She was a Sponsor for a Narcotics Anonymous Group, who claimed to have overcome her own vice: meth addiction. She worked as a sculptor, often stealing items to use in her abstract (often disturbing) projects.
Lila is slender with black hair and pale skin, in contrast to Rita Bennett’s blonde hair and lightly tanned skinned.
Initially, Lila presents as a fun-loving, empathetic person. In fact, she is controlling, eccentric, obsessive, and manipulative, along with having a penchant for setting fires. She frequents support groups to observe the emotions that she is incapable of feeling.
She recognizes Dexter's "mask" and is intrigued by his underlying darkness. However, she thinks that Dexter is a heroin addict and does not learn the truth about him until much later. By then, she is obsessed with Dexter, believing him to be her soulmate.
A romance is sparked between Lila and Dexter, but it ends when she violently responds to betrayal and is not above exploiting others for her needs. Lila's attention-seeking behavior begins to present a danger to Dexter being uncovered as a serial killer. Her diabolical thinking, and unstable, manipulative nature eventually wards off Dexter
Lila is from England, possibly London. This is clear from her accent, the threat of deportation from Debra, and her mentioning in "That Night, a Forest Grew" that "Everybody walks in London... of course, they're usually walking to the pub!" Also, the last episode of Season Two is called "The British Invasion".
She first meets Dexter Morgan when he joins a NA group to appease his girlfriend Rita Bennett, who is convinced that Dexter is a heroin addict (which he is not). The meetings and Lila's advice drive Dexter to delve deeper into trying to understand and overcome his dark side. He ends up forsaking for a time a number of things in his life (including Rita).
While in Naples, FL, Lila tells Dexter the reason why she started to attend Narcotics Anonymous. She was hooked on meth for years, binging and crashing, but finally had it under control. Then she met Marco, a boyfriend who became her dealer. By the time he left her, she was strung out, feeling only rage and that nothing mattered. One night, Lila was so "fucked up," she went to Marco's house and burned it to the ground. Lila claims that she didn’t know Marco was passed out inside. That same night, she went to her first NA meeting and has remained clean for five years. Dexter asks Lila if Marco deserved it. When she answers, "Yes," Dexter tells her that she didn't do anything wrong.
Lila is an arsonist who is responsible for at least four fires:
- She set fire to her ex-boyfriend's house which killed him. Mentioned in "The Dark Defender".
- She set her loft on fire to get sympathy from Dexter, when they were drifting apart. Occurred in "That Night, a Forest Grew".
- She caused a Cabin in the Everglades to explode, killing Sergeant Doakes. Occurred in "The British Invasion".
- She again set her loft on fire with Astor, Cody, and Dexter inside, in an attempt to kill them all. Occurred in "The British Invasion".
Lila West (under the alias Lila Tournay) is introduced as a recovering meth addict when Dexter is sent to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting by his girlfriend, Rita Bennett. She takes an immediate interest in Dexter and sees through his facade, sensing that he is hiding his true self.
With Dexter now involved in the drug recovery program, Lila becomes his narcotics sponsor. They begin to spend more time together, much to Rita's chagrin. When she takes him along to steal “art supplies,” he senses there is something off about her. Lila laughs at his attempt to describe himself, and says that he’ll eventually tell her “all his deepest, darkest secrets.” Later, Dexter tells Rita that Lila is a little odd, and she (being somewhat jealous) advises him to work with someone “more manly.”
While at lunch with Lila, Dexter tells her that he doesn’t want to answer any more of her questions and that he’s done with her. As he departs, she glares at him.
Later, to Dexter’s annoyance, Lila shows up outside the police station. She warns him that he’s making a mistake “breaking up” with her, and insists that he still needs her help. He replies that he is who he is, and nothing will change that. When Lila remarks that she doesn’t believe in monsters or evil, Dexter says that he will show her evil, causing Lila’s lip to curl in a smile. Dexter takes her into the field morgue and is surprised when she's not disgusted by the dismembered bodies. In fact, she even asks to touch one of them. Outside the morgue, when Dexter agrees to keep seeing her, Lila gives him a hug and a kiss.
By Lila's advice, she and Dexter set out on a road trip to Naples so that he can seek closure with the person who directly killed his mother, Santos Jimenez. When a conversation with Jimenez in The Swamp (tavern) ends in failure, Dexter punches him several times and lays him on a pool table. Dexter loses control and is about to kill Jimenez in vengeance, but he’s calmed down over the phone by Lila, who believes that he’s about to use heroin due to the stress of meeting his mother's murderer. He spends the night with Lila in a hotel (though they don’t have sex). She reveals that she joined NA because she accidentally burned her boyfriend alive while high on meth. This experience brings Dexter and Lila closer together and Dexter is convinced that Lila can help him manage his urges to kill.
Rita learns of Dexter's secret road trip when Lila mentions they stayed together in a motel on his answering machine. Rita assumes that Dexter and Lila had sex on their trip, and angrily dumps him. Out of stress and rage over the breakup, Dexter visits Lila's loft to express his anger at her for causing his problems with Rita. He ends up pushing Lila on to the bed and having sex with her.
As he leaves Lila's place, Dexter receives a phone call from Rita who wants to give him a chance to explain what happened on the road trip with Lila. He tells her they didn’t have sex “that night,” and Rita realizes they had sex another time. She's deeply hurt and orders Dexter out of her house, after which he returns to Lila’s loft.
During a romantic dinner with Dexter, Lila lets Dexter know that she is including him in her future. Later, Debra arrives at Dexter's apartment only to find Lila there, nude with dozens of candles burning in Dexter's bedroom. Debra is disgusted and asks Dexter, "Who's the skank? Are you trying to fuck her or set her on fire?"
