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Father Knows Best is the ninth of twelve episodes in Season One of the Showtime series DEXTER and the ninth overall episode of the series. It first aired 26 November 2006.

Dexter is joined by Rita, Debra, and Rudy for a weekend away when he learns that his biological father, whom he was told died thirty years ago, has just recently passed away and left him everything he owned, including his house. Doakes' gun gets him into hot water. Paul displays his real self.


Dexter is taking a shower at Rita’s house, savoring the private time to think. It’s been harder for him to come by now that he’s in a “real relationship.” When Rita joins him, Dexter pretends that he doesn’t mind, but he quickly steps out and grabs a towel. Urgently needing a toilet, Cody knocks on the door and Dexter unlocks it. The boy asks Dexter how he got the “ugly scar” on his left side. He’s delighted when Dexter says it’s from a sword fight that he won. Astor also enters the bathroom to brush her teeth and Dexter hastily exits the crowded room.

While driving, Angel complains to Sgt. Doakes that his wife wants a divorce. Doakes reminds Angel that he cheated on her and Angel retorts that it was only “one cheat.”

As they pass over a small bridge, Doakes spots a man carrying a bag of groceries. He yells at Angel to stop the car, jumps out, and calls out to the man. The man drops his grocery bag and runs off under the bridge with Doakes in hot pursuit. As Angel follows them on foot, he hears two gunshots. He then finds the man lying dead under the bridge with a pistol next to his hand.

The homicide team arrives on scene, and Lt. LaGuerta is told by Angel that the suspect's name is Jacques Bayard, according to his driver's license. Doakes claims that he saw a gun in the suspect's waistband and, when he went to question him, Bayard took off running. Doakes says that Bayard took a shot at him so he returned fire, pointing to a location. Angel only admits to seeing Bayard bolt and then turning the car around. Dexter,  however, disputes Doakes’ version of events due to blood spatter patterns. This infuriates Doakes and he tells LaGuerta that Dexter is a “fucking creep job.”

Back at work, Debra pressures Dexter to meet her new boyfriend. She says Rudy is “different” than her previous boyfriends. He makes her feel safe and she’s falling for him. Dexter expresses skepticism.

A messenger arrives with a registered letter for Dexter. Before he can read it, Debra grabs it and opens it. Just then, Angel pulls Dexter aside and asks about the Bayard shooting report. Dexter maintains that Doakes' version doesn’t add up, and hands the file to Angel.

Dexter walks over to Debra and tells her that it's a federal offence to read someone else's mail. Debra reads the letter anyway and says, "We regret to inform you of the death of your father. Dad died ten years ago." Dexter takes the letter, reads it, and says, "This isn't about Harry. Joseph Driscoll of Dade City, Florida, names his son Dexter Morgan of Miami - as his executor. It's a will." After some conversation where Debra reminds Dexter that she is his only next-of-kin, Dexter adds, "Oh, and I inherited a house."

I know the truth, Dexter thought, because Harry always told me the truth. He had to. He was teaching me principles and code. He knew what I would become without it. So Joseph Driscoll of Dade City must have been mistaken.

(Flashback) Harry Morgan presents young Dexter with a new birth certificate that declares him a Morgan. Dexter, confused, says he thought he was already a Morgan. Harry smiles and assures him that he was always a Morgan to them, but now it's finally official. Young Debra asks what happened to Dexter's real parents and Harry only says they died in a tragic accident.

Returning to the present time, Rita asks Dexter about Joe Driscoll. He says he found no police records, no birth records, no driver's license -- just the deed to the house and a mention in the local paper about his bowling team. Dexter also spoke to the probate lawyer who drafted the will. Apparently, Driscoll was an insurance adjuster of sound mind, with no doubts that Dexter was his son. Rita insists on going with Dexter to Dade City for support.

Rudy has stayed the night at Debra’s apartment. As they lie in bed, she mentions that Dexter is leaving for the weekend because “some dead guy” who claimed to be Dexter’s bio-dad left him a house in Dade City. They cuddle as he subtly persuades her to join Dexter because he needs her help.

