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Dexter Morgan's greatest foes: seasons 1-3

Updated on September 8, 2013

Dexter Morgan


**Warning: Hub contains spoilers**

Back in 2006, an unlikely hero emerged on Showtime by the name of Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). A blood spatter analyst by day and vigilante serial killer by night, Dexter soon won over fans by the millions. He took down the worst of the worst, and called it a good day. He operates by Harry’s code, a code that his father Harry developed with Dr. Evelyn Vogel to help Dexter channel his serial killer needs. The code only allows Dexter to kill bad guys. During the eight years since we first met Dexter, Miami was overrun with eclectic and artistic serial killers along with some other really, really bad guys.

Dexter himself has been a fascinating character. Balancing family life, work life, and his night job as a serial killer, once you get to know him, you can’t stop watching. His intelligent, and sometimes humorous voiceovers, keep the viewer involved in Dexter’s internal monologue and motives. A killer of his caliber has only stayed out of jail for so long due to a bit of skill and a lot of luck. After eight seasons, Dexter has faced some of the biggest trials of any character on television. Here is a fond look back at some of the biggest foes that attempted to be Dexter’s undoing.

Brian Moser / Rudy Cooper / The Ice Truck Killer

Maybe he just needed a hug from mommy, but over the years, Brian Moser (Christian Camargo) developed an interesting method of killing. After his victim was dead, he would drain their blood, freeze their bodies, and then methodically dissect them, leaving bloodless corpses behind, sometimes wrapped in meat packing. He started communicating with Dexter by leaving a Barbie head on Dexter’s refrigerator and the dissected body of the doll inside his freezer.

One of the Ice Truck Killer's victims survived, thanks to Dexter, and needed some body parts replaced since the Ice Truck Killer removed them. At the hospital, we met Rudy Cooper, the prosthetic expert that helps put the victim back together again. It soon came to light that prosthetics king Rudy Cooper was in fact Brian Moser, Dexter’s brother. They were separated from each other after they witnessed their mother being cut up with a chainsaw in a shipping container. Brian wooed Dexter’s sister, Debra (or Deb, played by Jennifer Carpenter), into a relationship, and then prepared her the way that Dexter would prepare his victims. Brian thought of it as a tribute to Dexter, a way to lure him back by killing the last of his adopted family. Blood may be thicker than water, but in this case, adopted blood won out, and Dexter freed Deb. He later found Brian and killed his older brother, although Brian does appear to him off and on as a devil on Dexter’s shoulder.

Sergeant James Doakes

Sergeant James Doakes (Erik King) had it in for Dexter from the word “go.” He knew something was off about Dexter, but couldn’t quite figure it out until one night on a dock he catches Dexter red-handed. Doakes could have easily been the end of Dexter, had he gone about it the right way. But Doakes was just mean enough that he let his anger get the better of him, and because of that, he ended up taking the fall for many of Dexter’s kills as the Bay Harbor Butcher. Even though Doakes knew Dexter was the real Bay Harbor Butcher, there was nothing he could do. After Dexter locked him in a cage in a cabin, Dexter’s crazy ex-girlfriend, Lila, came along. Lucky for Dexter, not only was Lila madly in love with him and prepared to defend him in any possible way, she also loved fire. Pretty, pretty fire.

Captain Maria LaGuerta


Captain Maria LaGuerta

Miami Metro Captain Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) sure didn’t seem like an enemy of Dexter’s in season 1. In fact, this overly-driven cop wanted to get to know our favorite serial killer better in a very unsettling way. But as soon as James Doakes was fingered as the Bay Harbor Butcher, Maria became an instant threat to Dexter’s secret. Unfortunately for Dexter, Maria was Doakes’s partner in more ways than one, and she knew he was never capable of murder. From season 2 all the way to her death in season 7, Maria kept us guessing as to what she would do next to thwart Dexter’s plans. Though Dexter planned on taking her out, in the end it was sister Deb who fired the fatal shot.

FBI Special Super-Agent Frank Lundy

Can’t help but love this FBI agent with the nose of a bloodhound, and Dexter's sister Debra did just that. To his credit, Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) wasn’t entirely convinced that James Doakes was the Bay Harbor Butcher despite the overwhelming evidence. He was drawn to Dexter in a way that made us wonder if he had that cop’s intuition about Dex. In the end, he was taken out by Trinity’s daughter, Christine Hill (Courtney Ford), in season 4. Had that not happened, he surely would have caught wind of Dexter sooner rather than later.

Lila West


Lila West, aka Lila Tournay

“British Invasion” doesn’t begin to describe what Lila West’s reign in Dexter’s life was like. Dexter first met Lila (Jaime Murray) in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that his then-girlfriend Rita Bennett (Julie Benz) forced Dexter to attend. She eventually offers to be his NA sponsor, much to Rita’s chagrin. Lila is a not-so-starving artist that lives in a loft filled with some unusual artistic designs. Dex strays away from Rita and falls into Lila’s arms.

When Dexter comes to his senses and goes back to Rita, Lila shows her true colors. She sets fire to her loft to grab Dexter’s attention. Then she talks fan-favorite Sergeant Angel Batista (David Zayas) into a night of rough and wild fun, only to accuse him of rape. Dexter pretends to leave Rita and go back to Lila, while sister Deb is busy trying to run Lila out of town. Lila steals a GPS device out of Dexter’s van, and finds the cabin where he’s hiding Doakes. Doakes tries to convince Lila to release him, but when she finds out Dexter put him there, she did what she does best: she opens a gas line and leaves an open flame. Doakes is blown to bits and Lila flees the country. But our Dexter is much smarter than leaving loose ends running about, and he tracks down Lila and disposes of her the old fashioned way.

Paul Bennett

Ex-husband of Rita Bennett (Dexter’s girlfriend and later wife), Paul Bennett (Mark Pellegrino) was just a blip on Dexter’s radar of bad guys. Paul had a nasty heroin habit and that other habit of beating up Rita when they were married. Dexter’s sister Deb actually set up Dexter with Rita on a blind date after Deb met Rita on a domestic violence call.

In season 1, Paul is released from prison and tries to worm his way back into Rita’s life. Unfortunately for Paul, Rita is now with Dexter and Dexter doesn’t like Paul much. Dexter arranges for Paul to go back to prison, and Paul doesn’t survive that very long. While he is alive, however, he is convinced that Dexter set him up and is a threat, and eventually gets Rita to believe him.

ADA Miguel Prado

Jimmy Smits burst onto the scene in Season 3 as Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado. Miguel was an angry, hyperactive, narcissist, power-hungry guy who deserves all the adjectives I just used to describe him. We meet Miguel when his younger brother, Oscar, is killed by Dexter in a drug house in self-defense. Dexter and Miguel become best friends, and Dexter tries to teach Miguel Harry’s code of killing.

Miguel, however, isn’t content to kill just the bad guys, but also wants to rid his life of his arch-nemesis and defense attorney Ellen Wolf. He views her as the person that gets the bad guys off, plus she’s just a pain in his backside. Miguel kills Ellen Wolf, who has become best friends with Maria LaGuerta (who else?). Maria starts catching onto Miguel, but before she can get him, Dexter gets him first.

Who was your favorite foe from Seasons 1-3?

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      3 years ago

      I liked the first two seasons. Lila was crazy! But then so were all the rest of the characters. Good hub.

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      3 years ago

      Awesome article! Dexter's adversaries are so beautifully captured. My personal favourite is Rudy and later Trinity. Rudy is by far the most diabolic, almost in a fascinating way. He just misjudged Dexter's priorities.


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