Showtime has produced a lot of shows over the years on their premium network, but Dexter was one of their most popular. Several shows delve into the concept of serial killers, but Dexter was unique, as Michael C. Hall’s character only killed people who "deserved" to die.
The show won two Golden Globes during its run on Showtime, but the final season saw a big dip in quality compared to the rest of the series. The show still has a high average score of 8.7 on IMDb, but some of the episodes have a much lower score than what you might expect. Here are IMDb's picks for the greatest Dexter episodes of all, alongside their picks for the worst! Watch out for major spoilers if you aren't up to speed with the series.
10 Best: "Hungry Man" - 9.4
The ninth episode of Season 4 is one of the best-rated episodes of Dexter, coming in at a 9.4 out of 10. This episode sees a lot of character development on Arthur Mitchell (the Trinity Killer)'s part, as Dexter goes to have Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Dexter quickly realizes that Arthur is manipulative to his family and even beats them to keep them in line.
The awkward relationship between Rita and her neighbor Elliot also grows as he kisses Rita, and things get even more complicated for Quinn and his relationship with Christine Hill. By the end of the episode, it is revealed that Christine is actually the daughter of the Trinity Killer.
9 Worst: "Dress Code" - 7.6
Among the worst episodes of the series is the seventh episode of Season 8. The episode, titled “Dress Code,” mostly revolves around Hannah’s new life, while also continuing to show Debra’s struggle with Jacob Elway. When Dexter re-discovers Hannah, she is living a new life under the name Maggie and is planning on marrying a rich man named Miles.
Hannah was only in the relationship for his money, and eventually decides to kill Miles after he gets progressively more controlling and threatens to kill her. Dexter helps her dump the body, but soon after, he finds out that Cassie has been killed at his apartment complex.
8 Best: "Hello, Dexter Morgan" - 9.5
Season 4 of Dexter was well-received, partly because of John Lithgow’s portrayal of a serial killer. In “Hello, Dexter Morgan,” things start to get intense between Arthur and Dexter, as the latter realizes that the Trinity Killer is hunting down people named Kyle Butler. Dexter tries to frame another man for the Trinity Killer’s murders so that he can kill Arthur himself, but that becomes harder than he expected since Arthur is hunting him.
The police also have his daughter Christine in custody, who ends up committing suicide after she realizes that Arthur wants nothing to do with her. The episode ends with Arthur walking into Miami Metro and finding Dexter in his office before saying, “hello, Dexter Morgan.”
7 Worst: "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" - 7.4
“Make Your Own Kind of Music” continues Hannah’s storyline, with Dexter trying to keep her away from the police. Dexter even goes as far as asking Debra if Hannah can stay with her for a few days, which Deb begrudgingly agrees to. Deb is also offered her job back at Miami PD, which she is hesitant to take back.
A man named Oliver Saxon is revealed to be Evelyn Vogel’s son Daniel, who they believe killed Cassie. Dexter goes on a hunt for Daniel, but Daniel slashes his tire and escapes.
6 Best: "Are You…?" - 9.5
In the Season 6 finale, Debra witnesses Dexter killing Travis Marshall (The Doomsday Killer). The Season 7 opener “Are You...?” picks up this storyline, with Dexter having to explain why he killed Travis. He convinces his sister to help him burn down the church and pose the scene as a suicide.
As the episode progresses, Deb gets the suspicion that Travis wasn’t the first person Dexter has killed and she begins to re-examine the Ice Truck Killer case. Viktor Baskov kills detective Mike Anderson this episode, but Dexter kills him with a fire extinguisher soon after. By the end of the episode, Deb asks her brother if he is a serial killer and Dexter finally tells her the truth.
5 Worst: "Monkey In A Box" - 7.2
Things quickly started to go downhill as the final season of Dexter started to come to a close. The penultimate episode, titled “Monkey in a Box,” shows Dexter deciding whether he should kill Oliver Saxon or just leave the United States. Saxon and Dexter make a truce to forget each other, but Dexter still plans to kill him.
Saxon returns to Dexter’s apartment and Dexter injects him with M99. When Dexter is about to kill Saxon, he realizes that he doesn’t feel the need to kill any longer and wants to just go live his life with Hannah and Harrison. Deb then arrests Saxon, but once he is taken to the hospital, he escapes and shoots Deb on his way out.
4 Best: "Born Free" - 9.6
One of the best episodes of Dexter is the Season 1 finale. In this episode, the police find out that Rudy is the Ice Truck Killer and that he has kidnapped Deb. Dexter visits the shipping yard where Harry had found him and has a flashback to his mother being killed.
Dexter thinks that Rudy might be at his mother’s house, but when Dexter arrives, he realizes that Rudy is actually his brother Brian. Brian wants Dexter to kill Debra so that they can join forces together, but Dexter refuses and kills his biological brother instead.
3 Worst: "Goodbye Miami" - 6.9
The tenth episode of Season 8 is appropriately titled “Goodbye Miami,” as Dexter plans to move to Argentina with Hannah and Harrison. Things get complicated for Dexter as he continues to track down Saxon, and for Quinn as he and Jamie break up.
Quinn and Debra finally confess their feelings for each other in this episode, after Quinn tells her that their kiss was part of the reason why he broke it off with Jamie. Near the end of the episode, Dexter goes to Vogel’s house and sees Saxon inside the house with a knife to Vogel’s throat. She dies while Dexter cradles her in his arms.
2 Best: "The Getaway" - 9.8
The best-rated episode of Dexter is the Season 4 finale titled “The Getaway,” which comes in at a near-perfect score of 9.8. Dexter is finally able to incapacitate Trinity this episode, but Dexter is arrested soon after for hitting a mirror off of a person’s car. When Dexter is released from prison and goes back to Trinity, Trinity is gone and tries to return home to collect his valuables to leave Miami.
Debra also finds out in this episode that Dexter was related to the Ice Truck Killer, which worries Dexter, since she is getting closer to the truth about him being a serial killer. Dexter realizes things in his life have to change after he kills Trinity, because he doesn't want to be a monster like Mitchell. The episode ends with Dexter returning home to find Rita dead in a bathtub and Harrison sitting in a pool of her blood.
1 Worst: "Remember The Monsters?" - 4.6
The worst-rated episode of Dexter is the Season 8 finale titled “Remember The Monsters?” It comes in at a measly 4.6 out of 10. After Dexter finds out about his sister’s wound, he goes back to Miami Central Hospital to see her. Oliver Saxon finds out the Deb didn’t actually die from his gunshot and returns to finish the job. Angel Batista intercepts Saxon and arrests him, but Dexter doesn’t let him off that easy and stabs him in the carotid artery.
Dexter then turns off Deb’s life support as he knows she isn’t going to survive, taking her onto The Slice of Life to dispose of her body. Dexter then drives into the hurricane and is reported to be dead. At the end of the episode, Dexter is shown to be alive and living in a cabin as a lumberjack, which, needless to say, isn’t the ending people were expecting or hoping for.