Dexter Recap 401: “Living the Dream”

Hey guys, X here! I’m going to hit you with some premise and some back-story, which will convince you to watch Showtime’s hit series Dexter, and more importantly read my recaps! All right? That’s the plan. Let’s go!

Why you are watching Dexter, and why should I?

The premise of this show is simply that Dexter is a serial killer, but he’s complicated because he only allows himself to kill other serial killers. Also he works for a police department as a forensic blood analyst so he’s the perfect killer.

Why is this show so good? Maybe it’s because I’m a gay lady but I have the opinion that morals are subjective, and so I’m not a big fan of “judgment.” That said; killing other people is obviously bad/’wrong’, or so says the sane populace, and not exactly comparable to making out with hot chicks in bars while drinking underage.

Dexter complicates this. Yes, he’s a “killer,” but he only kills people that would have gone on to kill more innocent people. So the show takes a the previously “black and white” issue of Death and turns it gray. Moral gray areas = Television Gold. Showtime is clearly aware of this; see also Weeds, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Nurse Jackie, etc. It’s almost like “‘bad’ people are good people too” should be their tag line.

Also “today in objectification” Can we look at these three hot women from Dexter?


That would be Rita Bennet (Julie Benz), Lt. Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) and Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter).

So you’re on board, now let’s catch up:

Dexter is the son of a gruesomely murdered mother, and subsequently he was adopted by the responding officer Harry Morgan. Harry learns young in his new son’s life that Dexter is a sociopath and is destined to become a serial killer. Why? Because he is a cop and “knows these things.” So Harry gives Dexter a code to live by and trains him not to get caught. The show has basically followed him living by this code and encountering various difficulties. Managing a relationship with the foxy Rita (Julie Benz), taking care of his sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) and perpetually trying not to get caught while catching other killers. Last season ended with Dexter expecting a baby and getting married to Rita, off to embark on a “normal suburban life.”

dexter suburbia

Episode 1 “Living the Dream”

We open with Dexter slowly driving around in a darkly lit area, which we of course assume is him stalking his next vitctim but NOPE! He’s driving his new son Harrison around so that he can fall asleep … see that? What they did there? That’s a technique of filmmaking, I forget what it’s called.

The next ten minutes show Dexter being the perfect suburban house dad, staying up late with the baby, playing Marco Polo with Rita’s son from a previous marriage, and loosing the keys to his car in the refrigerator. He reminds me of my dad, except you know, to my knowledge, my dad doesn’t kill people or whatever, he only kills my soul and its desire to love other women, be happy, and stay out late.

DEXTER (Season 4)

Because Dexter keeps losing sleep, he wearily messes up a case file in court and a killer gets off scoff free, a tragedy sure, but not for Dexter! ‘Cause now he can just kill the killer. It’s a shame that he can’t get extra credit for this shit, one day he’s gonna get really frustrated and be like “Hello, I killed that dude, lay off.” Passive-aggression wouldn’t suit him.

So Dexter sets off to get all murdery on the guy, an ex-boxer who has killed at least 5 people. Dexter finds an abandoned boxing ring and lures his victim there, an arena for his vigilante justice. As this show likes to ask the hard questions he asks himself, “Can I have it all?” Can he have a wife, kids, career, and be a serial killer? It’s like the American Dream for sociopaths. Michael C. Hall might ask himself the same question, but with “homosexual” instead of “serial killer” thrown in there. JK, we love him. But you know.

The moment he decides, “Yes, I can,” Rita calls and tells Dexter he needs to go get ear drops for Harrison.


Defeated Dexter quickly stabs the guy and runs off to the pharmacy, because he’s a good father. On the way home his eyes start to blur, which in TV speak means “Oh no, he’s going to fall asleep and veer off the road!” naturally he falls asleep and veers off the road.

Other developments

1. A determined detective (now retired) has come back to solve his one unsolved serial murder case. This makes Dexter nervous as the detective is unofficially called “the serial killer hunter” except this detective doesn’t you know hunt and kill them or anything.