Paul shows up at Rita’s house, furious that he will miss his scheduled visit with the kids because she’s leaving town. Rita says the kids are settled at Colleen’s and he can see them when she returns. She states that a death in the family trumps the circus, and he retorts that Dexter is not her family.

After several hours of driving and eating fast food, Dexter and Rita arrive in Dade City. Before entering Driscoll’s house, Dexter meets an elderly neighbor, Irma Holt. She asks if they are her new neighbors and says that Driscoll was only 60, too young for a heart attack.

Upon entering the house, Dexter notices bowling trophies and a photo of Driscoll’s bowling team. There's no family or kids' photos. Dexter wants to sell the house since he doesn’t want to live in Dade City, so Rita says they should pack it up. Dexter also needs to straighten things out at the morgue.

Back in Miami, Angel gives Doakes his reasons why he doubts his version of the Bayard shooting. Angel swears that he heard Doakes' 9-millimeter go off before Bayard’s .38. An angry Doakes insists that he’s an honest cop.

Debra surprises Dexter by showing up at Driscoll’s house with her new boyfriend.  She says it’s her duty to help him and introduces Rudy who hugs Dexter and says he’s waited a long time to meet him. It’s agreed that Debra and Rudy will sleep on the sofa at Driscoll’s house instead of staying at a motel.

The next morning, Dexter gets up early but finds Rudy already awake in the kitchen. Rudy offers to accompany Dexter to the morgue but Dexter says it’s “private.”'

At the morgue, Dexter meets with Dr. Pittman who says he gave Driscoll a physical once a year and he had no history of heart disease. Driscoll’s body was about to be sent to a crematorium but they wanted his son to have a chance to pay his last respects. When Dexter denies being his son, Dr. Pittman says, “Estrangement in a family is a shame, but death is the great unifier.”

Dexter leans down and remarks on a tattoo covering Driscoll’s right elbow and arm. Dr. Pittman tells Dexter that he picked it up in Vietnam However, Dexter disputes that, describing it as an old prison tattoo done with a pen and ballpoint ink. This annoys Dr. Pittman, who insists that Driscoll was not an ex-convict, but was a good man, a quiet man, and a damn good bowler.

Changing the subject, Dexter asks how he determined Driscoll died of cardiac arrest, claiming it’s professional curiosity because he works in forensics down in Miami. Dr. Pittman explains that microaneurysms were found in the retinas which are common with seizures during a heart attack. Dexter suggests that it’s also a sign of diabetic retinopathy.” Defensively, Dr. Pitman says that he may be a small-town doctor, but he knows a heart attack when he sees one.

Dexter looks down at the tattoo again and suddenly hears the song, "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" He flashes back to when he was a young boy, and sees a man’s arm with the same webbed tattoo. The music in his head fades and Dexter raises his hands to his face in feigned sorrow. He asks if he can have a minute alone with his dad and Driscoll goes off to his office.

After Dr. Pittman leaves the room, Dexter secretly takes a sample of Driscoll’s blood to see if their DNA matches. Then Dexter calls Masuka to inform him that he’s sending two samples of blood for which he needs a DNA comparison and a tox screen. Musaka tells Dexter that if this is his idea of a romantic weekend, he’s gonna be a bachelor for a very long time.

(Flashback) Young Dexter is in the hospital after he fell on a wrought-iron post while climbing a fence to retrieve Debra’s ball. He’s attached to an I.V. and his blood pressure is dropping. The doctor says that Dexter needs surgery to repair internal bleeding, however, he has a rare blood type. Doris insists that Harry do something quick or Dexter could die.

At Miami Metro, Angel is being questioned by Sergeant McKay about the Bayard Shooting. McKay repeatedly asks an uncomfortable Angel which gun he heard go off first, and mentions that Bayard was a law-abiding citizen.

