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Field Morgue

Field Morgue is a location in Season Two of the Showtime series DEXTER.

It’s an air-conditioned, tent-like structure where the Bay Harbor Butcher 18 are stored while awaiting identification. The cold temperature inside helps prevent further decomposition of the bodies.

Location

Outside the Dade County Coroner’s Office, within walking distance of the Miami Metro Police Station

Summary

Upon arriving home, Dexter Morgan is greeted by his very excited sister, Debra. She rushes him into his bedroom to show him a newscaster who's reporting that two treasure hunters made a ghastly discover -- thirty bags of dismembered bodies in an underwater graveyard. Dexter stares at the television with his heart pounding and places his hand on his chest.

Vince Masuka informs Dexter that the press is referring to the unknown killer as “The Bay Harbor Butcher.” Dexter thinks the moniker is lurid.

At work, Dexter and Vince watch footage of recovery of the bodies. Vince states, “Bet this guy never expected his work to see the light of day.” Dexter responds, “Bet you’re right.” Wondering how he will now dispose of his victims, Dexter casually asks Vince how to hypothetically dispose of bodies. Vince gives him a variety of options: Everglades, alligators, pig farms, sulfuric acid, wood chipper, incinerator, and meat pies. Dexter, though, says they all risk contact with the outside world.

FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy arrives in Miami and gives a briefing on the Bay Harbor Butcher Case. He states the reasons why the Bay Harbor Butcher and the Ice Truck Killer are not the same person, such as gender of victims, exsanguination, and specific methods of dissection.

Having been forced to discard his underwater graveyard, Dexter decides to dump his future victims in the Gulf Stream, a powerful ocean current.

Frank Lundy sets up a task force for the Bay Harbor Butcher Case. Meanwhile, people crowd the police station, demanding to know if their missing family members are among the Bay Harbor Butcher 18.

Vince proudly informs Dexter that he’s been assigned as Lead Forensics Investigator of the joint task force. He tells Dexter that he got him temporarily assigned to bone marrow collection for I.D.s., and insists that he must see the amazing “tent.”

They go outside and head to the field morgue, still talking.

Vince: “Most of them have been underwater for years, but some, it's awesome, you can't even tell. The temperature on the ocean floor and the airtight bags kept them intact. I mean a little gelatinous residue sure, but..."
Dexter thought, "I'd rather remember my old playmates as they were -- neat, clean little packages."
Dexter: “You know, Vince, I appreciate the favor, Vince, but...”
Vince: “Actually, you're doing me the favor. I need your help, buddy. The pressure's fucking ridonkulous.”
Dexter: “Glad to be of service.”
Vince: “Field morgue, for the overflow, but it's state of the art. Fucking FBI, hey?”

They reach the morgue and enter through doors marked “Restricted Access." Dexter is greeted by the sight of rolling tables holding his dismembered victims.

Vince: “A good percentage are just bones, Must have fed the fish when the bags tore. Humpty Fucking Dumpty, right?”
"Exactly," Dexter thought. "They weren't meant to be put together again. They were meant to remain in the silent shadows, keeping their secrets. Now, they're exposed to the glare, reflecting my darkness like some grotesque carnival mirror. Harry was right -- Nothing stays buried. Perhaps, not even me."

The next day, Vince grumbles about his case load, and asks Dexter to drop off dental X-rays at the field morgue on his way out. As Vince walks off, he moans that the Bay Harbor Butcher is butchering his online social life. Dexter quietly says, “Sorry.”

When Dexter leaves for the night, he finds James Doakes lurking outside the police station.

Doakes: “Minivan's that way.”
Dexter: “Field morgue's this way.”
Doakes: “I'll wait.”
Dexter: “You should take the night off, Sergeant.”
Doakes: “On pizza night? No way. What's that girlfriend of yours seeing in a freak show like you anyway?”
Dexter: “You have to ask her.”
Doakes: “Maybe I will.”
Dexter: “What exactly is it you think I've done?”
Doakes: “I know you're connected to the Ice Truck Killer.”
Dexter: “Could you be more vague?”
Doakes: “I know you're too careful. You keep your assets in cash. You don't belong to any organizations or alumni groups. You were top of your class in med school, but you traded it for fucking blood spatter. I know you studied martial arts in college, but I don't know what a lab geek needs with advanced Jujitsu.”
Dexter: “Do you know what an easy credit is?”
Doakes: “I know you're a good liar, too.”
Dexter: (quietly) “Not good enough.”

