It involves a series of murders of known killers by an unknown killer dubbed The Bay Harbor Butcher.
History of the Killer
When Dexter Morgan was three-years-old, he witnessed his mother being chainsawed to death inside a shipping container, referred to as the Shipping Yard Massacre. Two days later, he was found sitting in blood and rescued by a homicide detective, Harry Morgan.
From an early age, Dexter showed signs of psychopathic tendencies (killing and dismembering animals). His adoptive father, Harry, (a homicide detective) realized that Dexter was a potential serial killer.
After attempts to curb Dexter's behavior failed, Harry concluded that Dexter's need to kill must be focused. Making the best out of a bad situation, Harry trained Dexter as a vigilante killer (with guidance from Dr. Evelyn Vogel) to solely hunt other murderers (arguably making society safer). To avoid arrest, Dexter learned to follow a set of guidelines - The Code of Harry.
After Harry died, Dexter bought a fishing boat and began to bury his victims at sea. For easier disposal, Dexter generally dismembered his victims, packed the body parts into several trash bags, and dropped them off his boat into deep water. During Season Two, scuba divers discovered some of the body bags, and they were labeled the Bay Harbor Butcher 18.
Because The Bay Harbor Butcher seemingly only killed other killers, much of the public expressed support for the unknown figure (including Rita's own mother, who believed that he should be left alone). This led to the creation of The Dark Defender, a comic book hero concept based on The Bay Harbor Butcher.
By the end of the series, Dexter had killed at least 135 people.
“Just as the worst heat wave in years hits Miami, the heat is also on me. It's Week Three of the Bay Harbor Butcher Investigation, and super-duper Special Agent Lundy has yet to throw up his hands and say, ‘Wow! This guy's good. I give up.’ ” ~Dexter ("See-Through")Scuba divers discovered many trash bags containing body parts, an expedition team retrieved them, and they were laid out in an air-conditioned field morgue. Due to the location where the bodies were found and how they were cut up, the media dubbed the unknown killer 'The Bay Harbor Butcher' -- a moniker that Dexter hated.
When a renowned serial-killer-hunter, FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy, arrived in Miami to help with the investigation, Dexter took steps to deflect suspicions away from himself. These actions included deleting video footage from his marina; moving his boat to a different location; changing his dumping site to the powerful Gulf Stream; sending an anonymous, confusing manifesto to the press; sabotaging the air conditioning in the field morgue; and planting evidence to frame Sergeant James Doakes.
After the FBI found Dexter's Blood Slide Box that James Doakes had stolen, Dexter was ordered to analyze its 46 slides. He matched 18 of the blood slides to the 18 recovered bodies. The other 28 slides were matched to missing persons. Additional events seemed to confirm that Doakes was The Butcher and the case was closed.
- Brian Moser - Initially, he was suspected of being the Butcher based on the fact that Brian's victims were dismembered. Eventually, he was ruled out because Brian's M.O. and method of dismemberment didn't match the Butcher. Also, Brian's victims were mostly female, while the Butcher's victims were mostly male.
- Ken Olson - He was suspected of being the Butcher but, because Olson's M.O. was sloppy, he was cleared for the Butcher murders and managed to evade arrest for his actual murders. Later, Olson was killed and dismembered by Dexter (the real Butcher) to discourage any more vigilante attacks.
- James Doakes - He was a Sergeant in the Miami Metro Homicide division. Doakes had a weird feeling that Dexter was hiding something and he began to follow him. When Doakes hid Dexter's blood slides in his car, he unintentionally set himself up as the killer. After Doakes died in a blaze, his body and the dismembered body of a criminal were found near each other. The police viewed this as conclusive evidence that Doakes was the Bay Harbor Butcher. In reality, Dexter had killed the criminal using his own M.O. and left his corpse and Doakes in the cabin so that the police would think that Doakes was guilty of the murder.
- Dexter Morgan (the true Butcher) - In the early stages of the investigation, Frank Lundy suspected him. However, he later came to believe that Doakes was the Butcher. Lundy never found out that Dexter was the true killer.
Detectives on Case
- FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy - Worked on the case from the beginning of the case, coordinating the Miami Metro officers and his fellow FBI agents.
- Officer Debra Morgan - Assigned to the Task Force from the beginning of the case, using her experience with Brian Moser to help determine this killer's motives.
