Why is the Deb character in Dexter so bad?

Deb in Dexter was considered a bad character and many believe that she was wronged by the writers, as she faced backlash similarly to Breaking Bad’s Skyler White.

Dexter, a Showtime series, concluded its eight-season run in 2013. But in 2021, the channel revived the series with the spin-off, Dexter: New Blood. The spin-off was reportedly a 10-part season aimed at righting some of the wrongs in the initial season finale.

Specifically, it is believed that the season was meant to right the wrongs done to Jennifer Carpenter’s character, Debra “Deb” Morgan.

By the end of the first series run, her character was considered bad due to how drastic her change was from moral compass to killer.

This can be attributed to the writers and the character’s gender, and it is similar to the backlash that Breaking Bad’s Skyler White experienced.

Did Dexter end or was it cancelled?

Dexter ended in 2013 after an eight-season run on Showtime since premiering in 2006 with 96 episodes. During its run, the series was one of the channel’s flagship series.

But the series concluded organically, not cancelled, as it has been since confirmed that Dexter was meant to die in the initial ending.

One of the stipulations that season eight showrunner, Scott Buck gave Showtime was that Dexter cannot die. The reasoning for this being that the channel was interested in creating spin-offs in the future, which require the character to be alive.

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Why is the Deb character in Dexter so bad?

Dexter’s Debra “Deb” Morgan was the title character, Dexter Morgan’s adoptive sister and she was initially introduced as a detective in the homicide department and later became a lieutenant.

As a character, Deb was a moral compass for her analyst-by-day and serial-killer-by-night adoptive brother. Hence, she was his best friend and confidant.

The character was written in stark contrast to her cool, calculating, and unemotional brother as she was loud and impulsive with a crass tongue. For most of the series first six seasons, this fact was imbued in Deb’s character development arc.

But between season seven and eight, the writers seemingly forgot about this detail, and this is regarded as part of the unsatisfactory season eight conclusion.

In season seven, Deb discovered that she has more than just brother-sister feelings for Dexter. Moreover, when she discovered that he was a serial killer, she tried to protect him by any means possible.

This includes the bizarre decision she made to kill Maria LaGuerta to protect Dexter’s secret. In season eight, after falling into a coma, she died at the hands of Dexter, who took her off life support and dumped her body in the ocean.

Deb faces backlash from fans

Despite the writers of Dexter being implicit in their wrongdoing in terms of Deb’s character development arc in the last seasons, fans were already polarised about the character.

This is as her potty mouth and her affinity to have brief relationships with new employees in the Miami Metro were the reasons that the character was annoying.

On the surface, there is irony in this backlash, as it is the same reason that fans of the character believed she was a unique female character.

Moreover, the backlash highlighted the prevalence of misogyny when it comes to strong, female characters by viewing audiences.

Comparing Skyler White and Deb Morgan’s backlash as characters

Another female lead character that was hated more than their antihero protagonist counterpart is Breaking Bad’s Skyler White played by Anna Gunn, who was Walter White’s wife and the mother of his children.

During the series run, Gunn experienced the most backlash as her character was criticised for being selfish and only interested in pawning their possessions on eBay. This is despite Walter’s continued spiral to ruthlessness.

Gunn reflected on those times by stating, “It was a combination of sexism, ideas about gender roles, and then honestly, it was the brilliance of the construct of the show.”

A similar notion can be applied to Deb’s characterisation and backlash, as a character like Vince Masuka did not get as much backlash for how overly sexual he was in his speech and jokes.

Dexter: New Blood as a redemptive season for Deb

Dexter: New Blood, which was a revival season for the original series, endeavoured to right the wrongs of season seven and eight of the original Dexter, which premiered in 2021.

The series is believed to specifically endeavour to right the wrongs with regard to Deb’s character development arc. Therefore, her character returned as Dexter’s voice of reason, taking over the role that Harry had in the original series.

This honours the role that Deb played in Dexter’s life, which was seemingly forgotten in Dexter’s seventh and eighth season.

Watch Dexter all seasons on Amazon Prime Video