Darkly Dreaming Dexter

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Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Darkly Dreaming Dexter.jpg
Cover of the 2004 edition
Author Jeff Lindsay
CountryUnited States
Genre Crime novel Horror fiction
Publication date
July 2004
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Followed by Dearly Devoted Dexter  

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a 2004 novel by Jeff Lindsay, the first in his series about forensic analyst/serial killer Dexter Morgan. It formed the basis of the Showtime television series Dexter and won the 2005 Dilys Award and the 2007 Book to TV award.



The novel's protagonist, Dexter Morgan, works for the Miami-Dade Police Department as a forensic blood spatter analyst. In his spare time, Dexter is a serial killer who kills murderers, rapists, child molesters and other undesirables that he believes the legal system has failed to stop. Dexter's murders are directed by an inner voice that he refers to as "The Dark Passenger", which keeps prodding Dexter to satisfy his homicidal urges on a regular basis. Once he has done so, the voice is placated for a while, but it always eventually comes back.

Flashbacks reveal that his foster father, an esteemed police detective named Harry Morgan, recognized early on that Dexter was a violent sociopath with an innate need to kill, and taught him how to kill people who had gotten away with horrific crimes as a way to channel his homicidal urges in a "positive" direction. Harry also taught the boy to be a careful and meticulous killer, to leave no clues, and to be absolutely sure that his victims were guilty before killing them. Dexter calls these rules "The Code of Harry."

Dexter succeeds in managing his double life until he investigates the "Tamiami Slasher," who has murdered three prostitutes. Dexter's adoptive sister, Deborah, who's also on the force and wants to be promoted to Homicide and knowing that her brother has eerie "hunches" asks him for help in solving the case. Dexter eventually decides to help Deborah due to his moral code, but still feels a compelling pull to the killer, due to similar desires. After a lucid dream, Dexter drives around Miami and spots a refrigerated truck. When he follows the truck, the killer throws a severed head in his car.

The killer begins sending messages to Dexter, who finds the crimes fascinating. Dexter is torn between helping Deborah and allowing the killer to continue his spree. Meanwhile, due to his strange dreams, Dexter wants to kill somebody, so he follows a man whom he suspects of raping and killing five teenage girls and kills that man after confirming his guilt. The Tamiami Slasher kidnaps Deborah and brings Dexter to the scene, revealing that his sister is being held in the same shipping container that Dexter's mother, Laura, was held in. The killer is Dexter's biological brother, Brian, who was separated from Dexter after their mother's murder at the hands of a drug dealer. As Deborah's spiteful colleague, Migdia LaGuerta, arrives on the scene, Brian is disappointed that Dexter refuses to kill Deborah. Dexter allows Brian to kill LaGuerta and helps him escape, out of a sense of familial loyalty. In the epilogue, Dexter stands at LaGuerta's funeral and feels sad, but cannot bring himself to cry.


Darkly Dreaming Dexter won the 2005 Dilys Award presented by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. [1]

Television series adaptation

The novel is the basis for a TV series on the cable network Showtime. Whereas the first season largely followed the plot of the original book, subsequent seasons featured original storylines not directly based on subsequent "Dexter" novels.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter was also featured on an episode of Booked, a Canadian television series that investigates crime fiction novels through the eyes of real forensic science experts. [2]

In Episode 2 of the fifth season of the TV series Billions, Charles “Chuck” Rhoades, is in a session with a therapist. [3] When prompted by the therapist to choose a 'wise person', Rhoades, an avid reader of crime fiction, nominates Dexter's father, Harry Morgan, for guidance. [4]

Related Research Articles

<i>Dexter</i> (TV series) American crime drama television series

Dexter is an American crime drama mystery television series that aired on Showtime from October 1, 2006, to September 22, 2013. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a forensic technician specializing in bloodstain pattern analysis for the fictional Miami Metro Police Department, who leads a secret parallel life as a vigilante 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 in a series of novels by Jeff Lindsay. It was adapted for television by James Manos Jr., who wrote the first episode. Subsequent seasons evolved independently of Lindsay's works.

Debra Charlotte Morgan is a fictional character created by Jeff Lindsay for his Dexter book series. She also appears in the television series, based on Lindsay's books, portrayed by Jennifer Carpenter. In Lindsay's novels, she first appeared in Darkly Dreaming Dexter and was featured in every novel in the series.