That night, while going through papers, Dexter learns that Driscoll purchased the house outright with cash in 1976. He can’t find any records before then, or any childhood photos. Debra questions why Driscoll’s life seemed to start when he was thirty. Dexter speculates that Driscoll spent some time in prison, mixed with some bad people, and had to hide from them. Rita adds that drugs were involved and presents a box of Narcotics Anonymous chips. Apparently, he had been clean for thirty years,

Rudy finds nothing post-1980 in Driscoll’s rock and roll music collection and plays the record “Slow Ride” by Foghat. He and Debra begin to dance and they encourage Rita and Dexter to join them, but Dexter has no interest in dancing. Rita takes a phone call from Paul and they argue about his visitation rights.

While Dexter is washing dishes, Rudy talks with him and suggests that Driscoll is Dexter’s father and Harry lied about it. However, Dexter isn’t ready to accept this.

(Flashback) Harry promises young Dexter that everything will be fine and he’ll be as good as new. He asks, “Hey, would I lie to you?”

It’s after dark in Miami, and Angel is again being interviewed by Sergeant McKay. This time it’s in a parked car and he’s being recorded. Torn on what to do, Angel decides to be honest and he admits that Doakes shot first.

Dexter takes some rubbish out to dump in a neighbor’s trash can. His cell phone is in the house and when it rings, Debra answers with "Morgan here." Masuka is on the other end, sucking on a lollipop. Surprised to hear her voice, he replies, "Wait! Did I call the hot Morgan by mistake? Freudian. My subconscious has been exposed." Debra orders him to zip it up and tell her what’s going on. She thinks he’s called about the Doakes shooting, but it’s in regard to the DNA test.

Debra, distraught, confronts Dexter about Masuka’s call. She asks why he didn't trust Harry, who had said his biological father died years earlier. Overcome with emotion, Debra informs Dexter that the DNA is a match and Joe Driscoll is his bio dad. Dexter finds this “interesting.” Debra, though, is unable to accept that her father didn’t tell the truth. Dexter is told that the only drug in Driscoll’s system was a sedative. He wonders if someone slipped him the sedative so he wouldn't struggle when he was injected with diabetic insulin, which can cause cardiac arrest.

Debra states that Driscoll is “obviously bad fucking news” which is why Harry didn't want Dexter to know about him. She just wants to finish packing up so they can leave as quickly as possible. To calm her down, Dexter agrees with her, though he still needs to know if Driscoll was murdered.

Dexter walks across the street to question Irma Holt. He asks if she noticed any visitors at Driscoll’s last week, such as a gardener, delivery person, or repairman. She remembers a cable repairman, whom she describes as polite, of average height with dark hair. She’s disappointed that he couldn’t fix her TV antenna.

LaGuerta talks with Doakes about Jacques Bayard, the Haitian war criminal that he shot. Doakes' history of involvement in Black-Ops is touched upon. When she assures Doakes that it will soon be over, he says, “I know it will.”

During the night, Dexter breaks into the morgue through a window to examine Driscoll’s body for a needle mark. However, he only finds a box of cremation ashes which he steals. As he’s leaving, the security guard spots him and gives chase. Dexter outruns him and escapes through the window.

As Dexter is sprinting down the street, Rudy shows up and tells him to get in his car. Dexter admits that he can’t prove Driscoll was injected with anything because he was cremated. Rudy convinces Dexter to scatter the ashes of Driscoll at his favorite bowling alley, a fitting place given that he was such an avid bowler. As they stand together at the site, Dexter pours the ashes onto the ground.

When Dexter returns to Driscoll’s house, Rita is half asleep. She directs him to some papers that she found in the closet. As Dexter looks through a shoebox of documents, he discovers a thank you card that he drew when he was young.

(Flashback) Young Dexter is recovering in the hospital after surgery. He proudly shows Harry a thank you card that he's making for the man who donated blood for him. It has a crayon drawing of a syringe and a smiling blood droplet. At first, Harry tells Dexter that the man is gone and he'll never see him again. However, noting Dexter’s disappointment, he promises to make sure the man will receive it. Dexter happily resumes coloring the card.

