A Beautiful Day is the first episode of Season Eight of DEXTER, and the eighty-fifth overall episode of the series. Directed by Keith Gordon and written by Scott Buck, it first aired 30 June 2013 on Showtime.
The estimated number of viewers for the episode during its original airing was 2.48 million. 
Six months have passed since Maria LaGuerta's death, and Dexter is still managing life as a dad, brother, and serial killer; Debra has left the department and is working as a private investigator; Miami Metro investigates the murder of a man who's had pieces of his brain removed; The team Is assisted by a neuropsychiatrist, who seems to have a particular interest in Dexter.
The episode opens with brief scenes of Dexter as he flies a kite with Harrison, strikes a blood spatter head, dismembers a victim, attends a kids’ soccer game, departs to go bowling, smiles at a sex partner, and observes a dying flowering plant (a gift from Hannah).
There's nothing like a crisis to help define who you are. A better person would feel bad about LaGuerta's death. But the truth is it solved all my problems. It's gotten me back on track. In the six months since, I've coached Harrison's soccer team to a championship... gotten the bowling team back together... made some new friends. I'm a survivor. - Dexter (voiceover)
At a park, Dexter attends the dedication of a memorial bench in Maria's honor. A speech is given by Angel in which he mentions her as a good cop, his boss, briefly his wife, and importance as a friend. After the ceremony, Angel gathers around the bench with a few co-workers and says Maria deserves more than a place where people “park their butts.” Debra did not show up for the ceremony and it’s mentioned that she quit the police force and is working as a private investigator. Quinn tells Dexter that he hasn't heard from Deb for a couple of weeks.
In a room at the Pink Motel (Fort Lauderdale), Debra is snorting cocaine with a man with whom she seems to be romantically involved. They’re kissing when his phone rings. He quickly takes the call and makes arrangements with a fence to meet the next day. He tells Deb that he doesn’t want her to get involved and holds up a handgun.
When Deb doesn’t answer her phone, Dexter drops by her beach house and finds a pile of mail outside her door. Using a key, he enters and searches every room, but she isn’t there. It’s been two months since Dexter has seen Deb and he’s very concerned when he notices various prescription drugs and pot. Even though Deb is avoiding him, Dexter feels that he is the only one who can help her.
Dexter goes to Deb’s new place of employment, Elway Investigations. It’s run by Jacob Elway, a former Miami Metro officer, who greets Dexter in a friendly manner. He says that he hasn't heard from Deb in two weeks, the longest such delay. Dexter learns that she’s working a smash-and-grab case involving a criminal named Andrew Briggs.
Dexter is called to a crime scene where a man’s corpse is lying near a body of water. The man is identified as 42-year-old Robert Bailey, a mechanic, and it appears that he was simply shot in the chest and dumped. However, when Dexter lifts the head, it’s revealed that the back of the skull had been cut open and a portion of the brain scooped out, likely with a melon baller. The murder weapon, a gun, is found discarded in a bush not far from the body.
Dexter again tries to call Deb only to hear, “The user’s mailbox is full.”
While in his lab, Dexter investigates Andrew Briggs, unaware that Deb is sleeping with him. He learns that Briggs clubbed a security guard over the head, stole $500,000 in jewelry, and skipped out on his bail. Since Briggs has a history of violence, including three arrests for assault, Dexter is worried that Deb is in over her head. He hacks her credit card info after guessing that her password is “Fucking Password” and discovers that she's been in Fort Lauderdale the past few weeks.
After a half hour drive, Dexter arrives at a market called El Mercado. Watching from across the street, he is surprised to see that Debra is hanging out with Briggs, the guy she is supposed to bring in. Before Briggs and Debra enter the store, they kiss and he grabs her butt. Dexter confronts her inside the store and she claims to still be working the case to get the jewelry. She angrily tells Dexter that she hasn't returned his calls because she hates him for making her compromise her values, adding that she shot the wrong person. Briggs sees them talking and asks Deb if there’s a problem. She calls Dexter “some loser” and leaves with Briggs.
As Dexter drives back to Miami, he won’t accept that Deb hates him. He thinks she is just messed up and using her job to escape.
Suddenly, an inconsiderate driver changes lanes and pulls in front of him. Dexter flies into a rage, passes the car, forces it to the side of the road, and confronts the driver. Dexter is about to strangle the man when he notices a young boy in the back seat. Still furious, Dexter quickly leaves the scene.
Quinn and Jamie are secretly dating. While they are having sex, they hear Angel arrive at the house. Quinn abruptly stops despite Jamie’s disappointment and sneaks out the side door. Jamie tells Angel that she is sweaty because was doing cardio. They talk about Maria as he goes through her personal stuff. Angel finds the old warrants to trace Dexter and Deb's phones and rips them up. He says Maria got herself killed by tracking down Estrada by herself.
At a briefing, Deputy Chief Matthews introduces Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a neuropsychiatrist, to the homicide department. She has written a book on the brains of psychopaths and has offered her expertise on the Robert Bailey case. Vogel is intrigued that the part of the brain that was extracted processes empathy. She suggests that the killer was experimenting or sending a message. Apparently, Bailey was held captive and starved for a week, then his brain was drilled into post-mortem. Due to the elaborate pre-kill ritual, Vogel thinks they are looking for a serial killer, even though there is only one victim. Meanwhile, she keeps looking over at Dexter. Masuka informs Dexter that the FBI calls Vogel the “Psychopath Whisperer.”
Dexter immediately researches Evelyn Vogel, M.D., PhD. He learns that she is a lecturer who has published three books about serial killers. She’s the last person Dexter wants to work closely with.