Dexter Morgan Fictional character from the Dexter book and Showtime television series

Dexter Morgan is a fictional character and the antihero protagonist of the Dexter book series, written by Jeff Lindsay, as well as the television series of the same name, where he is portrayed by American actor Michael C. Hall, and by Devon Graye, Dominic Janes, and Maxwell Huckabee as a youth.

"Dexter", or "Pilot", is the pilot episode of the first season television drama series of the same name, which premiered on October 1, 2006 on Showtime in the United States. The episode was written by developer James Manos Jr. and directed by Michael Cuesta. It was based on the opening of the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. The pilot introduces the series' protagonist, Dexter Morgan, a Miami Metro Police Department blood spatter analyst with a double life as a serial killer. While solving murders in the Homicide division, Dexter also spends his time hunting and killing murderers and criminals who have escaped the justice system. The pilot introduces the "Ice Truck Killer", a serial killer who targets prostitutes and leaves their bodies dismembered and bloodless, and the rivalry that develops between the killer and Dexter.

"Born Free" is the twelfth episode of season one and first-season finale of the American television drama series Dexter, which aired on December 17, 2006 on Showtime in the United States. The episode also aired on May 4, 2008 on CTV in Canada; on May 14, 2008 on FX in the UK; on September 28, 2008 on Channel Ten in Australia; and on March 21, 2011 on STAR World in India. The episode was written by Daniel Cerone and executive producer Melissa Rosenberg, and was directed by Michael Cuesta. Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, the season featured many differences to the original source, mainly in the lead-up to and revelation of the identity of the "Ice Truck Killer". The episode received critical acclaim.

<i>Dexter in the Dark</i>

Dexter in the Dark is a 2007 novel written by Jeff Lindsay. This is the third book in the Dexter series, preceded by the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter—which formed the basis of the Showtime television series Dexter—and Dearly Devoted Dexter, its 2005 sequel.

<i>Dexter by Design</i>

Dexter by Design (2009) is a mystery novel written by Jeff Lindsay. It is the fourth novel in the Dexter series, preceded by Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter, and Dexter in the Dark.

"The Dark Defender" is the fifth episode of the second season and seventeenth overall episode of the American television drama series Dexter, which first aired on 28 October 2007 on Showtime in the United States. The episode was written by Timothy Schlattmann and was directed by Keith Gordon.

"It's Alive!" is the second season premiere and thirteenth overall episode of the American television drama series Dexter, which first aired on September 30, 2007 on Showtime in the United States. The episode was written by Daniel Cerone and was directed by Tony Goldwyn. In the episode, which takes place five weeks after the first-season finale, Sgt. James Doakes is following Dexter Morgan at all times, but when he gets his first opportunity Dexter finds himself unable to kill. Meanwhile, his sister Debra returns to work after her ex-fiancé Brian tried to kill her, and his girlfriend Rita Bennett refuses to believe that Dexter sent her ex-husband Paul to prison in spite of the evidence in front of her.

Rita Bennett Fictional character created by Jeff Lindsay

Rita Morgan is a fictional character created by Jeff Lindsay for his book series about a vigilante serial killer named Dexter Morgan. She also appeared in the television series Dexter, based on Lindsay's books. She was the girlfriend and later wife of Dexter in both media. Portrayed by Julie Benz, Rita was a series regular in the first four seasons. The character made her last television appearance in 2010; she was a special guest star in Dexter's season five opener entitled "My Bad". The character appeared in seven of the eight Dexter novels.

Harry Morgan (<i>Dexter</i>)

Detective Harrison "Harry" Morgan is a fictional character in the Showtime television series Dexter and the novels by Jeff Lindsay upon which it is based. In the television series he is portrayed by James Remar. Harry is Dexter Morgan's adoptive father, now deceased. For the first two seasons of the series he appeared only in flashbacks to Dexter's childhood, having died 10 years prior to the start of the series. From season three onward, the dramatic device of flashbacks was replaced with Harry appearing as representations of how Dexter worked out his problems. Harry, portrayed as a sort of conscience, would comment and give advice on the challenges his son faced throughout the series.

