Surprise, Motherfucker![1] is the last of twelve episodes in Season Seven of DEXTER, and the eighty-fourth overall episode of the series. Directed by Steve Shill, and written by Scott Buck and Tim Schlattmann, it premiered 16 December 2012. The estimated number of viewers for the episode during its original airing was 2.75 million.[2]

LaGuerta is on the verge of exposing Dexter and his killer ways, while he does his best to cover for himself and Debra, and maintain the life he's created.


Dexter visits Hannah in jail, after giving Deb the evidence that incriminated Hannah. Hannah confesses that she poisoned Deb because she was trying to keep them apart. She promises to keep Dexter's secret and is angry that he did not do the same for her. Hannah asks Dexter to get rid of the evidence so they can run away together, but Dexter refuses. The two kiss and Hannah bites Dexter. After he leaves, Hannah calls Arlene, desperate to get out of jail, and begs for her help.

At his apartment, Dexter plays with Harrison while Jamie cleans up. Harrison asks for Hannah, and Jamie explains to him that she had to go away. Maria LaGuerta appears at the door with two officers and arrests Dexter for the murder of Hector Estrada. LaGuerta marches Dexter through the station in handcuffs, causing an uproar. She brings Dexter into interrogation and accuses him of killing Hector Estrada and of being the Bay Harbor Butcher. She claims to have found Estrada's wallet and bloody shirt on Dexter's boat. Debra and Masuka come in and tell LaGuerta that the shirt on Dexter's boat was missing evidence from when Estrada was arrested. Masuka also found a print on the wallet which belonged to LaGuerta. Deb accuses LaGuerta of trying to frame Dexter and LaGuerta accuses Dexter of setting her up.

Dexter has a flashback to when he and Sergeant Doakes worked on a case involving a prostitute killer. This marks the first chronological instance in which Doakes uses the catchphrase "Surprise Motherfucker!" Angel warns Maria to back off before she ruins her career. Back at Dexter's apartment, Dexter defends his actions to Deb, saying that he handled the situation with LaGuerta as best he knew how without killing her. Dexter realizes that he needs to find Estrada and kill him before LaGuerta find out that Estrada escaped.

Dexter visits Estrada's wife, claiming to be Hector's parole officer, Arthur Curry. While Florencia Estrada claims that she has not seen Hector in years, Dexter believes that she is lying and that she will lead him to Estrada. While waiting outside her house, Dexter has another flashback to the prostitute killer case, when they found a body on a boat. He becomes excited when reenacting the storyline of the killing to Doakes, allowing Doakes to see glimpses of the Dark Passenger.

Thomas Matthews visits LaGuerta at the station and tells her that the comissioner has opened an investigation into her conduct. Matthews says he will try to help her but advises Maria to keep her head low. Meanwhile, Debra shows up at Hannh's arraignment. While they walk to the courtroom, Deb says Hannah should confess and save herself the time, and Hannah criticizes Deb for not arresting her brother. Deb is clearly affected by Hannah's comments, which make her realize that she is a hypocrite for being the lieutenant of homicide but ignoring the law whenever Dexter is involved. Hannah is charged with 1st degree murder and is denied bail. Arlene slips Hannah a pill while the two embrace, and Hannah swallows it as she leaves the courtroom.

Angel asks Maria to come to his retirement party and straighten things out with Dexter. Maria agrees to go. While being transported back to the prison, Hannah has a siezure, caused by whatever pill Arlene gave her. She is taken to the emergency room.

LaGuerta calls Debra into her office and apologizes for accusing Dexter. She then begins questioning Debra about Travis Marshall's death. Deb says that Dexter was alone at the church the night that they found Travis' body, doing the final forensic sweep. LaGuerta then pulls up a security video from a gas station near the church, showing Deb filling a gas can. Maria suggests that Debra made a mistake while trying to protect Dexter, and tells Deb that she will continue to pursue this.

Dexter follows Florencia Estrada to a park, where she meets Hector, giving him food and a pistol. Dexter lures Estrada to his car, where he drugs Hector and throws him in the trunk. Dexter and Debra meet at a construction site and talk in Dexter's car. Dexter apologizes for dragging Deb into the mess with LaGuerta, and says he will handle it. He decides he will figure out what evidence LaGuerta has against them before he makes a move. At the hospital, Hannah has escaped.

Dexter breaks into LaGuerta's house and finds warrants allowing her to track his and Debra's phones on the night that the church burned down. Harry tells Dexter to run away with Deb and Harrison, but Dexter decides to kill LaGuerta instead. Dexter has another flashback to the case with the prostitute killings. He brings doughnuts to the station and offers one to Doakes, who snaps at him. Doakes is angry at himself for getting involved with LaGuerta, and Dexter gives him advice, quoting the prostitute killer whom he had previously killed. Doakes recognizes the saying and realizes that there is something off about Dexter, calling him a "creep motherfucker".

LaGuerta receives a call from Hector Estrada while driving to Angel's retirement party. Estrada tells her that he is back at the shipping yard in the same container. Hector asks Dexter to let him go now that he followed Dexter's instructions. Dexter asks Estrada if it was hard for him to make the decision to kill Laura Moser, but does not believe Estrada's claims that it was the "hardest decision" of his life. Estrada calls Laura a snitch and says that killing her did not make him feel bad. When Estrada asks Dexter what kind of killer he is, Dexter says "I'm just a creep motherfucker" and stabs Estrada in the heart.

At Angel's party, Deb looks for Dexter, but no one knows where he is. She calls dispatch and finds out that LaGuerta's car is headed towards the shipping yards. Realizing that Dexter is luring LaGuerta into a trap in order to kill her, Deb calls Dexter, but his phone goes straight to voicemail. She leaves a message, telling him, "whatever you're thinking of doing, please don't do it."

Maria enters the shipping container and finds Estrada dead. Before she can do anything, Dexter sneaks up from behind and M99s her. Dexter tells Harry that his plan is to shoot LaGuerta with Estrada's gun and make it look like she and Estrada shot each other. Deb arrives and finds Dexter about to kill LaGuerta. Deb begs Dexter not to, saying she won't let him go through with it. Maria wakes up and begs Deb to shoot Dexter, telling her "you're a good person." Dexter agrees, drops his knife, and tells Deb "do what you gotta do." Deb shoots Maria, then runs to her side, sobbing.

Deb and Dexter return to Angel's party and Dexter thinks:

"We all make rules for ourselves. It’s these rules that help define who we are. So when we break those rules we risk losing ourselves and becoming something unknown. Who is Deb now? Who am I? …Is this a new beginning, or the beginning of the end?"


Behind the scenes




  • "We all make rules for ourselves. It’s these rules that help define who we are. So when we break those rules we risk losing ourselves and becoming something unknown. Who is Deb now? Who am I? Is this a new beginning, or the beginning of the end?" - Dexter at the end of the episode


  • The title of the episode is the iconic catchphrase spoken in "Born Free" by Sergeant James Doakes.
  • This episode was previously titled "Lethal Injection".
  • The name Dexter uses as Hector's parole officer is a reference to Aquaman's alter ego 'Arthur Curry'.


  1. dexterdaily
  2. tvbythenumbers
The Episodes of Dexter
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.