Angel bursts in LaGuerta’s office, furious that she dropped Doakes’ case. She explains that Internal Affairs dropped it after they got a call from an agency in Washington. She guesses that it was military because it involved sensitive foreign-relations issues. Angel is flabbergasted that the case “disappeared” after he “ratted” out Doakes.  

As Angel is leaving LaGuerta’s office, Officer Benson deliberately bumps into him and says, “Squeak, squeak.” Doakes notices this and orders Benson to apologize to Ang

Having cleaned Driscoll’s house, the four are ready to return to Miami. Rudy tells Dexter that these circumstances were the best way to get to know him and they shake hands. Debra tells Dexter that he won’t get much when he sells the house and hugs him.

As Rudy is getting into his car, Irma Holt notices him and frantically calls out “cable repairman” but he quickly drives off. She also tries to get Dexter’s attention, but he only waves at her as he leaves.

Paul, drunk and angry. arrives at Rita’s house in the middle of the night. Rita, concerned for her children, tries to pacify him. She leads Paul to the bedroom where he becomes violent and threatens to rape her. When he’s distracted, she takes a baseball bat from under the bed and knocks him out. She then grabs the kids and hurries out of the house, with Paul left bleeding on the floor.

In his apartment, Dexter plays one of Driscoll’s old records and reviews the thank you card he created. He wonders why Harry lied to him.

The episode ends ominously with Rudy, dressed as a cable repairman, being let into Irma Holt’s house.


  • "Blood never lies." - Dexter to Angel Batista
  • How did a death turn into a couples' weekend? - Dexter (to himself)
  • It was Harry who always had the answers. He knew who was good, bad, safe, and dangerous. I built my life on Harry's code. I lived by it. But Harry lied. Why would he do that? What else don't I know? My concrete foundation is turning to shifting sand. Maybe Rudy was right. You never can truly know anyone. - Dexter (to himself)

Related Pages


  • During the entire length of the bridge scene, which involves crossing more than half the length of the bridge, stopping, doing a three point turn, driving back, stopping and then getting out of the car - not one other vehicle is seen on the bridge. Not very likely given the amount of traffic in Miami.
  • In the closing scenes, Dexter puts a Credence Clearwater Revival record on the turntable - presumably one of Driscoll's records, and then "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" starts to play in the background.


  • Continuity: When Dexter first leans in to view the body of his bio-father at the morgue, the clock behind reads 4:11. The camera cuts back to the face and glides back up to Dexter's with the clock now reading 4:17. A few shots later, the clock is seen as 4:01.
  • Continuity: Dexter narrates that he wakes up earlier than most people. He meets Rudy in the kitchen and announces that he is going to the morgue. The clock in the morgue first reads 4:11. This time, although early is not possible because the sun was already out in the scene in the kitchen with Rudy.
  • Factual errors: While in Dexter's biological father's house, Rudy puts on the album "Fire and Water" by the band Free, as seen by the album cover as well as the record label. However, the song heard is Foghat's "Slow Ride." Same mistake is repeated later when Dexter puts on the same record in his apartment, this time Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" is heard instead.
  • Continuity: When Dexter is receiving the notification in the office, an extra in a black shirt is standing at a counter in the background. In the next shot, he is walking to the counter where he just was.
  • Continuity: When Dexter is putting the trash in front of a neighbor's house, he goes to put the lid on the trash can, but in the next shot the lid is missing entirely. It's not in his hand, nor is it on the can.
  • Errors in geography: Dexter states that his biological father lived "five hours up I-95." However, Dade City is located in Pasco County, on the western side of Florida, and would actually be five hours up Interstate 75, which also runs out of Miami, but actually travels up the western side of the state where Dade City would be located.
  • Factual errors: The medical personnel in Dexter's childhood flashback reveal that his blood type is AB-. He goes on to state that "it's hard to come by, and our supply was low." Although AB negative blood is rare (approximately 1% of U.S. population), AB negative blood type patients are in fact able to receive blood from all negative blood types: A-, B-, and O-.


The Episodes of Dexter