- Detective Angel Batista - Assigned to the Task Force from the beginning of the case. Acted as the supervisor of the Miami Metro officers part of the Task Force.
- Lieutenant Esmée Pascal - Initially ran the Miami Metro personnel until she was fired from her position.
- Captain Thomas "Tom" Matthews - Appeared in the beginning of the case to help set up Lundy's Task Force and use the case to bolster his campaign for Deputy Chief.
- Deputy Director Max Adams - Took over the investigation from Lundy after he let James Doakes leave during questioning when he was a potential suspect.
- Forensics Specialist Vince Masuka - He was brought in to cover the bodies since there was no blood.
- Forensic Blood Spatter Analyst Dexter Morgan - Temporarily assigned to collect bone marrow samples. Later, he worked the Train Yard Crime Scene after Lundy gets disturbed by Masuka's off-color-remarks.
- Sergeant-Detective James Doakes - Investigated Dexter himself, but was not part of the task force.
- Detective - Lieutenant - Captain Maria LaGuerta - Unofficially started investigating when Doakes was named the prime suspect. She tried to establish Doakes' innocence by providing an alibi for one of the murders, but her attempt was rendered moot when Doakes died.
Bay Harbor Butcher 18
They are 20 named victims who have their body parts displayed, instead of 18 victims.
- Anthony Rodrigo
- Berry Cooper
- Carlos Gutierrez
- Chad Carpenter
- Dylan Maddock
- George Hoss
- Herbert Washington
- Jacob Wilson
- Jeff Linder
- Jerry Voltic
- Joseph Cepeda
- Kevin Mott
- Marcus White
- Olman Estavez
- Oscar Sota
- Renzo Sandoval
- Rick Jensen
- Robert Thatcher
- Sean Dibberman
- Shannon Reynolds
- Smith (mentioned by Lundy in "Morning Comes")
- Orozco (mentioned by Lundy in "Morning Comes")
- John Henry - Attacked, but not killed. Initially suspected of being an attempted victim of The Butcher, but further investigation revealed that it was the work of a copycat killer named Ken Olson.
- Ken Olson - Decapitated by the real Bay Harbor Butcher. His body parts were left in Olson's planned kill site (Railroad Car) as a warning that The Butcher wouldn't tolerate copycats.
Blood Slide Victims
Of the 46 blood slides in the first box, 18 of them matched the bodies found. The other 28 blood slides (listed below) were matched to missing murderers and presumed dead
- Alex Timmons
- Gene Marshall
- Cindy Landon
- The Lindquists
- Luke Wellens
- Andy Jorgen
- Rachel Rhodes
- Rick Cross
- Peter Matherson
- Alan Elson
- Henry Vortman
- Larry Costes
- Marty Terison
- Buck Forester
- Alan Matherson
- Thomas Hillstat
- Larry Mueller
- Leandro Noriega
- Mike Donovan
- Jamie Jaworski
- Matt Chambers
- Jorge Castillo
- Emmett Meridian
- Little Chino
- Roger Hicks
- Walter Munro
- One of the bodies
- Jose Garza & James Doakes - Police found their bodies after the Cabin in the Everglades exploded. It was officially ruled that Doakes had first killed Garza and then killed himself to avoid being arrested. In reality, Dexter had murdered Garza as part of his plan to frame Doakes. Afterward, Lila found the cabin by using Dexter's GPS tracker. In desperation, Doakes told her that Dexter was The Bay Harbor Butcher, thinking she would release him. However, in order to protect Dexter, Lila turned on the gas and flame, which caused the cabin to explode, killing Doakes. It was ruled that Doakes committed suicide.
Closure of Case
Dexter Morgan successfully framed Doakes as The Bay Harbor Butcher and the case was officially closed.
Fallout from Case
James Doakes' reputation as an officer of the law was ruined when he was labeled the Bay Harbor Butcher. Several years later, Captain Maria LaGuerta found a blood slide at Travis Marshall's crime scene and she tried to reopen the case. However, no one believed Maria when she brought forward her suspicions that Dexter was the true Bay Harbor Butcher. Later, Maria was shot and killed by Debra Morgan to protect Dexter, but her death caused Debra severe emotional distress for months.