Dexter (season 4)

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Dexter season 4
Dexter season 4 DVD.png
DVD cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes12
Original channelShowtime
Original runSeptember 27, 2009 (2009-09-27) – December 13, 2009 (2009-12-13)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 3
Next →
Season 5
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Dexter season 4
Dexter season 4 DVD.png
DVD cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes12
Original channelShowtime
Original runSeptember 27, 2009 (2009-09-27) – December 13, 2009 (2009-12-13)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 3
Next →
Season 5

On October 21, 2008, Showtime commissioned a fourth and fifth season of Dexter, each consisting of 12 episodes.[1] The show's writers convened during February and March 2009 to brainstorm ideas for the fourth season, and filming was scheduled to begin in June 2009.[2] On May 27, 2009, Showtime announced that John Lithgow would guest star in all 12 episodes as Miami's latest and deadliest serial killer, and Keith Carradine would return as Lundy.[3] The fourth season premiered on September 27, 2009, and focused on Dexter attempting to find his way to balance his family life, the birth of his son, and his "extra-curricular" activities.[4] The season received positive reviews before airing, including one from Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly, who saw the fourth season as being "bloody promising".[5] The season opener was leaked to the Internet ahead of schedule in late August 2009.[6] The fourth season premiered in the UK on the FX channel on August 20, 2010.[7]



Dexter went home to become a family man, and Rita has given birth to a baby boy named Harrison. The family has moved to the suburbs, where Dexter struggles to reconcile his new life with his killing urges. Special Agent Frank Lundy returns to hunt down the "Trinity Killer" (John Lithgow) who he believes always murders three people in a very specific sequence: a young woman in a bathtub, an older mother of two falling to her death, and a father of two bludgeoned to death.

Lundy begins working with Debra and shortly after, an unseen assailant shoots them both, killing Lundy. Afterwards, Debra is barred from working the Trinity case because the shooting is suspected to be the work of Trinity, making Debra an investigator who was also a victim, creating a conflict of interest. Debra eventually discovers that Trinity was not the shooter, and she is put in charge of the case. Meanwhile, LaGuerta and Batista have renewed their relationship and, in danger of losing their jobs, decide to marry. They call Dexter in to have him be their witness.

While investigating Lundy's data about Trinity, Dexter determines Lundy was killed because he had determined when and where Trinity would claim his third victim. Dexter stakes out the building, and witnesses Trinity bludgeoning a man on a security camera. Dexter follows Trinity to his home, where he is surprised to discover that Trinity is a family man named Arthur Mitchell. Using the alias Kyle Butler, Dexter attends the same church as Arthur and eventually befriends him by helping him at the "Four Walls, One Heart" charity organization. While investigating the reasons behind Trinity's crimes, Dexter learns how he manages to reconcile his family life with his killing urges and utilizes that knowledge to deal with his own issues.

Dexter visits Arthur at his home and discovers that he will be traveling to Tampa on another building project, which could be the start of another three-pronged killing cycle. Dexter decides to make the trip with Trinity to ensure this does not happen. On the way, Arthur takes Dexter to his childhood home and reveals that at the age of ten, he spied on his older sister in the shower out of innocent curiosity. Startled by his presence, she slipped, shattering the glass shower door and cutting open her femoral artery, causing her to bleed to death. His mother committed suicide leaving him with his father who blamed Arthur for their deaths, and then he implies that he later beat his father to death. Dexter realizes that Trinity compulsively murders groups of people that bear resemblance to those in his family, recreating their deaths each time.

During Thanksgiving at Trinity's home, Dexter learns that Arthur has been terrorizing his family, locking his daughter away in her bedroom and physically abusing his son. After Arthur attacks his son, Dexter is forced to restrain him. Arthur then goes to see a reporter who has been snooping around the Miami Metro Police Department, Christine Hill, who is revealed to be his illegitimate daughter.

Later Trinity kidnaps a boy while being pursued by Dexter. Dexter does some research and finds out that Trinity's pattern begins with the abduction and murder of a ten year old boy; revealing Trinity's pattern actually cycles in groups of four with the boys always disappearing five days before the first bathtub death. Dexter locates the place where Trinity is holding the boy and arrives just in time to save him, as Arthur escapes.

Debra begins to investigate and eventually arrests Hill after finding out that she is Trinity’s daughter. However, Hill is released due to a lack of evidence. Hill secretly contacts Arthur, but he refuses to help her and instead forbids further contact. Arthur also reveals his disdain for her having killed Lundy, which she did to protect her father. Realizing the error of her ways, Hill confesses to Debra. Distraught, Hill seeks forgiveness from Debra, which the latter refuses to provide. Hill then pulls out a gun and commits suicide in front of Debra.