2. Lieutenant Maria Laguerta (the head of the whole department) is now sleeping with her sergeant. They are a cute couple.

3. Dexter’s sister is happy with her boyfriend, a handsome musician. Oh also this handsome musician was almost killed by a serial killer Dexter was after last season, so that’s complicated.

4. I keep having inappropriate moments of affection for Dexter. For example when Dexter (who’s alone in his knowledge of homicidal tendencies) admits to his son “daddy kills people” in a baby voice. Why do I find that adorable? Maybe I’m a sucker for moments of emotional honesty.


5. This show is still amazing, and it’s the fourth season! If you’re not watching this the TV police are coming to take you TV away, get on it!

6. What did you think of this week’s episode? Is Dexter’s fourth season set up to be as strong as previous seasons? What would you like to see happen this year?

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


intern has written 4 articles for us.


  1. Isn’t Dexter dating his sister in real life?

    That is to say the actor that plays Dexter is, in real life, dating the actress that plays Dexter’s sister. Talk about your moral gray areas.

    Love it!

      • hello autostraddle this is tinkerbell. i once had a lady friend who was having a special affair with his wife. that is all love tinkerbell.

  2. I didn’t know that, but it makes me happy.
    I love Dexter. All it needs is a lesbian storyline. LaGuerta would be an awesome lesbian.

    Also I’d like to add: not only did he veer off the road, he *rolled* off the road, and in the process, the hatch of his cute little mom-crossover SUV opened, which, if I might remind you, is where 6 trashbags of human remains were stored. Usually with this show they leave you at most slightly unsettled after the first episode of the season and then gradually build the tension until the last three episodes you HAVE to watch in rapid succession or else you’ll die of anxiety wondering if he really did get caught/ if Deborah’s dead/ what’s going to happen next. So now I’m wondering, are we going to do that whole near-miss thing again? If he’s unconscious and *found* like that…. (I haven’t seen the second episode, although it’s probably aired already, IDK) I’m just saying, would it be repetitive to spend another season freaking out that he’s going to be discovered? although realistically, it would probably be the major issue.

    I really like Showtime. It seems unfair that most of their shows are so much better than the L Word though. at least in terms of quality over time.

  3. I’ve never really watched Dexter…I always thought it was a little weird, but now that I know he only kills other serial killers (and that he has a cute baby) I might sit down and watch a couple of episodes.

  4. One of these days I will find the time and attention span to watch Dexter. It is on my list of shows that Vashti needs to watch before they become completely irrelevant in the real or internet world. There are a lot of shows on that list. Until then I will read your recaps and pretend that I know what’s going on.

  5. I thought this episode was great. It looks like this season is going to be pretty darn good.

    I’ve always thought that Deb should be a lesbian. She’d make a good one, I’m just sayin.

  6. Dexter telling Baby Harrison “daddy kills people” in a baby voice had the opposite effect on me — I kept thinking “NO! Don’t screw up your kid!” especially since Harry really screwed up Dexter by unloading on him.

    Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention creepy naked John Lithgow and how I’m scarred for life.

    • I really hope that either he kills people in different ways or we don’t ever have to see him kill anyone again. I have a feeling it won’t go that way, though.

  7. So my biggest concern, as mentioned above by Mercury, is the fact that uhm, Dexter has a boxer in pieces in the hatch of that vehicle that just barrel rolled off the road. Unless, he already dumped it, which is possible. I don’t want another season of everyone trying to find him. Doakes dying as the Bay Harbour Butcher was perfect. I don’t think it’s a road they’ll go down again. At least I hope not.

    I’m thinking this season is gonna be way better than last. I mean, this Trinity Killer (hi please no more naked john lithgow) is a way cooler killer than the Skinner was. Even Miguel Prado started to wear on me bad towards the end. I’m glad Lundy is back – always liked him. But poor Deb, can’t be happy, can she? I could really care less about Angel and Maria, but Rita is looking hotter than ever.

    Dammit, I love this show.

Comments are closed.