Movie Reviews

Even New Blood Knew That Dexter Couldn't Work Without A Different Character's 9-Season Role (Despite Ruining Their Ending)

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Dexter.


Summary

  • Debra Morgan is a crucial character in Dexter, providing a strong bond and moral anchor for Dexter throughout the series.
  • Jennifer Carpenter’s portrayal of Debra gave the show personality, making her a fan-favorite with a compelling performance.
  • Dexter: New Blood smartly brought back Debra to guide Dexter, showing the impact of her character and importance to the series.


The Dexter sequel series Dexter: New Blood understood that the series wouldn’t work without one crucial character. New Blood was released in 2021 as the long-awaited followup to Dexter’s season 8 finale in which Dexter miraculously survives charging his Slice of Life into an incoming hurricane to become a loner lumberjack in hiding. Dexter: New Blood featured original cast member Michael C. Hall as the titular protagonist once again under the alias of Jim Lindsay in the fictional town of Iron Lake, New York. The series interestingly dives into the aftermath of the controversial Dexter finale and gives the chance for him and his son Harrison to unexpectedly reunite.


Several key characters from Dexter are set to return in the highly anticipated prequel series Dexter: Original Sin. After Michael C. Hall reprised his iconic role as the charismatic vigilante serial killer Dexter Morgan in 2021’s Dexter: New Blood, Dexter: Original Sin went into development in February 2023. While it’s unclear whether Hall will appear onscreen in the Dexter prequel series, which is set in 1991, fifteen years before the events of Dexter season 1 take place, he is attached as an executive producer along with New Blood creator and Original Sin showrunner Clyde Phillips.

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Dexter & New Blood Both Needed Debra Morgan For Their Success

Debra is the most crucial character in the series besides Dexter

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Dexter and Debra have always been a compelling duo throughout Dexter’s eight seasons. Even with the season 1 revelation that Brian Moser, better known as The Ice Truck Killer, was actually Dexter’s biological brother, Dexter still chose to protect Debra Morgan, his adoptive sister, because the two have shared a strong brother-sister bond their entire lives. With the exception of the bizarre creative choice to try and have Debra and Dexter become romantically involved in Dexter season 7, the dynamic between Debra and Dexter has always been one of the strongest points of the series, which is why it was smart to bring her back in New Blood.


Debra did a lot for Dexter throughout the original series. She provided both a foil to his dark and overly serious character and was the most consistent moral anchor for Dexter throughout the show. It’s fascinating to watch Debra still love and accept her brother after she finds out about his “dark passenger” and Harry’s code, and it’s upsetting to watch her character’s downfall into total disarray in the final season leading to her controversial death at the hands of Dexter in the finale. It was wise to have Jennifer Carpenter, who played Debra, return in the sequel and replace Harry as Dexter’s familial and ghostly confidant.

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Jennifer Carpenter Was A Huge Source Of Dexter’s Personality As Debra Morgan

Debra’s unconditional love for Dexter was the backbone of the series

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While Dexter was more subdued to the other characters in the series but very vocal and transparent to the audience through his constant voiceovers, Debra was able to give both his character and the show at large a lot more personality. Debra returns to partly haunt and ultimately guide Dexter in New Blood, fully committed to preventing her murderous brother from making his same old mistakes, such as getting too close to his loved ones which always results in them getting hurt or dying. In New Blood, Debra is adamant about having Dexter stay away from Harrison after he shows up on his doorstep.


One would think that after all the time that had passed between the Dexter season 8 finale and the start of New Blood, Dexter might have changed for the better. As it turns out, Dexter still cannot help himself from developing a relationship with Harrison, even against Deb’s wishes and better judgment. Fortunately for Harrison, he was able to make it out of New Blood alive but ended up killing his father in order to ensure his own longevity. In this way, Debra ends up getting what she wanted and Dexter finally faces his own death, even if it doesn’t necessarily make for the most successful and powerful finale of his character.

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Jennifer Carpenter’s Compelling Performance Made Debra A Fan-Favorite (Which Is Why Her Ending Hurt So Bad)

Debra didn’t get the ending she deserved in the original series

Debra was a loud-mouthed yet no-nonsense foil to Dexter’s reserved and even awkward charm at times, which made her a fan-favorite character. Killing her off in the season 8 finale was one of the biggest sources of controversy for the original series, both because she was a beloved character and because it didn’t feel like an authentic resolution for her character. While there is some poetic justice in having Debra become Dexter’s final kill before he attempts to end his own life, Debra deserved more than what she got in the season 8 finale. Bringing her back in Dexter: New Blood was one of the best things that the sequel series got right.


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