The final season of Dexter starts this Sunday, June 30 on Showtime! Need to refresh your memory of what happened Seasons 1-7, or want to jump on the bandwagon before the beginning of the end? We have put together a short summary of each season so that you can be caught up for Season 8!
Season 1: The Ice Truck Killer
We are introduced to Dexter Morgan, who works for Miami Metro Police Department as a forensics analyst by day, and is a serial killer at night. But he lives by a Code, which his adoptive father, Harry, taught him: he only kills those who have killed others. Dexter claims to have no feelings, except maybe for his foster sister, Debra, or his girlfriend, Rita, and her two children Astor and Cody. However, most of the time he is putting on an act so that he can blend in with society.
The Ice Truck Killer uses his ice truck to keep the bodies of the hookers that he murders, and he leaves their body parts around town. Rita’s abusive, soon-to-be ex-husband, Paul, gets out of prison on parole, but Dexter frames him to make it look like he was using heroin and gets him sent back to prison. Dexter’s foster sister, Debra, who is a police officer, gets engaged to a guy that turns out not only to be the Ice Truck Killer, but is also Dexter’s biological brother, whose real name is Brian Moser. Dexter remembers a suppressed memory in which he, at age 3, and his brother witnessed the brutal murder of their mother. Brian tries to convince Dexter to kill Debra, but he saves her, then later kills Brian, making it look like a suicide.
Season 2: The Bay Harbor Butcher
When scuba divers discover several bags containing the bodies of Dexter’s victims, FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy is brought in to track down the murderer, who is dubbed the Bay Harbor Butcher. As Debra works on the case, she becomes romantically involved with Lundy. When Rita’s ex-husband Paul is killed in a prison fight, Dexter admits to framing him, and Rita makes Dexter go to Narcotics Anonymous when he pretends to have a drug addiction. There he meets his sponsor, Lila, who he ends up becoming romantically involved with, but he soon figures out that she’s crazy. Dexter also finds out that his adoptive father, Harry, had an affair with his biological mother, Laura Moser, who had been Harry’s confidential informant. Doakes breaks into Dexter’s apartment and finds his blood slides, proving his hunch that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher, so Dexter locks him up in a cage in a cabin in the Everglades. Lila secretly follows him to the cabin, which she blows up with Doakes inside. Doakes is then framed as the Bay Harbor Butcher. When Rita and Dexter make up, Lila kidnaps Rita’s kids and tries to kill them and Dexter in a fire, but Dexter saves them. Dexter tracks Lila to Paris and kills her.
Season 3: The Skinner
Rita finds out that she’s pregnant, and she and Dexter decide to get married. Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado discovers Dexter’s secret, and wants to learn from Dexter, so Dexter teaches him the Code and they go out on kills together. Debra gets a new partner, Quinn, and they investigate The Skinner, who murders his victims by skinning them alive. Debra also becomes romantically involved with her confidential informant, Anton. Miguel kills someone on his own that does not meet the Code, and also plans to kill LaGuerta, who suspects him of the murder, so Dexter kills Miguel and makes it look like The Skinner did it. The Skinner captures Dexter, but Dexter is able to escape and kill the Skinner, making it look like a suicide, and Dexter is able to make it on time to his wedding. Debra is promoted to Detective.
Season 4: The Trinity Killer
Dexter and Rita have moved to a house in the suburbs with their son, Harrison, and Rita’s two children, Astor and Cody. Lundy returns to investigate the Trinity Killer, who kills in a specific pattern of threes: a young woman bleeding to death in a bathtub, a mother of two falling to her death, and a father of two beaten to death. As Debra works on the case with Lundy, she cheats on Anton with him, and Lundy is soon shot and killed by an unseen shooter. Dexter figures out who the Trinity Killer is, but upon discovering that he is also a family man, Dexter decides to learn from him how to balance family life and serial killing, so he befriends the man using the alias Kyle Butler. LaGuerta and Batista get married, and Dexter acts as a witness. Dexter soon learns that Trinity actually kidnaps and kills a young boy before he starts killing the other three victims, and Dexter is able to find and save the boy that Trinity kidnapped. Quinn had been dating a reporter, who we find out is Trinity’s illegitimate daughter, and she is the one who shot Lundy. Debra figures out that the woman her father had an affair with was Laura Moser, and tells Dexter about the connection between him and Brian and Laura Moser, to which Dexter acts surprised. Dexter catches Trinity and brings him to the bomb shelter where Trinity had brought the kidnapped boy, and Dexter kills him with a hammer. Dexter returns home to find Rita dead in the bathtub, and Harrison crying on the bathroom floor, covered in Rita’s blood.
Season 5: The Barrel Girls
The season picks up right where last season left off, with the police arriving at Dexter’s house after he discovers Rita’s body. Astor and Cody go live with their grandparents in Orlando, while Harrison stays with Dexter, and he hires a nanny. When Dexter kills a guy named Boyd Fowler who was responsible for the rape and murder of several young women, one of those young women, named Lumen, witnesses Dexter’s kill. She tells him that Fowler was not her only attacker, so they join forces and he helps her track down and kill her other attackers, and they become romantically involved. Quinn is suspicious of Dexter being Rita’s murderer, and thinks that the sketch of Kyle Butler is actually Dexter, but he and Deb have started a romantic relationship, and she tells him to back off from investigating her brother. However, he has already hired another cop named Liddy to help him investigate Dexter, and Liddy continues his investigation. Liddy has surveillance footage of Dexter and Lumen dumping the bodies, so he captures Dexter, but Dexter kills Liddy and destroys the footage. Quinn is suspected of Liddy’s murder, but Dexter helps clear his name by faking a blood test. Renowned motivational speaker Jordan Chase is Lumen’s final attacker, and he figures out that Dexter and Lumen are on his trail, so he kidnaps Lumen and plans to kill her. But Dexter tracks him down, rescues Lumen, and Lumen kills Jordan Chase. However, Deb has also been on the trail of Jordan Chase and shows up at the scene. She sees the shadows of Lumen and Dexter through the dirty plastic sheet, knows that one of the shadows belongs to one of Chase’s rape victims, and sympathizes, giving them an hour head start before she calls it in. Now that Lumen has killed all of her attackers, she no longer feels the need to kill, and breaks up with Dexter.
