The Season Of Dexter With The Highest Body Count

Oh, Dexter. That lovable scamp. The Showtime crime drama series that housed the disturbed forensic analyst (played by Michael C. Hall) racked up a sky-high body count over its eight-season run, and even more in its 2021 limited revival series "Dexter: New Blood." Though the first season of the "Dexter" series was based on Jeff Lindsay's "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" novels, the protagonist — a blood spatter technician with the Miami Metro Police Department, moonlighting as a vigilante killer — goes beyond the works of his creator, tallying over 140 kills from 2006-2013.

But which season had the most Dexter-responsible deaths of them all? Finding the answer can get a bit nebulous, since Dexter's collection of blood slides (his trophies from each kill) indicate that the majority of his murders occur offscreen. Plus, several early deaths happen onscreen but with no blood sample taken for the slides, as shown in the timeline-confused animated prequel webseries "Dexter: Early Cuts." 

To streamline the process, we'll hack those limbs off and discount both "Early Cuts" and "New Blood," sticking with the original Showtime series. Distilling the process some more, we'll also only count real deal Holyfield kills, and not just the ones Dexter fantasized about dispatching like the time he entertained the thought of stabbing his fellow forensic specialist Vince Masuka in the throat with a pen (in the season 7 episode "Buck the System"). As a man whose sociopathic tendencies emerged early in his life, Dexter also displayed the usual red flags, and killed animals on occasion to satiate his "dark passenger" — those will be kept from the scoreboard, as well

Spoilers follow for season 6 of "Dexter."

A season of highs and lows

Proper kills tallied, the season with the highest body count is season 6, with 11 direct kills at the hands of Dexter Morgan.

The sixth season of "Dexter," despite the high body count, is one of the lower-ranked entries in the series (the next season would earn the show's highest ratings). Still hewing to the honor code of his adoptive father Harry (James Remar) and Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), Dexter sets out to tackle Miami's villain du jour, the Bible-thumping Doomsday Killer(s), who leave gruesome tableaus alluding to the apocalypse in each crime scene. At one point, Doomsday followers Beth and Steve Dorsey are prompted to break the Sixth Commandment, confirming reservations for two in ye olde blood slide box.

Bodies, bodies, bodies

Now for the kills.

Steve takes a knife to the chest while Beth chokes on the effects of her own gas bomb, which was meant for the Miami Metro squad. Two patient-killing paramedics get a fatal jolt from their defibrillators, while a wife-slaying former classmate of Dexter's gets a high-five in the head with a hammer. Gang leader Julio Benes has a bad habit of roughing up small business owners and making them disappear, until Dex escorts him to one of his kill rooms and makes him disappear. One of Julio's soldiers, battling addiction, kills an innocent friend of Dexter's, earning him a waterlogged drowning death. A pot grower gets impaled by pitchfork in the one self-defense kill of the season, while a migrant smuggler becomes the catch of the day with a boat hook to the gut. The most gentle death is reserved for the Tooth Fairy Killer, now an elderly man who made the mistake of coming out of retirement and killing a sex worker on Dexter's watch — he shuffles off his mortal coil via smothering.

It's a lot of death for one show, but audiences stay satisfied knowing that these killers got the red carpet treatment compared to their victims.