One of Harry's old informants takes Deb to the house of Laura Moser. Debra immediately recognizes the house as the home of Brian Moser, the Ice Truck Killer. After piecing together Dexter's connection to Brian and Laura, Deb reveals this information to Dexter, explaining that Laura was his mother and Brian his brother. Dexter feigns surprise, stating that Brian must have tried to get to him through Deb.

Dexter decides that he must draw police attention away from Trinity so that he can kill Trinity himself. He finds a man whom he can kill and pin the blame on. He then plants evidence and kills the man. Arthur lures Dexter to an arcade where he previously stalked victims and follows Dexter back to the police station, where he learns Dexter's true identity. Soon after, Dexter tails Trinity, but sideswipes a car on the way. Dexter captures and drugs Trinity, but the driver of the damaged car has found Dexter's car, called the police, and in the ensuing confrontation, Dexter is taken in by the police for leaving the scene of an accident and fighting with the driver in the presence of the police. By the time Dexter is released due to cell overcrowding, Trinity is gone from where Dexter had left his unconscious body.

Dexter eventually tracks down Arthur, capturing and bringing him to the bomb shelter where he held the missing boy. Dexter kills him with a hammer and dumps the body. At the beginning of this episode, Dexter arranges a vacation for Rita, Harrison, and himself in order to get Rita out of harm's way. They're to meet in the Keys at the end of the work day. Rita and Harrison leave in the morning and Dexter promises them that he'll see them after work. When Dexter returns home after dealing with Trinity, he picks up a message from Rita. After listening to the message, he calls her back. He hears Rita's phone ring from within the house and soon after, he hears Harrison crying. He rushes to the bathroom, where he finds Harrison sitting on the tile floor in a pool of blood while Rita lies dead in the bathtub, having been murdered in the same fashion as each of the other Trinity bathtub killings.


Main cast

Special Guest Star

Recurring cast


Third season executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Clyde Phillips and Charles H. Eglee all returned to their roles. Third season co-executive producers Scott Buck, Melissa Rosenberg and Michael C. Hall were all promoted to executive producers for the fourth season. Third season producer Timothy Schlattmann was promoted to supervising producer for the fourth season. Wendy West also joined the crew as a supervising producer and writer. Third season co-producer Lauren Gussis was promoted to producer. Robert Lloyd Lewis remained the on set producer. Gary Law remained a co-producer. Associate producer Chad Tomasoski returned and was promoted to co-producer mid-season.