Angel gives Dexter a vase that Maria always had in her office, even though it’s clear that Dexter doesn’t want it. During the conversation Dexter slips and says Maria died because "she wouldn't leave things alone." The comment shocks Angel and Dexter apologizes.
Deb is lying in bed while Briggs snorts cocaine from a knife. El Sapo, the potential fence, calls from the motel’s parking lot and Briggs leaves to meet with him. Deb quickly calls Quinn and asks him to look-up the guy. When Briggs returns, he says that he’s going to be rich.
Dr. Vogel requests to see Dexter in the morgue and he finds her examining Bailey's brain. After she asks for updates on the case, Vogel starts to talk about their respective careers, which both involve murder. She brings up the Bay Harbor Butcher and asks about Doakes. Vogel believes the Butcher operated with some moral guidelines and says she wishes she could have interviewed him for a case study. Dexter says, "Sorry."
Dexter hurries to Matthews office and asks about Dr. Vogel. Matthews says that she consulted on a couple of cases when he was a captain and then moved to England. About a year ago, she moved back to Miami and called him "out of the blue" to offer her help. He tells Dexter that Vogel is smart and to “keep her in the loop.” Internally, Dexter wonders if he is the real reason that she’s there.
Quinn tells Dexter that he can’t reach Deb. He says she asked him to look into a fence named El Sapo but nobody in Robbery has heard of him. Because Briggs robbed a store belonging to a mob guy, nobody will buy what he’s selling, other than El Sapo.
Jamie drops off Harrison at the station so she can spend the night with Quinn.
That night, Briggs and Deb are smoking pot and watching cartoons when El Sapo calls. He agrees to stop by the motel with the money and let Briggs take him to the merchandise. Briggs loads his gun and tells Deb to stay hidden.
Dexter looks up El Sapo and discovers that his real name is Javier Guzman. The robbery department didn’t know him because he's a hitman, not a fence. While Harrison is spinning around in a squeaking chair, he accidentally smashes Maria's vase and Dexter snaps at him. He tries to call Deb to warn her, but her voicemail is still full.
Dexter grabs Harrison and heads to his car. He can’t reach Quinn by phone so he drives to his apartment. Quinn is in bed with Jamie when he hears continued knocking. He angrily swears as he opens the door, but then sees Harrison with Dexter. Quinn thinks it’s strange that Dexter doesn’t know where Deb is staying and gives him the name of the Pink Motel in Fort Lauderdale. Dexter then calls Jamie so she will take Harrison but she does not answer her phone.
Dexter has no choice but to bring Harrison to the motel with him. By the time they arrive, Harrison has fallen asleep so Dexter leaves him in the car. He spots Deb and Briggs through a window and gets her attention by gently knocking. She goes outside and orders him to go away. He warns her about El Sapo but she becomes enraged, stating that she doesn't care if she dies. She believes that she’s a bad person because she killed LaGuerta.
Hearing them argue, Briggs opens the door and steps outside. He recognizes Dexter from the store and asks, “You again?” Dexter is simply fed up with everything and tries to forcibly take Deb with him, but Briggs shoves him away. Dexter, deeply infuriated, pushes Briggs through the door, punches him in the face, and stabs him in the heart as Deb watches in horror. She sobs and turns Dexter’s words back onto him.
Deb still won’t go with Dexter and refuses to let him hide the body. She orders him to leave and calls the police. While waiting for them to arrive, Deb goes through Briggs' pockets and finds the key to a storage locker.
Dexter panics when he returns to his car and finds Harrison missing. He runs through the parking lot and calls his son’s name. In a moment, Harrison appears, looking for his father. Dexter picks him up with one hand covered in blood.
Debra tells the police that she returned to the motel after getting a sandwich to find Briggs dead, and has no idea who is responsible. From her car, she calls Elway with an update, saying she might have a lead on the jewelry. Meanwhile, El Sapo has been watching from his car and realizes that Briggs is dead and his only way of retrieving the jewels is through Debra.
At home, Dexter tries unsuccessfully to wash out the blood from Harrison's stuffed dog toy. He thinks Deb may have been right that he is "lost" because without her, he's not sure who he is anymore.
Dr. Vogel approaches Dexter while he's sitting on Maria's bench. He tells her that it’s “not a good time” so she leaves him a large envelope. Inside are several gory drawings that Dexter made as a child. He chases her down and pins her against a wall. He demands to know what she wants and reveals his dangerous side. Vogel calmly tells Dexter that he can't kill her. When he asks why not, she simply says, "Because I don't fit Harry's Code," and walks away.
- “Serial killers don’t have enemies. Everyone’s a potential victim.” Dr. Vogel to Dexter
- “A body part. Yet somehow, from all those firings of neurons, something intangible emerges -- Emotions. Trust, morality, love. Unless you're a psychopath. But even then, belief systems emerge.” - Dr. Vogel to Dexter
- “The Bay Harbor Butcher was definitely a psychopath. He’d have to be to masquerade the way he did. But he was an odd one, that’s for sure.” - Dr. Vogel to Dexter
- “All my life, I thought I needed you, that I couldn't survive without you. Fuck. Fuck. It was the other fucking way around. It was the other way around.” - Debra to Dexter
- The prescription drugs that Dexter found in Debra's house were Xanax, Paxil, and Adderall.
- Code of Harry
- Debra's Beach House
- Dexter's Apartment
- El Mercado
- Elway Investigations
- Lagoon Park
- Pink Motel (Fort Lauderdale)