killer and discover a familiar name with speeding violations near the scene of the Ice Truck Killer's third murder. Dexter investigates Sergeant Doakes's knife victim; he already knows the killer's identity but needs time to locate him. The Ice Truck Killer is finally apprehended, but Dexter doubts that they have caught the correct man. 
88"Shrink Wrap"Tony GoldwynLauren GussisNovember 19, 2006 (2006-11-19)N/A
An unexplained suicide of a wealthy and powerful woman leads Dexter to suspect that her psychiatrist, Dr. Emmett Meridian, may have killed her. But he gets a shock when a visit to the suspect reveals dark secrets from Dexter's past. Elsewhere, Rita becomes warmer towards her ex-husband Paul, who claims to have reformed. She wants to become more intimate with Dexter, who is afraid of physically consummating their relationship, but then he is able to have sex with her and once they have finished, he is worried that he might have scared her. Meanwhile, Debra is falling in love with her new boyfriend Rudy. 
99"Father Knows Best"Adam DavidsonMelissa RosenbergNovember 26, 2006 (2006-11-26)N/A
Dexter learns that his biological father, Joe Driscoll, who he thought had been long dead, has only recently died and has left all of his belongings to Dexter, including his house. Dexter travels to the house with Rita. Debra and Rudy arrive there later (following Rudy's advice) to assist him in cleaning out the house. Dexter suspects Joe Driscoll's death to be murder. Flashbacks to Dexter's childhood show his questioning his foster father Harry (James Remar) about his real parents, and Dexter finds that Mr. Driscoll donated some of his blood to the young Dexter for surgery. In the last scene, one of Joe's neighbors, an elderly woman, recognizes Rudy as a cable repairman, who happened to be Joe's last visitor before his death; after Dexter, Rita, Debra and Rudy had left the premises, Rudy is shown returning to the elderly woman's house dressed as the cable repairman again. Meanwhile, Paul begins to slide back into his old abusive habits when Rita attempts to prevent him from seeing their children. 
1010"Seeing Red"Michael CuestaKevin R. MaynardDecember 3, 2006 (2006-12-03)N/A
Dexter is sent to investigate a horrific blood-soaked crime scene, which he usually enjoys, but is taken aback by a long-suppressed memory of a childhood trauma instead. Rita is charged with assaulting Paul and could lose her children in a custody battle. However, when Dexter finds out, he decides to remove Paul from his and Rita's lives, but by framing him rather than killing him. Angel investigates a hunch regarding the Ice Truck Killer concerning amputee fetish; he turns to Rudy for help but ends up getting stabbed in the parking lot. Meanwhile, Rudy displays a growing interest in getting to know Dexter, particularly in the lately awoken trauma he had recently experienced. 
1111"Truth Be Told"Keith GordonDrew Z. Greenberg and Tim SchlattmannDecember 10, 2006 (2006-12-10)N/A
The Ice Truck Killer strikes again, leaving a real nightmare before Christmas at Santa's Cottage. Sergeant Doakes becomes more suspicious about Dexter after uncovering a series of Dexter's lies about his connection to the Ice Truck Killer. Dexter finally finds he is connected to the Ice Truck Killer over a past case involving Harry Morgan and a blood-bath crime scene in 1973 involving Dexter's biological mother. Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta braces herself as Captain Matthews blames her for the department's failure to find the Ice Truck Killer and he has her replaced. Rudy and Debra spend some quality time together, and Rudy proposes marriage to the smitten detective. Rita decides to take her children, Astor and Cody, to visit Paul, who has been sent back to prison. 
1212"Born Free"Michael CuestaDaniel Cerone and Melissa RosenbergDecember 17, 2006 (2006-12-17)N/A
Doakes and LaGuerta begin to suspect that Rudy is the Ice Truck Killer, while Dexter finds a suspicious picture of the shipping container where his mother was killed. A call from her ex-husband makes Rita suspicious of Dexter and his behavior. Dexter recalls that Rudy is in fact his biological brother, whose real name is Brian Moser. Brian intends to kill Debra with Dexter in a reunion with his true family, but Dexter stops him. As the police close in, Brian escapes and Dexter is left with Debra, appearing to have saved her. The same night, Brian breaks into Dexter's apartment and attempts to stab Debra, but Dexter captures him. After an emotionally charged conversation, Dexter slices his brother's throat and leaves him upside down to drain, staging it as a suicide, while wondering what would happen if everyone knew the truth about him. 


  1. ^ a b Mitovich, Matt (2006-10-04). "Short Cuts: Dexter Slays the Ratings, and More!". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  2. ^ Goldman, Eric (2006-12-18). "Dexter: "Born Free" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  3. ^ "Dexter—Episode Guide > Season 1, Episode 1". Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  4. ^ Zulkey, Claire (2007-12-16). "Dexter: Doakes is gone in a bang". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  5. ^ Bianculli, David (2006-09-29). "Dexter is dead on target. An avenger - and a serial killer". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  6. ^ Dewolf, Nancy (2006-09-29). "The Good, the Ugly and the Bad". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  7. ^ "Dexter (Series: Showtime, Sunday 10:00p (60 minutes))". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  8. ^ "Dexter Slays Showtime Records". Zap2it. Tribune Media Services. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  9. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly; Gough, Paul (2007-12-19). "Dexter kills in second-season finale". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  10. ^ Szalai, Georg and Andreeva, Nellie (2007-12-05). "CBS eyes Dexter for edited broadcast". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  11. ^ Smith, Lynn (2008-02-17). "The slicing and dicing of Dexter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  12. ^ Stelter, Brian (2008-02-20). "Dexter Gains a Wider Audience". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  13. ^ "Weekly Primetime Ratings (Wk OF 2/11)" (Press release). ABC Medianet. 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  14. ^ Kissell, Rick (2008-02-18). "'Knight' rides back to success - Entertainment News, TV News, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  15. ^ "Dexter: Watch Full Episodes and Video". 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  16. ^ "Fast Facts Overnight Ratings (for 4/6)" (Press release). ABC Medianet. 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  17. ^ "Fast Facts Overnight Ratings (for 5/4)" (Press release). ABC Medianet. 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 

External links[edit]