<i>Dexter</i> (season 1)

The first season of Dexter is an adaptation of Jeff Lindsay's first novel in a series of the same name, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Subsequent seasons have featured original storylines. This season aired from October 1, 2006 to December 17, 2006, 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, a vice squad officer, aspires to work in the homicide department, and Dexter's girlfriend, Rita Bennett, wants their relationship to be more intimate. Christian Camargo appears as Rudy Cooper and is a recurring character until the end of the season.

<i>Dexter</i> (season 2)

The second season of Dexter premiered on September 30, 2007, and ended on December 16, 2007. "It's Alive", the season premiere, attracted 1.01 million viewers in the United States, making Dexter the first Showtime series to attract more than a million viewers with a season premiere. The season finale, "The British Invasion", attracted 1.4 million viewers, making it the program's most-watched episode until the airing of the season three finale, "Do You Take Dexter Morgan?". Including digital video recorder (DVR) usage, season two was watched by an average of 2.4 million viewers on a weekly basis through 11 full weeks, outperforming season one by 21%. The season received universal acclaim from critics, and was praised as "one of the best shows on TV this decade" by the Chicago Sun-Times, while Variety considers Hall's portrayal of the title character as a "towering achievement, one that eclipses the show's other shortcomings and rough patches"; the aggregate site Metacritic scored the season at 85 out of 100 based on 11 reviews.

<i>Dexter</i> (season 3)

The third season of Dexter premiered on September 28, 2008, and ended on December 14, 2008. "Our Father", the season premiere, attracted 1.22 million viewers in the United States, making it Showtime's highest-rated drama season premiere since Nielsen Media Research began compiling ratings in 2004. The season's finale, "Do You Take Dexter Morgan?" attracted 1.5 million viewers. Season three was watched by an average of 1.1 million viewers a week. It received largely positive reviews from critics, which ranged from being praised as "truly and incredibly exciting television" in the San Francisco Chronicle, to "lack[ing] the crackling tension the drama had supplied in previous years" by the Chicago Tribune; the aggregate site Metacritic scored the season at 78 out of 100 based on 13 reviews. Smits and Hall received Emmy nominations for their roles as Miguel Prado and Dexter Morgan respectively, while the show as a whole also received a Best Drama Emmy nomination.

María LaGuerta Fictional human

Captain María Esperanza di Alma LaGuerta, is a fictional character in the Showtime television series Dexter. The character is known as Migdia LaGuerta in the novels by Jeff Lindsay upon which the television series is based. She was portrayed by Lauren Vélez in the television series. She is a lieutenant in the fictitious Miami-Metro Homicide Department, and the superior officer of Dexter and Debra Morgan. Despite being a protagonist for most of the series, she ultimately emerges as one of the story's main antagonists by Season 7.

Angel Batista Fictional character

Angelo "Angel" Juan Marcos Batista is a fictional character in the Showtime television series Dexter and the novels by Jeff Lindsay upon which it is based. He is portrayed in the television series by David Zayas. Batista spends much of the series as a Sergeant before being promoted to Lieutenant in the final season.

"My Bad" is the premiere of the fifth season of the Showtime series Dexter and the show's forty-ninth episode overall. It was written by Chip Johannessen, the show's former executive producer and showrunner, and directed by Steve Shill. It originally aired on September 26, 2010. It brings the final resolution to the Trinity Killer plot that was present in season four and also features the last performance by Julie Benz as Rita.

<i>Dexter</i> (season 6)

The sixth season of Dexter premiered on October 2, 2011 on the television cable network Showtime, and consisted of 12 episodes. The season follows Dexter's and Miami Metro's investigations into a string of bizarre ritualistic killings featuring overtly religious apocalyptic symbolism. On November 18, 2011, it was announced that Dexter had been renewed for two more seasons.

"Are You...?" is the first episode of the seventh season of the Showtime television series Dexter and the seventy-third episode overall. The episode originally aired on September 30, 2012. It was directed by John Dahl and written by newly appointed showrunner Scott Buck.


  1. "The Dilys Award". Archived from the original on 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  2. "Booked.TV".
  3. M.Sc, Shain E. Thomas (2020-05-10). "'Billions': S05.E02. "The Chris Rock Test"". Medium. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  4. Surrey, Miles (2020-05-11). "'Billions' Superlatives: "No, It's Torture!"". The Ringer. Retrieved 2020-05-14.