Dexter and Lila continue to see each other. While out on a walk, they break into someone’s house to have sex.
Lila starts to become more controlling and suspicious of Dexter. When she learns that Dexter is going to Cody's school to listen to his cultural report, Lila feels that Dexter is drifting apart from her. This drives Lila to reveal her hidden insanity when sets fire to her own loft to gain his sympathy.
Since her loft caught fire, Lila has been staying with Dexter, which is getting on Debra's nerves. While helping Lila clean up her loft, Dexter takes a closer look around and notices that the fire had multiple points of origin. He suspects that Lila started the fire on purpose.
Despite his attempts to avoid Lila, she invites herself to Dexter's bowling night with his coworkers. Afterward, in the parking lot, Santos Jimenez attacks Dexter with a knife, but flees when Masuka and Batista come running. Dexter lies that it was just a mugger, and goes home with Lila. At her loft, Dexter tells Lila who the man was, and she comforts him as they lie in bed together.
Dexter decides to embrace who he is and drives to Naples to kill Jimenez.
Meanwhile, Lila drops by the station to see Dexter who said he'd be working late. Debra gets pleasure in telling Lila that Dexter lied to her. Angry and upset, Lila breaks into Rita's house, afraid that Dexter might have gotten back together with her. Rita and the kids arrive home to find the door unlocked. They don’t notice Lila leaving the house.
Dexter looks through Jimenez's wallet and finds the bowling alley's address written on a piece of paper. As he deduces that Lila gave Jimenez the location, Dexter gets a call from Rita, telling him about the open door and asking if he was there since he has a key. Realizing that Lila stole his key, Dexter orders Rita to take the kids outside and call the police. Forced to temporarily leave Jimenez's corpse at the cabin, Dexter returns to Miami.
Her actions convince Dexter that Lila is dangerous. He shows up at her apartment to confront her, barely containing his rage. Lila explains that she helped Jimenez find Dexter because she and Dexter are closest in times of crisis. She says she did it to bring Dexter back into her arms, and it worked. Dexter orders Lila to stay away from him and Rita, or she will “see the monster."
In the morning, Rita is surprised to find that Dexter slept outside her house in an effort to protect her. He apologizes to Rita and tells her that Lila was a huge mistake.
Lila, showing no fear, visits the station and goes out with several of Dexter’s coworkers out for a drink. Dexter accompanies them to make sure she doesn't say anything about Jimenez. In the bar's bathroom for women, Dexter faces off with Lila, who insists that the two of them belong together because she knows the real Dexter and isn't afraid of him.
After learning from Batista that Dexter and Rita are trying to patch things up, Lila purchases Rohypnol pills from a drug dealer. That night, at her loft, Lila enjoys some wine with Batista and easily seduces him, encouraging him to be rough with her. After they have sex, Lila secretly takes the roofies and passes out. Batista calls an ambulance, unaware that Lila is framing him for date rape.
Dexter visits Lila in the hospital but she does not gain Dexter’s sympathy.
After Angel is arrested, an enraged Debra runs a background check with Agent Lundy and discovers that Lila's real surname is West (not Tournay) and that she has been illegally living in the United States on an expired Visa. Debra then confronts Lila and demands that she leave the country or be deported.
Lila fumes while she watches Dexter on his boat with Rita, Astor, and Cody. While they are preoccupied, Lila breaks into Dexter's van, steals his GPS device, and follows the instructions to the Cabin in the Everglades.
Arriving at the cabin, Lila finds Doakes caged inside and learns from him that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. She decides to protect Dexter and turns on a flame before releasing gas from propane tanks. Doakes, unable to escape, dies when the cabin explodes. Lila returns to her loft and paints a mural of an angry Dexter on a wall.
After Dexter discovers that Lila killed Doakes, he meets with her at the aquarium to thank her for the intervention. She is excited when he offers her a chance to run away with him but, in reality he plans to kill her in a remote location. Unfortunately, Lila discovers Dexter plan when she opens his bag to find knifes and syringes. As revenge, she abducts Astor and Cody When Dexter finds them in Lila's loft, she locks them all inside and sets it ablaze, telling Dexter that he, "could have had it all." With difficulty, Dexter and the kids narrowly escape, and Lila flees Miami. Dexter tracks Lila down to Paris, France, and kills her by stabbing her in the heart.
- Officially, she is the second main antagonist and the first to be female, the second female being Maria LaGuerta.
- She is the first central antagonist of the series who does not have a presence in all episodes of the season, with her being absent in the first two episodes of Season Two.
- Ultimately, she's revealed to be an antagonist in Season Two, along with Sergeant James Doakes and Frank Lundy.
- She's the only lover Dexter has killed, as he spared both Lumen Pierce and Hannah McKay.
- She is the first antagonist to kill a main character, James Doakes, while others would follow suit in later seasons.
- Lila West's Loft Apartment
- Lila West's Paris Apartment
- Cabin in the Everglades
- The Swamp (tavern)
- Miami Aquarium
- Edie's Diner
- Lila is not the only antagonist to travel to another country (in her case, France) to escape the grasp of Dexter and the authorities. The second antagonist with a similar fate was Steve Gonzalez from the comics which follow the novels continuity. Brandon Weiss also traveled out of the country but, instead of escaping from Dexter, he actually traveled to Cuba in order to prove Dexter is a killer in front of worldwide television. Dexter chased Brandon in Cuba but ultimately failed to kill him there.