Season 6: The Doomsday Killer (DDK)
This was a very religious themed season, with killers Travis Marshall and Professor James Gellar trying to bring about the end of the world through murders based on the Book of Revelation. Quinn proposes to Deb, she says no, and they break up. LaGuerta and Batista get divorced. LaGuerta blackmails Matthews into promoting her to Captain, and Matthews chooses Deb over Batista to promote to Lieutenant. Dexter gets Harrison into a Catholic preschool, and he hires Batista’s sister, Jamie, as Harrison’s babysitter. He also befriends Brother Sam (Mos Def), who runs an auto repair shop where ex-cons work, one of whom kills Brother Sam, and who Dexter then kills. Masuka hires an intern, but fires her when he discovers that she stole the prosthetic Ice Truck Killer hand from the evidence room and put it up on eBay. The new intern he hires, Louis, is a video game developer who begins dating Jamie. He idolizes Dexter until he tells Louis he doesn’t like his serial killer video game, after which Louis holds a grudge against Dexter. Dexter finds out Trinity’s wife and daughter have been found dead, so assumes the son Jonah was responsible, and takes a road trip up to Nebraska, where they now live, to kill Jonah. He learns that Jonah’s mother blamed Trinity’s behavior on her children, so his sister committed suicide and Jonah killed his mom. Dexter decides to let Jonah live. It turns out that Travis is the only DDK, as he killed Professor Gellar a few years ago, has been keeping his body in a freezer since then, and only imagines that he sees Gellar. Deb is involved in a shootout, so she has to go to counseling, where she realizes that she is in love with Dexter. Travis tries to kill Dexter in a lake of fire, but Dexter escapes and swim to shore. Travis also kidnaps and tries to sacrifice Harrison, but Dexter is able to stop him before it’s too late. Dexter brings Travis to the abandoned church to kill him, and just as he plunges the knife into Travis, Deb shows up to tell Dexter she’s in love with him and sees everything.
Season 7: Hannah McKay
We pick up where the end of Season 6 left off, as Deb walks in on Dexter killing Travis Marshall. He claims that he just “snapped,” and Deb helps him set the church on fire, making it look like a suicide, but she later gets him to admit that he’s a serial killer when she ransacks his apartment and finds his blood slides. Deb makes Dexter live with her so she can keep an eye on him. Speaking of blood slides, LaGuerta finds one that Dexter left behind at the church, which she secretly investigates, and she starts to suspect Dexter of being the real Bay Harbor Butcher by the end of the season. Detective Mike Anderson tries to help a stranded motorist change his tire, but finds a dead hooker in the trunk, and the man, Vicktor Baskov, kills him. Dexter tracks Vicktor down and kills him. Vicktor turns out to be not only in the Ukranian mob called the Koshka Brotherhood, but also the lover of the head of Brotherhood, Isaak Sirko, who tries to hunt down Dexter to kill him.
Louis the intern is mad at Dexter for not liking his video game, and for breaking into his apartment and threatening him when Dexter finds out Louis cancelled his credit cards, so Louis goes to mess with Dexter’s boat, but Isaak finds Louis there and kills him. Quinn starts dating a stripper named Nadia that works at the Brotherhood’s strip club, which leads to him being blackmailed to destroy evidence the police have against Sirko. An inmate named Wayne Randall suddenly decides to show the police where he buried the bodies of his victims, but he steps out into oncoming traffic and kills himself. The police also question Randall’s former girlfriend, Hannah McKay, who was cleared of any involvement in the murders. However, Dexter figures out she fits the Code, and is about to kill her when he decides to become romantically involved with her instead.
Isaak kidnaps and holds Hannah hostage to get Dexter to help him kill the guys that are after him. While Dexter is helping him, Isaak is fatally shot. Meanwhile, Deb saves Hannah from Isaak’s guy that is holding her hostage. Dexter kills Hannah’s no-good father, even though he doesn’t meet the Code. When Dexter finds out that Hannah poisoned Deb, causing her to black out and have a car accident, Dexter turns evidence over to Deb that proves Hannah is a murderer, and Deb arrests her. LaGuerta tries to set Dexter up by releasing his mother’s murderer, Hector Estrada, on early parole, but Dexter figures it out at the last minute and doesn’t kill him. LaGuerta has Dexter arrested for the murder of Hector Estrada, but Dexter has set it up to look like LaGuerta is trying to frame him, and he is released. After Hannah’s trial, she has a seizure and is brought to the hospital, then escapes when no one’s looking. Batista buys a restaurant and retires. Dexter tries to make it look like Estrada and LaGuerta killed each other, but Deb shows up and sees what Dexter is up to, then decides to shoot and kill LaGuerta.
What’s to come in Season 8, the final season of Dexter? Watch the official Season 8 trailer below!