No. in
No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
371"Living the Dream"Marcos SiegaClyde PhillipsSeptember 27, 2009 (2009-09-27)1.9[8]
Six months after the season 3 finale, Dexter is now living with three kids and a wife in a new home. Along with his new son Harrison, the complexities of being a suburban father of three is making it difficult for Dexter to concentrate on his work. Dexter's lack of sleep results in a murderer being released because Dexter brought the wrong case file to court. A recently retired Agent Lundy has returned to finally capture a shadowy serial killer known as the "Trinity Killer" (John Lithgow), who has been at large for 30 years and always kills three people every year. After a call from Rita, Dexter quickly kills the released murderer but totals his car after falling asleep at the wheel. 
382"Remains to Be Seen"Brian KirkCharles H. EgleeOctober 4, 2009 (2009-10-04)1.3[9]
Suffering from amnesia following his car crash, Dexter begins searching for Benny Gomez's lost body, with a helping hand from Harry. Debra struggles with the return of her former lover while Quinn tries to juggle his personal and work life. Meanwhile, the Trinity Killer begins stalking his next chosen victim. 
393"Blinded by the Light"Marcos SiegaScott BuckOctober 11, 2009 (2009-10-11)N/A
When a local vandal begins stirring up trouble, Dexter's neighborhood becomes vigilant and wary, two things Dexter doesn't need. His mobility is also hampered by Rita, who insists on driving him around after his accident. Debra is upset when Anton announces he's taken a local job to spend more time with her. Meanwhile, the Trinity Killer dispatches his next victim. Debra becomes drawn to Lundy's theories about Trinity, while Dexter finds himself in awe of Trinity's masterful killing technique. Despite their enthusiasm, LaGuerta threatens to shut down the investigation, instead focused on bringing the Vacation Murderers to justice. 
404"Dex Takes a Holiday"John DahlMelissa Rosenberg & Wendy WestOctober 18, 2009 (2009-10-18)N/A
While Rita and the kids are out of town for a wedding, a police officer (Christina Cox) comes onto Dexter's radar. The officer is a kindred spirit, and highly suspicious of Dexter's motives. LaGuerta and Angel discuss full disclosure to the higher Brass, pulling Dexter unwillingly into the middle of their problem. Meanwhile, Quinn's reporter girlfriend, Christine (Courtney Ford), uses their relationship to put out a story how Lundy's hunt for a phantom killer pulls time away from the Vacation Murders. This puts a strain on Lundy's retirement project when his visitor's pass to Miami Metro is revoked. Having to take the project out of the office, old sparks heat up between Lundy and Debra. 
415"Dirty Harry"Keith GordonTim SchlattmannOctober 25, 2009 (2009-10-25)1.7[10]
Recent events spur Dexter into his own investigation of the Trinity killer. His motivations are now personal, and the clock is ticking. But the closer Dexter gets, the more he realizes that Trinity is unlike any monster he's previously encountered. Meanwhile, Debra blames herself for events that were out of her control, and in doing so pushes away those closest to her. As LaGuerta and Batista close in on the Vacation Murderers, Batista realizes he can use Quinn's relationship with a certain reporter to his advantage. And when Rita discovers a secret Dexter's been keeping from her, she begins to realize just how little she knows about the man she married. 
426"If I Had a Hammer"Romeo TironeLauren GussisNovember 1, 2009 (2009-11-01)1.87[11]
Dexter knows it's only a matter of time before Miami Metro discovers the Trinity Killer's latest handiwork. Therefore, he has to work doubly hard to stay one step ahead of their investigation. Under the alias of 'Kyle Butler', Dexter has begun to realize that the closer he gets to Trinity, the more he stands to learn from this very different beast. As the friendly building contractor Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer hides behind a well-kept mask; and getting behind that facade will require some extra prodding on Dexter's part. Meanwhile, Debra becomes frustrated when she finds herself shut out from her own case. She considers bending the rules in the name of justice, risking her career in the process. LaGuerta and Batista come to regret a major decision, and realize that by playing by the rules they may have painted themselves into a corner. And when the friction between Rita and Dexter comes to a head, Dexter gleans relationship advice from a most unlikely source. 
437"Slack Tide"Tim HunterScott BuckNovember 8, 2009 (2009-11-08)N/A
A dismembered human arm is found inside an alligator, leading Dexter to his next victim, Jonathan Farrow, a photographer, who shoots fairly gruesome pictures of models, apparently killing Latina models who were in America illegally (ensuring no missing persons reports would be filed). Family and work taking its toll, a hurried Dexter accidentally makes his greatest single mistake and violates The Code of Harry. Meanwhile, Arthur Mitchell appears to be disturbed, and is unable to put a doe out of its misery after hitting it with his car. He then proceeds to build a coffin with lumber he obtained with Dexter's help. In order to get more 'alone time', Dexter, acting upon Arthur's advice, attempts to involve his kids in more activities, only to get pulled into the activities with them. After threatening Quinn to keep his girlfriend reporter away from Deb, Quinn starts digging into Dexter's past and makes his life a lot more difficult. 
448"Road Kill"Ernest DickersonMelissa Rosenberg & Scott ReynoldsNovember 15, 2009 (2009-11-15)1.69[12]
Dexter has always known his father's Code was meant to protect him from exposure. But after committing a serious mistake, he wonders if it could have been designed to protect him from something even more dangerous - human emotion. When he discovers that Arthur is planning an out-of-town trip, Dexter sees an opportunity to ride along and gain insight into the mind of a fellow monster. Even so, Dexter isn't prepared for the startling revelations Arthur makes along the way, revelations about his own past which only serve to convince Dexter of what he must do. Meanwhile, back at Miami Metro, Debra refuses to let a technicality keep her off the Trinity case. She works through others to ensure her voice is heard - that is, until she realizes that her single-minded pursuit of the Trinity Killer may have blinded her to the truth. 
459"Hungry Man"John DahlWendy WestNovember 22, 2009 (2009-11-22)1.76[13]
For most people, Thanksgiving is a time for traditions and family. But for Dexter, it's an opportunity to get closer to his most dangerous adversary yet. As Dexter gains insight into Arthur's psychology by studying those closest to him, he finds himself drawn into a bizarre and twisted world. Meanwhile, Rita has her hands full preparing dinner for a packed house, including a few unexpected guests. Batista gets closure on an old case, while Debra uses the holiday to continue her investigation of the Trinity Killer, a pursuit which threatens her brother's safety and brings to light surprising revelations about someone else close to her. 
4610"Lost Boys"Keith GordonCharles H. Eglee & Tim SchlattmannNovember 29, 2009 (2009-11-29)N/A
Dexter finally believes he understands the beast Arthur Mitchell, known as the Trinity Killer. But when a ten-year-old boy (Jake Short) goes missing, Dexter is forced to question everything he's learned up to this point. It's a race against the clock to find the boy before Trinity kills him, and with each step forward, Dexter has to confront the real possibility that he may have more in common with Trinity than he'd like to admit. Secrets abound - from Cody, who is forced to defend one of Dexter's lies, Masuka, who can't bring himself to confess what he witnessed at Thanksgiving, and Debra, whose recent discoveries force one of Miami's finest into making an impossible decision. 
4711"Hello, Dexter Morgan"SJ ClarksonScott Buck & Lauren GussisDecember 6, 2009 (2009-12-06)2.1[14]
Dexter's worst fears have been realized. Because of Debra's unrelenting pursuit, Miami Metro is just one step away from discovering the identity of the Trinity Killer. And Dexter can't let that happen. Arthur's arrest would not only deprive Dexter of a satisfying kill, it would also expose the secret life Dexter's been leading (as Kyle Butler) in his pursuit of this monster. Dexter must take drastic action to buy himself time to deal with Trinity in his own fashion. Meanwhile, Rita decides to confide in Dexter, which doesn't go as well as she'd hoped. LaGuerta and Batista's breach of ethics paints them into a very tight corner. And Arthur, who still can't understand why Dexter didn't simply turn him in, begins his own bloody investigation into 'Kyle Butler'. 
4812"The Getaway"Steve ShillStory by: Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg
Teleplay by: Wendy West & Melissa Rosenberg
December 13, 2009 (2009-12-13)2.6[15]
As the noose tightens, Arthur warns Dexter to back off. But Dexter will do anything to stop Arthur from eluding him, even if that means putting himself on the wrong side of the law. Rita acknowledges the rocky relationship she and Dexter share, but reaffirms her support. Meanwhile, Batista and LaGuerta face the consequences of their actions and now that they are married agree to move in together. Debra finally learns that Dexter is the Ice-Truck Killer's brother and tells Dexter. She then tells him he is the only constant truly good thing in her life and that she loves him. At the culmination of the episode, Dexter finally captures and kills Arthur, but then goes home to find Rita dead... apparently killed by Arthur hours earlier in the same manner as the other Trinity bathtub victims, and Harrison, alive, sitting in a pool of Rita's blood. 

