Were Dexter and Deb in Love?

Dexter and Deb’s relationship was central to the overarching narrative of Dexter. As main characters, their interactions and the development of their relationship was pivotal to the show. So what exactly was the nature of their bond?

At the beginning of the series, Dexter and Deb have a typical brother-sister dynamic. They care for each other, but also antagonize and bicker constantly. However, as the show progresses, their relationship becomes more complicated. Deb’s feelings especially begin to move beyond familial love into romantic love.

The possibility of this deeper love is amplified by the fact that Dexter and Deb are not actually blood relatives. They were taken in by Harry Morgan after their parents died, and raised as siblings. So while they grew up as brother and sister, genetically they had no familial bond. This opened the door for romantic feelings to develop.

Deb’s Realization of Love for Dexter (Season 6)

In season 6 of Dexter, there are several hints that Deb is starting to see her adoptive brother in a different light. Small moments and glances suggest her feelings are becoming more romantic and less sisterly. This comes to a head in episode 12 of season 6, when Deb realizes she is in love with Dexter.

The Build-Up of Confusing Feelings

Prior to her realization, there are sprinklings of scenes that show Deb’s confusion around her feelings for Dexter. For example, in episode 2 she fixates on Dexter’s body while watching him swim. In episode 3, Deb has a dream that she kisses Dexter passionately. She wakes up shocked and ashamed by this dream.

Deb also shows jealousy and overprotectiveness when Dexter begins dating intern Ryan Chambers. She interrogates Ryan and scares her away from Dexter. These signs all slowly build, until finally Deb has an epiphany about her repressed romantic feelings.

The Realization

In episode 12 of season 6, Dexter is giving a press conference after being accused of being a serial killer named the Doomsday Killer. Deb watches Dexter on TV, gazing lovingly at him. In this moment, her face lights up as if she has discovered something profound.

“Oh f**k,” Deb says aloud to herself. “I’m in love with my brother.”

This is the first explicit moment in the series where Deb realizes she is romantically in love with her adoptive sibling Dexter. She is horrified and guilt-ridden about these incestuous feelings. However, now that she has acknowledged her repressed emotions, she can no longer ignore them moving forward.

Deb Seeks Therapy (Season 7)

After realizing she is in love with Dexter, Deb struggles with her feelings throughout season 7. She begins seeing a therapist to deal with her dysfunctional emotions around Dexter.

Discussing Her Feelings in Therapy

In therapy, Deb opens up about being adopted by Harry Morgan and never feeling “right.” She felt like she was “born in the wrong family.”

Her therapist asks Deb bluntly, “Are you in love with your brother?” Deb avoids the question at first, but later confesses that she has been in love with Dexter her whole life. Therapy helps Deb unpack these buried emotions.

Realization that the Love Was Always There

An important revelation Deb has in therapy is that her romantic love for Dexter did not suddenly begin. It was always there under the surface. She just repressed the truth because of societal taboos around incest.

Deb admits she has “been in love with Dexter as long as I can remember. My whole life. But I was just too f**king blind to realize it.” This demonstrates that there were likely always romantic undertones to Deb and Dexter’s relationship, even from a young age.

Inner Turmoil Around Her Forbidden Feelings

Deb never pursues an actual relationship with Dexter, because she views her feelings as wrong. She spirals into depression and self-destructive behavior due to the inner turmoil of harboring this forbidden love.

At one point, Deb ends up in a car crash because she is drunk and high. The therapist tells her, “You’re punishing yourself because you have feelings for Dexter.” This illustrates how much anguish Deb experiences struggling with loving someone she cannot have.

Dexter’s Response to Deb’s Love (Season 8)

Dexter never openly reciprocates Deb’s romantic love. However, in the final season there are hints he may harbor some hidden feelings too. Their tragic story ultimately can never become a real romance due to their family dynamic.

Dexter Remains Oblivious

In the season 7 finale, Deb is shot and ends up in a coma. At her bedside, Dexter laments never having told her how he feels. This leads the audience to believe he may confess mutual romantic love.

However, when Deb wakes up, she is the one confessing inappropriate love for Dexter. He responds obliviously, “I love you too…you’re my sister.” He does not seem to pick up on the nature of Deb’s feelings.

Tragedy Prevents Relationship

Shortly after this, Deb ends up dead as a result of Dexter’s actions. Any opportunity for reciprocation of deeper feelings is gone forever. Even if Dexter did harbor some hidden romantic love for Deb, he never gets the chance to realize or reveal it.

Their tragic story makes it ambiguous whether Dexter shared Deb’s incestuous romantic feelings. The importance lies more in Deb’s one-sided pining for someone she could never really be with.

Conclusion: A Complex and Tragic Sibling Bond

Dexter and Deb’s relationship was undeniably complex. Deb’s realization that she was in love with her adoptive brother added challenging romantic undertones to their sibling bond.

Ultimately, Dexter never openly returned these forbidden romantic feelings. But there are hints he may have harbored some repressed emotions too. However, their complicated story ended in tragedy before anything could ever manifest between them.

While an actual romance was impossible, Deb’s powerful and tragic one-sided love for Dexter was a pivotal narrative driver in the series. It added complexity and nuance to the dynamics between these central characters. Their complicated connection that toed the line between familial and romantic love made for a memorable television relationship


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