Carrying the X-rays, Dexter walks to the field morgue; he enters, moving past hanging plastic sheets. It’s dark inside and he stands for a moment looking at the numbered, plastic-covered bodies. "Sergeant Doakes thinks he knows my secrets, but he only needs to look at this, my body of work, to know the real me," he thought.

As Dexter surveys his work, Frank Lundy speaks out from the darkness. He tells Dexter to suit up if he’s going to touch. Startled, Dexter explains that he’s only there to drop off X-rays, and introduces himself. Lundy replies, “I know who you are,” which unsettles Dexter.

Dexter: "Are you hoping they'll talk to you?"
Lundy: "The ones with heads anyway. They always speak, eventually. Just gotta ask the right question."
Dexter: "Which is?"
Lundy: "Why were they chosen?"
Dexter: "You looking for a pattern?"
Lundy: "One doesn't kill this many people in this careful, methodical way without a reason. Some... twisted set of principles."
Dexter: "They would have to be twisted, wouldn't they?"
Lundy: "The worst killers in history are usually the one's who think the murders were somehow ... just. Even deserved. Leaders have slaughtered whole populations for the same warped reason."
Dexter: "But there's never any justification for killing."
Lundy: "No. Well, one, of course. To save an innocent life."
Dexter: "To save an innocent life."

An excited Vince Masuka has developed a lead in the Bay Harbor Butcher Case, which has Dexter concerned. He later learns it’s has something to do with algae.

The task force, dressed in protective clothing, enters the field morgue, where Lundy is working.

Lundy: “Pick a body.”
Debra: “Sir?”
Lundy: “I want you each to pick a body. This is where the case is going to be made. We have 13 suspected murderers, and then we have these gentlemen. Robert Thatcher, janitor for the school district with no criminal record. Marcus White, tow-truck driver, no criminal record. And this -- this is... Oscar Sota.”
Batista: “What's his story?”
Lundy: “Naval engineer for the Port of Miami, member of the stewardship council of St. Tarsicia Catholic Church, married, loved, respected. But he was found in a bag under the sea with 13 killers. Why? Answer that question, then we really know something.”
Batista: "I... I got him. Oscar Sota. Why did the killer cut them up like this?”
Masuka: “Ease of disposal.”
Debra: “Or for fun. You don't kill this many people because it's a chore. You do it 'cause you like it.”

As the investigation continues, it’s discovered that all the victims were murder suspects.

Angel Batista remarks to Dexter that it’s so hot, he could melt. Dexter privately wishes the bodies would melt away, which gives him an idea.

Having earlier told Lila Tournay that he no longer wants her as his NA sponsor, he’s annoyed to find her waiting by his car. After a brief argument, he takes Lila into the field morgue to show her “evil.” When he opens Joseph Cepeda's bag, he’s surprised that she’s fascinated, not repulsed. She even asks to touch the body and he says, "Okay." He asks Lila's opinion on the person who did this, and she says, "The person who did this is like us -- good and evil." Dexter believes that Lila sees behind his mask.

That night, Dexter breaks the field morgue’s AC unit, making it appear to be the fault of the garbage collection truck. The next morning, Vince, Lundy, and Dr. Manny Pena enter the morgue to collect specimens, but the unit is flooded and the bodies have turned to mush.

Back with Dexter in the lab, Vince commiserates on the destruction in the morgue, though they laugh because the marine biologist vomited at the sight. Dexter says he's sorry that the algae samples were destroyed. He’s taken off guard when Vince tells him that the samples are safe because they weren’t on the bodies, but on rocks and they were kept separate. A joyful Vince says the marine biologist took the rocks back to his lab for processing. (Flashback to Dexter picking up rocks to weigh down the bags.) He uneasily contemplates his fate - electrocution or lethal injection.

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