Critical attention

The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum called Lithgow's characterization of Arthur as "so creepy I’m still not over it" in 2011 and also said the character was "modelled on the BTK Killer".[16]


  1. ^ Goldman, Eric (2008-10-21). "Dexter Keeps Killing". IGN. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
  2. ^ Ahlborn, Kate (2008-10-24). "Q&A: Dexter Executive Producer Sara Colleton". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  3. ^ Fowler, Matt (2009-05-27). "Big Dexter Casting News". IGN. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  4. ^ Staff (2009-06-26). "Dexter's Got A Killer New Teaser Poster". IGN. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  5. ^ 2:49 p.m. ET (2009-04-30). "'Dexter' new season looks bloody promising-". MSNBC. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
  6. ^ French, Dan (2009-08-20). "Dexter', 'Mad Men' episodes leaked". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Seidman, Robert (September 29, 2009). "Dexter, Californication hit series highs on Showtime". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  9. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 6, 2009). "HBO and Showtime: Curb Your Enthusiasm gets Seinfeld boost; Entourage finale draws 2.5 million". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  10. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 27, 2009). "Updated: Dexter slashes its way to a series-high 1.7 million viewers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  11. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 3, 2009). "Dexter sets another series high, beats Mad Men". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  12. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 18, 2009). "Sunday cable finals: World War II in HD beats Curbed, Dexter, Prisoner and Californication". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  13. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 24, 2009). "Sunday Cable Ratings: Curb bows out with 1.334 million; Dexter holding most of its audience". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  14. ^ Seidman, Robert (December 8, 2009). "Dexter sets series-high; parties like it's 1999 on Showtime". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  15. ^ December 14, 2009. "Dexter Season Finale Best Ever For Showtime; Californication Sets Series High". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  16. ^ Nussbaum, Emily, "Final Cut Pro: The devolution of 'Dexter'", The New Yorker, December 12, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-23.

External links