The Dexter that Could Have Been

It’s no secret that I think this season of Dexter has been pretty awful this year, which has been a big disappointment as I’ve loved to see the show topping itself year after year. Doomsday, the clanging religious overtones and Dexter himself have just seemed a bit…off.

I have my own theories on how the show could get back on track, but I’ll save those for another day. Today , I’d rather dive into something I recently chose to investigate, the original book series that the show is based off of by Jeff Lindsey.

Some of you might not actually know this is the case, and if you do but haven’t read them, you might be wondering why there aren’t people chiming in with upcoming plot spoilers every week like they do with Game of Thrones. Well, that’s because the books are a little…different than the adventures we’ve seen on screen.

Below I’ve compiled the plots of all the Dexter books, and you can see for yourself what I’m talking about. Behold, the Dexter that could have been.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

“Doris Morgan, his adoptive mother, died of cancer when he was 16. When Dexter reaches puberty, he realizes that he is uninterested in sex and needs instruction by his father on how to behave with women.
When Dexter was 18, Harry fell ill of coronary artery disease and was confined to a hospital where Harry spots a nurse who kills people by overdosing them on morphine. Harry gives Dexter his “permission” to kill her; she is Dexter’s first victim.

Near the end of the first book Brian and Dexter meet in a storage container similar to the one they were held in as children, and Brian recounts what happened. He says that one of the bodies they were surrounded by could have been their father for all they knew.

At the end of the novel, Deborah learns of Dexter’s secret life after he saves her from Brian. She appears to accept it, but in subsequent books feels torn between her duties as a police officer and her loyalty to Dexter, whom she loves like a brother.”

So as you can see, this first book follows the first season almost to the letter, from Dexter’s past to his brother the killer. The big difference here is that Deb learns Dexter’s secret, which in six seasons now, still hasn’t happened on the show as it would hugely change the entire dynamic. I’ve been waiting for them to get to this for years now, but I’m not sure they ever will.

Dearly Devoted Dexter

“Doakes suspects Dexter being involved in LaGuerta’s murder, and starts following Dexter around. However a string of murders forces Doakes, Deborah and Dexter to co-operate, while uncovering parts of Doakes’s past.
Doakes’ pursuit forces Dexter to spend more time with Rita and her children. After finding FBI agent Kyle Chutsky’s ring in Dexter’s pocket, Rita believes Dexter intended to propose to her, and happily accepts before Dexter can explain.

Deborah’s developing relationship with Chutsky is interrupted when he is kidnapped by “Dr. Danco”, a psychopathic surgeon who removes his victims’ limbs and sensory organs, leaving them in a state of living death. Dexter rescues him, but not before Danco has removed Chutsky’s right arm and leg.”

Well good to see Doakes and Rita are around, but I can’t place who this Chutsky is supposed to be. I’m not sure he has an equivalent on the show.

Dexter in the Dark

“In Dexter in the Dark, the third novel of the series, it is revealed through third person narrative of an entity referred to as “IT” that the Dark Passenger is an independent agent inhabiting Dexter, rather than a deviant psychological construction. Later, Dexter realizes the Dark Passenger is related toMoloch, a Middle Eastern deity worshiped in Biblical times. The Dark Passenger is one of Moloch’s many offspring; Moloch had many children (formed through human sacrifice), and learned to share its knowledge with them.

Eventually, there were too many, and Moloch killed the majority; however, some of them escaped into the world. In the novel, Dexter learns of the Dark Passenger’s true nature when it briefly “leaves” him, frightening him into researching possible reasons for its existence. Dexter comes to accept his role as stepfather to both children very seriously in Dexter in the Dark, albeit in his typical fashion. For example, while on a stakeout, he begins to wonder if Cody had brushed his teeth before bed and if Astor had set out her Easter dress for picture day at her school. These thoughts distract him from hunting an intended victim, which thoroughly annoys him.”

