the antagonists of dexter

Originally I wanted to call this post ‘The Bad Guys of Dexter’, but I realized that there are way too many, since all he does is kill them. But every season there has been one character who has caused trouble for Dexter. One character who has shaken his world and made his life difficult. Now that we know a bit more about this season’s antagonist, I want to look back at all the others.  If you do not watch Dexter but plan to, GO BACK NOW!!! This post holds nothing but spoilers and big spoiler so get out while you still can!

When Dexter started I don’t think anyone knew what to expect. Was this just gonna be a show about a serial killer with a conscious and the complications of keeping his secret hobby covered up? Or would there be something more? I assumed the latter when my brother told me I had to watch it, giving me seasons 1-3. I quickly began a marathon and for a month and a half I pretty much did nothing but watch Dexter.  And now I’m addicted.

Season One- The Sibling Rivalry

Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer

By the end of the first episode it was clear that the Ice Truck Killer was going to be a recurring antagonist for Dexter and the Miami Metro Police. The games he played with Dexter seemed harmless at first and Dexter was intrigued, but not worried. He hunts the Ice Truck Killer, with the intentions of killing him, but he’s also interested in learning why he’s playing this game. Dexter remains in control and unconcerned until the last couple of episodes when the crime scene is a room filled with blood. Dexter’s suppressed memories return to him. And now, more than ever, he wants to know why the Ice Truck Killer is playing this game. In the last episode he makes all the connections and learns that the Ice Truck Killer/Rudy is actually Brian Moser, his real brother. It was the first time the show astounded us with a twist in plot, but definitely not the last. The beauty of the Ice Truck Killer as an antagonist is that it all seemed so harmless at first.  It was inevitable that Dexter would eventually find and kill him, but I don’t think anyone expected the plot to go much deeper than a cat and mouse game. It’s the unsuspecting quiet way the antagonistic relationship begins that makes this one of my favorite seasons. And Dexter, as well as the audience, learn the truth of why Dexter is the way he is.

Season Two- The Suspecting Cop

Doakes and Dexter

The antagonist in this season is, arguably, all of Miami Metro Police Department since they’re hunting Dexter down, but I’d like to focus on Doakes. For me this was a challenging relationship to comprehend because ultimately, Doakes is right. Dexter is a murderer, regardless of his code and the past experiences which made him the way he is, and that makes him the bad guy. Doakes’ suspicions and pursuit of Dexter make this really complicated. At not one point did I want Dexter to get caught or hurt, but I also understood Doakes. The whole season is a bit of a moral struggle for Dexter, more so than the others. He contemplates turning himself in a few times over the course of the season, and even more so when it comes down to breaking the code and killing Doakes or giving himself up. Lucky for Dexter he doesn’t have to make that decision because that British Bitch did it for him. She killed Doakes and Dexter killed her (good riddance!).  Dexter, not wanting to endure this kind of struggle again picks a better place to dispose of the bodies.

Season Three- The Willing Partner

Miguel and Dexter

This season was the most unexciting for me. Miguel Prado as an antagonist was annoying more than anything. But for Dexter it was a chance to see that maybe he could trust someone to know what he was without being repulsed. Eventually he finds out that Miguel is out of control, thirsty for blood and incredibly sloppy.  He doesn’t follow the code as stringently as Dexter does and this is, of course, unacceptable to Dexter, especially when he finds out Miguel has killed a defense attorney and plans to kill LaGuerta. He has no choice, Miguel has to be killed, just like all the other antagonists he faces. Dexter’s initial trust is broken and he learns that what he does has to be done alone. He can only trust the people how don’t know what he really is.

Season Four- The Family Man

Arthur and Dexter

In my mind, this is the only season that compares to season one. With its epic twist, Dexter’s struggle and the intricate Trinity storyline this season is TV gold. In the beginning of the season Dexter, just like any new father, is doing his best to juggle work, family and killing. He’s worried that he can’t do it. He’s worried that he won’t be able to be a family man and continue his night time hobby, until he finds out who Trinity is and following him home one night discovers that he is a family man too. Dexter decides to try and learn from Trinity before killing him, big mistake. What he learns is that he doesn’t ever want to be anything like Trinity, whose abusive relationship with his family keeps them all shaking in fear. Before Dexter can perform the killing Trinity finds him out. Dexter fears for his family and sends them to Disneyworld. Finally he gets the chance to kill Trinity. He feels satisfied that Trinity’s cycle has finally ended, until he comes home to Rita as the first victim in another Trinity cycle, which will never be completed. Trinity’s role as an antagonist forced Dexter to look at his family. Unlike Trinity, Dexter has strict lines that bound his dark passenger and he would never do anything to hurt his family, which he discovered through their relationship.

Season Five- The Inspirational Speaker

Dexter, LUmen, Jordan
This season represents the first time Dexter has a partner that doesn’t screw him over. It’s also the first time he tries to help someone else with their own darkness. The antagonist isn’t as clear in this one, but for the sake of this blog I’m going to claim, it’s Jordan Chase. Though it’s a bit of a struggle for Dexter to allow someone to be there during the kills, especially after what happened with Miguel, this is different. The relief Lumen feels during the first kill, tells him she is not the same as Miguel who became kill-hungry. He helps her track down all the men responsible and eventually ends with Jordan, who, unlike the others, is a bit of a challenge.  I think I’d venture to say that his quest for Jordan and the four other men involved in violating Lumen is the real antagonist here. Though Chase fuels it the most, by catching on and kidnapping Lumen, it’s the hunt for all five that fuels Dexter’s thought process.  Dexter is able to put aside his need for retribution against the Trinity Killer (which he can’t achieve because he’s already killed him), to help Lumen in the quest for hers. In the end when Lumen no longer feels her dark passenger, Dexter can only hope that one day he’ll no longer feel his.

Season Six- The Messengers

THe MEssengers
We’re still in the midst of discovering more about this season’s antagonist, but we know they’re fueled by religion. One man, does the killing, while the other, cannot shake the feeling that what he is doing is wrong, despite it being a message from God. After one discussion with the side-kick, Dexter let him go, which may come back to haunt him. I wonder how the paths of these two will cross with Dexter. We already know he is looking at the whole religion thing because of Brother Sam and the school he wants Harrison to go to, but ultimately I’m not sure what this antagonist will give Dexter, besides maybe a new-found disrespect for religion given the way the duo’s literal (and bloody) interpretation of the bible.

The antagonists of this show have served their role well. Teaching Dexter, forcing him to discover things and giving him a purpose. They’re very important to the show, more so then the average kill, though they have their affect too. But most importantly the antagonists give the audience something to stress out over while waiting for the next episode.

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2 thoughts on “the antagonists of dexter

  1. kris10alyse says:

    So apparently I spoke too soon. It looks like this seasons antagonist is going to be Dexter’s Dark Passenger in the form of a Brian Moser hallucination. This should definitely be interesting.

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