Dexter (season 1)

Dexter (season 1)

DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 12
Original network Showtime
Original release October 1 (2006-10-01) – December 17, 2006 (2006-12-17)

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 introduces Dexter Morgan, a forensic blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department. Dexter is also a serial killer who targets only other killers. How he came to be a serial killer and develop his unique Code of morality is revealed in flashbacks throughout the episodes.

At a young age, an orphaned Dexter is found by police officer Harry Morgan, who adopts the boy. How he lost his parents is a traumatic memory which he represses. When Dexter's adopted sister and Harry's daughter Debra ask about Dexter's real parents, Harry says that they died in a tragic accident. At an early age, Dexter begins killing animals and showing signs that he doesn't emotionally connect with people. Seeing that the boy's homicidal tendencies are rising and can't be fully quelled, Harry decides to help the boy channel them. Harry teaches Dexter how to hide his actions from police investigations and that if he must kill, then it should be only murderers who are escaping the law. Dexter comes to refer to these guidelines as "The Code" or "Harry's Code" - Rule 1 is to never be caught, Rule 2 is to kill only those who he knows without a doubt are killers. Harry's daughter Debra is unaware of her adopted brother's true nature and doesn't know why her father spends so much time with him on "hunting trips." Harry puts Dexter off killing an actual person for as long as possible, but finally gives his adopted son permission to do so when he is in the hospital and realizes that his nurse has been killing patients. In season 7, Dexter clarifies that he is 19 years old when he first kills a human being. Harry dies in a hospital a year later, from heart difficulties.

Throughout the season, Dexter (now in his 30s and working for the police) verifies the guilt of his chosen victims before stalking and incapacitating them. As a general rule, he injects them with a tranquilizer that immediately puts them to sleep. Dexter takes the victim to a specially-prepared room, sometimes their own homes, which he has covered entirely in plastic and sometimes decorated with artifacts acknowledging the person's crimes. The victim wakes up naked, immobilized and secured to a table by tape and plastic wrap. Dexter confronts them about their crimes as he uses a scalpel and glass slide to obtain a sample of blood from their right cheek. The blood slide is added to a collection of similar trophies that he keeps hidden in his apartment. After killing his victim (sometimes using a weapon that calls back to their own crime), Dexter butchers the body into smaller pieces placed in different trash bags. He then takes his boat The Slice of Life to a special spot in the bay harbor and dumps the bags.

Dexter's life as a killer is a secret from everyone. To appear more normal, he dates Rita, a mother with two children Astor and Cody, whose husband is in jail. Dexter chooses Rita because her abusive past and fear of intimacy means that she is not initially interested in sex and he can keep her at a distance. At work, Dexter is seen as a friendly, if occasionally odd colleague with excellent insight on the nature of murderers. His sister Debra Morgan, who works in the vice department at the beginning of the season, regularly goes to Dexter for advice. Dexter's superior Lt. LaGuerta flirts with him and he is considered a friend by CSI Masuka and Detective Angel Batista. Only Sgt. James Doakes is suspicious of Dexter's behavior, believing that he takes joy in looking at blood and murder scenes. Doakes doesn't hide his dislike of Dexter.

The season starts with a string of murders where the bodies of prostitutes are found in pieces and completely drained of blood. Dexter is immediately impressed by the precision workmanship behind the killings and helps Debra identify some of the killer's methods. For her insight on the murderer, who is now dubbed the "Ice Truck Killer", Debra is promoted to homicide. Meanwhile, Dexter finds that the killer broke into his apartment and left clues related to the killings behind. Dexter realizes that he's been invited to play a game with the killer, to learn who he is. Meanwhile, Dexter's romantic life is complicated when Rita becomes more interested in taking things to a sexual level and later when her husband Paul Bennett is released from prison on parole. While Bennett is good to his children, he repeatedly but unsuccessfully attempts to get back with Rita, despite her insistence that they are getting a divorce. After Bennett threatens him and Rita, Dexter impulsively knocks Paul out. Dexter then sets Paul up to look like he violated his parole by using heroin. While back in prison, Bennett insists that Dexter set him up.

Events lead to Debra dating a prosthetics technician named Rudy Cooper, who is also interested in befriending Dexter. Dexter later finds out that a recently deceased man named Joe Driscoll was his biological father, meaning that the man didn't die when he was a child and that Harry lied to him. While he's in the midst of discovering this, Dexter is introduced to Rudy, who says he has been waiting for a long time for them to meet, and the two begin a friendship, although it becomes clear to the audience that Rudy is responsible for the death of Dexter's biological father. Debra is confused that at times Rudy seems more interested in Dexter than in her.

Arriving at a scene arranged by the Ice Truck Killer, a hotel room covered in blood, Dexter suffers a panic attack and realizes that he is regaining his repressed memories. Investigating his past, he learns that Harry found him at the scene of a vicious murder when he was a child. Eventually, he remembers that he and his mother, a woman named Laura Moser, were in a shipping container, imprisoned by criminals. These criminals then killed Laura and chopped her up with chainsaws in front of Dexter, then left him locked in the container, sitting in his mother's blood. It was not until two days later that Harry and the police found Dexter and his dismembered mother. After taking Dexter in, Harry arranged for the report on his discovery and the circumstances of his mother Laura Moser's death to be destroyed.

It is revealed to the audience that Rudy Cooper is actually the Ice Truck Killer. After attempting to kill Det. Batista, who was closing in on him, Rudy proposes marriage to Debra. But this is a ruse to kidnap her and use her as bait for Dexter. Rudy's clues lead Dexter back to his childhood home, where Rudy is holding Debra. Dexter recalls now that he had an older brother who was also in the container when their mother Laura was murdered. Rudy Cooper is actually this older brother, Brian Moser, who was not adopted and spent much of his life in mental institutions. Like Dexter, he is a serial killer but not bound by a moral code. Rudy reveals that he has been searching for Dexter for years and was happy to realize that his younger brother was also a killer. For months now, he has been leading Dexter to him and helping his younger brother recover the memories of their shared childhood trauma. Rudy then reveals a room covered in plastic, where an unconscious Debra is naked and taped to a table. Rudy has arranged the room to be just as Dexter prefers for his own kills, and says that they will kill Debra together to cement their bond as brothers. Dexter says he won't kill Debra and Brian protests that his brother "can't be a killer AND a hero." Dexter saves Debra from Brian just as she wakes up and Brian escapes as the police arrive.

Doakes suspects that Dexter knows more than he's sharing and may have been helping "Rudy Cooper," but Debra insists that Dexter saved her from the Ice Truck Killer. Rudy's biological connection to Dexter is kept secret. Brian Moser makes another attempt on Debra's life, but falls into a trap set up by Dexter. Determined to keep Debra safe, Dexter kills Brian and arranges the scene so the police are convinced that the Ice Truck Killer committed suicide. This time, Dexter does not keep a blood slide trophy of the kill. The season ends with Rita wondering if Dexter did indeed set-up her husband to be imprisoned again, while Dexter realizes that Doakes, now convinced the blood spatter specialist is hiding something, is monitoring him closely.


Main cast


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
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
11"Dexter"Michael CuestaJames Manos, Jr.October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01)0.60[18]
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 former 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 the 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)0.72[19]
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 Christ 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 psychologist, 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. At then end of episode, the audience finds out that Rudy is the Ice Truck Killer, while unknown to characters.
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)0.76[20]
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)1.20[21]
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.


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