Alright, now things are getting really freaking weird. Dexter’s Dark passenger is literally an ancient deity? We’re jumped into X-Files territory here, and this is way, way outside the constructs of the Dexter we know. I guess it’s his series, and the author can do what he wants, but this seems extremely strange and it’s good this insanity never made it to the screen.

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  1. I’ve actually read the books. Well not the latest one. But as you can see from the synopsis’ (synopses?) They’re pretty terrible. In the first book deb finds out about dexter. Dexter also let’s Brian go, but not before Brian kills laguerta, one huge positive thing the book has over the tv series. Chutsky is essentially Lundy. An older FBI agent deb falls in love with. Another really weird thing is that doakes doesn’t die in the books, instead he has his eyelids, lips and arms removed by some sadistic doctor in the second book. Really weird, terrible stuff.

  2. Seems like the books are awful. Glad they strayed away as much as they did.

    As for this season, eventhough we all guessed that Gellar wasnt real pretty early on im still enjoying this season so far. I think Mos Def was great as brother Sam and I like that he tries to get Dexter to look for the good in people. While the twist didnt work for me I am still really interested to see where it goes from here and how Dexter internally is going to react to the news after trying to save Travis.

  3. Is it the best season…no. Is it the worst season, arguable (I would say the season with Lumen was). Regardless I still think that this season is still very watchable.

  4. i just finished the 6th book in the series…. they’re not as good as the tv show, although they are entertaining.

    one of the biggest plot points in the books that i wish would’ve made it onto the show is that astor and cody are both little Dexters-in-training.

    their father was much like on the show but WAY worse, like physically torturing Rita AND the kids which caused them to be messed up like Dexter and have Dark Passengers of their own.

    Dexter tries to get them to appear normal so they can blend in like he does, but they can’t wait to be like Dexter and their (alive) Uncle Brian. They are often also with Dexter and the serial killers he is hunting and are usually involved in the final climactic scenes in a big way.

  5. oh, another big thing is that Deb has a baby with Chutsky but he bails on her to be a single mom.

    also, according to the books, Deb is a very good looking woman which is odd because the tv series depicts a rather odd looking horse in a pantsuit.

  6. I read only the first one, and stayed with the TV show, wich is way better. The only thing that I liked better in the book than in the series was that Dexter and Brian were very similar, so in one point, when a camera got Brian as the Ice Truck Killer, Dexter really believed that it may have been him during his sleep, not remembering what has happened. It was too difficult to translate that to the show, though.

  7. I posted this in the review so I’ll share here as well:

    This season has been a bust from the start that’s why I suspect Deb will find out about Dexter this season, it is the ONLY thing the writers have in their arsenal that will cause a frenzy amongst fans.

    In my mind it plays out with Travis on Dex’s killing table and right when the knife cuts into the chest and Dexter still holding on, Deb walks in, gun drawn…Dexter looks up at her and and his face changes from murderous joy to shock. Deb starts to shake, gun points down, then back to Dexter….and she manages to say “Dexter…”.

    Black screen, credits roll, EVERY FAN TUNES IN NEXT SEASON

    Having flipped through all the books, I can honestly say this is the only thing they have left to keep the show fresh for a new season. Season 6 wouldn’t be the “lack luster” season but the season where Deb found out, making it an instant standout and turning the show into something more dynamic.

  8. Personally I wish I had stopped reading them after the first two books. After that, it just gets a little too stupid to be entertaining. Additionally, I think the show has done a much better job of developing the characters than the author himself. In the books, Rita is basically an unfinished sentence. Dexter is portrayed as almost wishy-washy.

    I do think the show missed an opportunity by leaving out the “Dexter Scouts” part of things with the kids. That could have taken things in a really creepy (and fun) direction.

  9. @Uncle Phil I wished I stopped after the first two books as well. They weren’t bad, unsurprising because I watched the show first, but the third just got me so angry. A literal dark passenger??! It ruins the psychological aspects of Dexter that I felt is the cornerstone to his character.

    Though I do like how he becomes Harry in teaching Rita’s kids how to kill and cover their tracks.

