Rita was a concerned and loving mother who came from an abusive relationship. Due to her violent past, Rita initially had very little interest in sex, which worked well for Dexter, who considered himself emotionally removed from humanity. Dexter said that he felt Rita was a perfect girlfriend because she was "'as damaged'" as Dexter was "'in her own way.'"
Rita had no idea that Dexter was secretly a serial killer, and was in fact delighted with how great he was with her children, and how much they seemed to love Dexter. Rita began to grow more confident in herself and, thus, her sexual appetite toward Dexter grew.
While at first, Rita tended to be naively unaware of Dexter's flaws, a complicated situation involving Lila West (in which Rita and Dexter broke up and later reconciled) changed the fundamental nature of their relationship. While Rita had previously paid his long absences and flimsy cover stories no mind, Rita began to pick up on Dexter's lies and occasionally questioned his erratic behavior. After they were married, they eventually entered marriage counseling.
Rita Bennett was born Rita Ann Brandon in Ashley, Michigan, 19 April 1973 (approximate date) to mother Gail Marie Brandon and an unknown father (possibly deceased). Not a great deal of her early life was known, although it was revealed via a marriage certificate from when she was sixteen years old, that she lived at 321 Elmview Lane in Ashley, MI 48806. Her husband at the time was John Alan Ackerman, a 21-year-old mechanic whom she married on 16 August 1989. On 6 January 1990, they divorced (as Dexter felt, due to a brief teen romance). After this, Rita moved to Miami. In "Circle of Friends," Rita told Dexter that Paul owned their house before she met him.
Rita married Paul Bennett after becoming pregnant with Astor. They later had a son, Cody. The marriage would prove to be an unhealthy one, leading to her being abused at the hands of Paul and having to deal with his drug addiction.
After a domestic disturbance call, Paul was arrested by Debra Morgan, which prompted Debra to set Rita up on a date with Dexter. Their first date was awkward for both of them. Rita had just escaped a dangerous relationship and Dexter happened to be a serial killer (although this was not revealed to her).
Dexter used this date as an opportunity to watch his next target, Marcetti. When Marcetti stood up to leave, Dexter followed suit. To be polite, he paid for the dinner, saying that he was ill and it was a pleasure to meet her.
Rita called Dexter later that night, while he was discarding Marcetti's body parts into the bay. She asked how he was feeling, and told him about her two kids and domestic problems, but he said that Debra had already told him. Rita remarked that he seemed to know all about her, with Dexter replying that he would like to know more. He suggested that they get together again sometime, and Rita liked that idea.
Ultimately, Dexter's attachment to Rita and Rita's devotion to Dexter continued to grow throughout their relationship and eventual marriage. This was cut short when Rita was murdered by Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer, as punishment for Dexter's constant pursuit of him - and to remind Dexter that he can never escape his demons.
Rita was portrayed as a loving mother of two who was slowly recovering from the abuse by her (eventual) ex-husband, Paul.
Dexter's initial reason for continuing to date Rita was to maintain his cover of appearing to be normal. Dexter stated that he chose Rita because she was as damaged as he was. The fact that she avoided sex benefited Dexter since he felt that getting too close would reveal his darkness. Eventually, their relationship was consummated and they continued to be intimate.
Rita always remained innocently unaware of how he really spent his free time. However, Dexter did make a couple of weak comments that referred to it. On their first date, he half-jokingly said that he was an ax murderer. At another time, he told Rita that he had a "dark side" but didn't hurt "innocent people." Rita was merely amused by his comments.
Rita stood up to Paul by demanding that he sign the divorce papers that he refused to sign while in prison. To persuade Paul to do so, she offered him supervised weekly visits. At first, Paul tried to intimidate her, but then agreed to sign them after she did not back down. One night, Paul came to the house drunk, and Rita reluctantly let him in. He began to abuse her and wrestled her onto the bed. Rita managed to escaped by knocking him out with a baseball bat. Paul then sued Rita for custody of the kids. Dexter, fed up with the situation, took the matter into his own hands. He knocked Paul out with a frying pan and brought him to his motel room. Dexter injected Paul with heroin, and notified the police. Paul was then set back to prison, not fully aware of what had happened. After he thought about it, Paul pleaded with Rita to not to let Dexter near their children, claiming that Dexter had framed him. Rita did not believe Paul and brushed him off. Later, though, she found Paul's shoe outside of her house—just where he said it would be when Dexter knocked him out.
After discovering what Dexter did to Paul, she suspected that Dexter owned the drugs that Paul was injected with. Dexter allowed her to think that he was an addict, as it was better than admitting he was a serial killer. She forced Dexter into Narcotics Anonymous by threatening to leave him when he expressed reluctance. While Dexter began to work through the program, Rita suspected (incorrectly) that he was having an affair with his sponsor, Lila, and broke up with him. In anguish, Dexter then turned to Lila, and they ended up actually having sex. Before that, it had been (on his part, at least) a platonic relationship. When Rita attempted to reconcile with Dexter, she learned that his relationship with Lila had turned into a sexual one. Grief stricken, Rita made their break official, although her children still tried to maintain a relationship with Dexter. After Dexter lied to Lila about working late (he had gone to kill Jimenez), Lila broke into Rita's house, afraid that they had rekindled their relationship. Angered that Lila had done that, Dexter broke up with her, telling her to stay away from him and Rita. The next day, Dexter apologized to Rita for his infidelity, saying that Lila was one of his biggest mistakes. Later, Rita called Dexter and stated that she had "feelings for him." His breakup with Lila, his seeming love for Rita and her children, and his sincere regret over what he had done convinced Rita to start dating him again. By the last episode, their relationship was back on solid ground.