  10. I seriously don’t understand why people call this the worst season. Maybe Dexter didn’t figure this “twist” out sooner or whatever, but if we’re talking about bad seasons, did everyone forget Lumen from season 5? By far the worst seaon ever and she was probably the worst character to ever join the Dexter cast. She did nothing but cause problems for Dex. But that’s just my opinion. I think this season is brilliant and exciting. I wonder how they’re gonna play out Dexter and Deb’s relationship in the next episode.

  11. I wouldn’t call this the worst season at all. It’s probably right in the middle of the road. Better than 3 and 5, but worse than 1, 2 and 4. But if they stick the ending it could be as good, if not better than those ones I just mentioned.

  12. Personally, my theory for the end of this season is that we’ll find out that Lewis, the intern that’s dating Batista’s sister, will have had some sort of relationship with Brian Moser. Think about it not just from the perspective of the story line, but also the format of the show.

    1) The writers felt it necessary to include Brian in that horridly awkward episode where Dexter goes guano.

    2) Lewis has an unnaturally strong obsession with Dexter, especially his expertise with blood.

    3) Lewis has the Ice Truck Killer hand in his apartment.

    4) Deb has spent the last several episodes speaking to a shrink, culminating in the last episode where she explicitly describes her relationship with Brian/Dexter.

    5) Another focus of her psych sessions has been her realizing how closed off and secretive Dexter is.

    The writers seem to be taking every opportunity to remind us of who Brian was and how important he is, while simultaneously developing Deb’s character in such a way that will be conducive to her being a little more invasive of Dexter’s privacy/past. Thus, next season while we’re watching the conflict between Dexter and Lewis, we’ll also be seeing Deb doing a lot of digging in to where Dexter goes and what he’s been up to, culminating in her finding out what’s really going on at the end of NEXT season.

    Again, just my theory, but I think it’s pretty sound. I’d be interested to hear what you guys think. =)

  13. If you’ve ever read the Bourne books by Robert Ludlum, you’ll see the same type of thing. The books are completely different than the movies. Minus the overarching amnesia story line. Marie’s name isn’t even the same. So this is done a fair amount to mix things up a bit.

  14. I like your theory Aaron.

    I got a theory in mind that is not exactly “a theory”, but I would really like to see in the show, and i think it could be the best season

    A plot, where the son of Trinity reappears, and instead of becoming a good guy, transforms himself in a sick and way better killer than his father and all killers of the show.

    He’s athletic, got a little “sense of reason” (he loved his sister), and at same time so fkng crazy (killing his mother), capable of hiding in the best way his lies, young (he can learn more) and knows about dexter truth.

    He can be the worst enemy to Dexter

  15. I’m SO glad to have found someone (now an entire entourage via comments) that’s knowledgeable about the books. I haven’t had the inkling to watch them, but – the first four seasons of DEXTER truly grabbed me. Eating DVD episodes back to back, in less than a month, my wife and I truly became fans of a program that literally had NO FILLER EPISODES. The last two seasons however have changed paradigm, unfortunately.

    I’d like to contact you about getting you on to chat both about the books and the direction (or lack thereof?) of this season on our DEXTER Podcast. Have you got time during the evening during the week to join our discussion to include with our audience?

    Let us know and thanks for a truly great and insightful article that we’re sharing with everyone this week.

    Dexter – Season 6 – Ep. 9 Review:

  16. I may be the only person (perhaps in the world) sticking up for the books over the show…but I simply like the attitude of the books. Sure it’s more shallow and the stuff about Moloch was plain weird, but the books just seemed to have this fun, happy-go-lucky attitude that I found so funny. Not to mention a few good differences – Dexter’s brother hanging around, Doakes becoming a walking potato, etc.

    The TV series are great too, but sometimes they get a bit whiny with the self-examinations and hang-wringing. I also thought the idea is that Dexter tortures his playmates before killing them? In the show he seems to just stab them outright.

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