Rita was enjoying her relationship with Dexter once again, when she unexpectedly discovered that she was pregnant with Dexter's baby (later revealed to be a boy). Feeling that being a single parent was one of her few achievements, Rita decided to keep the baby, and left Dexter's role in the child's life entirely up to him. After much deliberation, Dexter decided (with the help of Debra and an ensuing punch from her) that he would be there for the child. Rita eventually accepted Dexter's marriage proposal, after she lost her job at the Z Hotel when she was rude to a customer. Later, her friend, Sylvia Prado, a well-off real estate agent, hired Rita as her assistant. In the finale, Dexter discovered that Rita was briefly married when she was sixteen, something she never told him. She also lied outright when he subtly asked her about it. After some reflection, he decided to let Rita keep her secrets as he would be keeping his own.
After the baby (named Harrison after Dexter's father) was born, Rita and Dexter moved together into a house in the suburbs. Rita soon began to notice a pattern of lies by Dexter, including lying about the concussion he suffered in a car accident, how serious the accident was, and the fact that he kept his old apartment. Rita and Dexter then went to a marriage counselor, who sorted out their problems. However, another problem arose when their neighbor, Elliot, began to fall for Rita. On Thanksgiving Day, Elliot kissed Rita and pointed out that Dexter was never home. Although Rita initially kissed him back, she quickly ended it before it went further. Rita eventually revealed the kiss to Dexter but became worried when he did not seem to care that she nearly cheated on him. Later, Rita was pleased when she observed Dexter punch Elliot over it.
In the finale, while Dexter pursued the Trinity Killer, he sideswiped another car. After an argument with the person who owned the damaged car, Dexter was arrested by the police officer who arrived at the scene. Rita picked up Dexter from the police precinct and he apologized to her for losing control of the situation. Rita told Dexter that he was an integral part of their family and she would be crushed if he went away. Dexter discussed his demons but she assured him that, because she loved him, any demons that he had could be conquered.
Dexter begged Rita to leave early for their honeymoon, to which she finally agreed. Later, after finally murdering Trinity, Dexter returned home to find a voicemail from Rita, saying that she had left her ID at home, and would take a later flight after going back to pick it up. Dexter called Rita's phone and was surprised when it rang from inside her purse on the table. He then heard his son, Harrison, crying, and found the baby sitting in a pool of blood, and Rita's lifeless body lying in a blood-filled bathtub. She was the last murder of the Trinity Killer. Dexter appeared to be genuinely devastated by her death. He flashed back to his own childhood trauma, before he picked up Harrison and carried him away, exactly like Harry did with Dexter.
Dexter: The Game
Rita makes a small appearance in Dexter: The Game. She goes out with Dexter to the Crab Festival after Dexter finishes with Jamie Jaworski. After participating on the festival with Dexter, the latter interrupts their date to focus on a new victim of the Ice Truck Killer who appears to be near the festival.
In the novels
Main Article: Rita Morgan (Novels)
- Dexter was Rita's third husband, with John Alan Ackerman being her first and Paul Bennett being her second.
- Rita's marriage certificate (shown in "Do You Take Dexter Morgan?") to John Alan Ackerman has multiple errors regarding date. The certificate claims she was born on April 19, 1989...which would be impossible for several reasons:
- She would have been just under 4 months old at the time of her marriage to Ackerman, which is illegal in any state and would contradict with the story saying that she was married at 16-years-old.
- She would only be 20-years-old as of 2009 (year of the birth of her son Harrison), which would make Dexter a decade older than her and with her children being close to 10 and 12 years old, another virtual impossibility (since it would have seemed that Rita gave birth to Astor and Cody respectively at 8 and 10-years-old).
- In addition to Rita's incorrect year of birth, her husband John Alan Ackerman is also given an incorrect year. He is shown to have been born on July 25, 1984 which would only make him 5-years-old at the time of the marriage to a near four-month-old Rita. To calculate both their ages, Rita is said to be 36 years old in 2009, subtract 36 by 2009 and you went up to 1973 as her true year of birth. Ackerman is five years older than her, so his birth date would actually be in 1968.
- Strangely enough, not only is the marriage certificate wrong, but so is the divorce finalization slip. They both married on August 16, 1989 as confirmed on both the marriage certificate and divorce paper. However, the paper claims the marriage lasted a duration of six months (as Dexter then repeats in his head) but the divorce was finalized on January 6, 1990. That is less than ten days before the 16th, so technically the marriage only lasted a duration of four and a half months plus a few days, although on paper it would likely read as five months, not six.
- Hypocritically, she was angry at Dexter for not sharing all of his life with her, yet she chose to stay silent about her first marriage.
- Z Hotel
- Rita's House
- Rita and Dexter's House
- Dexter Morgan
- Dexter's Apartment
- Gail Brandon
- Paul Bennett
- Arthur Mitchell
- Crab Festival
- John Alan Ackerman
- Astor Bennett
- Cody Bennett
- Elliott Larson
- Rita's Lawyer
- Rita's Neighbor