Oct. 01, 2006
Returning Series
60 min.
Showtime TV Network

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Dexter is a forensic blood spatter expert for the Miami Metro Police Department. Based on a code given to him by his foster father, Harry, he survives ethically as a serial killer. He utilizes his expertise, often withholding evidence from the police so he can solve murders and kill the killers either before they kill again, or before they are caught by the police.

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Arthur Mitchell  Dexter
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Arthur Mitchell

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  Played by:
John LithgowJohn Lithgow
John Arthur Lithgow (/ˈlɪθɡoʊ/ LITH-goh; born October 19, 1945) is an American actor, musician, ...

Character Bio

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Arthur Mitchell is an unassuming suburbanite man who has been living a double life as one of America's most prolific and deadliest serial killers, dubbed by Frank Lundy as "Trinity Killer" because of his supposed tendency to kill trios of similar victims. he is the main antagonist in season 4. The pattern Lundy discovered would start with a young woman whom he kills in a bathtub by slicing her femoral artery with a straight razor while putting her in a choke hold, and holding up a small mirror so that he can see her face as she dies. His second victim is a married mother of two whom he kidnaps, and forces to jump to her death from an abandoned building. His third victim is an older man, father of two, whom he bludgeons to death with a hammer. At each site he spreads some of his sister's ashes, and arranges the victim's arm so that they are pointing at the ash. He has repeated this cycle in different cities all over the United States. It is eventually revealed that members of his family died in the same way as his victims; his 16 old year sister died in a bathtub in 1959, his 40 year old mother jumped to her death in 1961, and his 45 year old father was bludgeoned to death in 1964, presumably by him. In the episode "Lost Boys" it is discovered that he does not kill three victims but four. The first victim is actually a ten year old boy who represents himself, whom he kidnaps and kills by putting in cement foundation of a construction site. As the boy's bodies were never found, their cases were never classified as homicides; and as such never attracted Lundy's attention.

Almost 30 years ago he started his cycle in Miami, and in season 4 begins the cycle again there, killing his victims at the original murder sites. After killing the woman in the bathtub, Mitchell takes a shower in scalding hot water and after forcing a mother to fall to her death, he provokes a drunken man to beat him. When he begins killing in Miami again, Dexter is fascinated by Mitchell's efficient killing methods and ability to remain at large/evade capture for three decades.

Lundy returned to hunt him down but was gunned down just as he began to close in on him. Lundy had theorized that Trinity was a loner who had no life outside killing. When Dexter goes to kill Trinity, it is revealed that Trinity is a husband, father, teacher, deacon, and a prominent figure in a charitable Christian homebuilding organization. He uses this organization to travel around the country to cover for his killings, and as a dump site for the first victim in his cycle. Dexter is conflicted over whether to follow Harry's Code and kill him or learn how Mitchell made his family life work. Dexter, under the alias of Kyle Butler, begins to become friends with Trinity and soon learns that, unlike Dexter, Trinity is himself around his family and has no difficulty genuinely loving them. He also learns Trinity's strange, unpredictable personality. Despite being quick to anger and a violent killer, Trinity is visibly distraught to the point of tears when he and Dexter hit a deer and is appalled at the idea of putting it out of its misery.

As Arthur plans a trip to Tampa to build a house, Dexter concocts a plan to go to a meteorological convention as cover for his work/family so he has a reason to be in Tampa as well. Arthur reluctantly allows Dexter to tag along when Dexter claims he's done something terrible, that only Arthur can help him recover from. Dexter, hoping to redeem his killing of the innocent John Farrow, plans to murder Trinity along the way. As they move, however, Arthur pushes Dexter to admit his terrible deed, with claiming the murder was a hunting accident. This admission greatly affects Trinity, who sees it as a sign of kinship. Arthur takes Dexter to his old home and tells him that when he was ten, he inadvertently startled his sister while she was showering causing her to break glass off a shower door and cut herself, dying as a result. His mother became depressed because of this and later committed suicide by leaping off a building, leaving him in his father's care. His father abused him and as a result Dexter theorizes he was killed by Trinity by bludgeoning. For the remainder of the trip Arthur has strong mood swings and irrational behavior, to the point that Dexter becomes worried he will tell others of his murder, as Arthur keeps telling random people about his family members' deaths and stresses the need for confession. One morning, Dexter sneaks into Arthur's room, intent on killing him. Arthur, however, wasn't there and Dexter tracks him to a construction site where Arthur attempts to commit suicide. Dexter-with some reluctance-stops him, wanting to kill him himself; Dexter contemplates letting Arthur fall to his death, but as he's about to let Arthur fall workers at the site come to help Dexter save him. Arthur is overjoyed and believes Dexter was sent by God to save him.

As Dexter gets to know Trinity further, he learns that despite the cheery exterior of Arthur's family, he is an extremely controlling and domineering father. He locks his daughter up in her room and often abuses his family. During Thanksgiving, Dexter witnesses the cover failing as Trinity's son lashes out at Arthur for his abuse, destroying his homebuilders plaques and smashing his sisters urn. The enraged Arthur almost strangles his son, but Dexter interferes, dragging Arthur into the kitchen. He snaps at Arthur that he "should have fucking killed [him] when [he] had the chance", but Arthur's wife and daughter rush in to stop him. In "Lost Boys" Dexter witnesses Arthur kidnap a child, but is unable to stop him. Eventually Dexter tracks him down as he's about to throw the boy in drying cement. Dexter is able to save the boy, but Arthur escapes. After Arthur sees a news report of the boy being alive he begins to become suspicious of Dexter. He eventually lures him to an arcade so he can follow him. He follows Dexter back to the police station, sneaks into the homicide department and discovers Dexter's name from his badge.

In the last episode of the season, he is killed by Dexter in the room where he had held the kidnapped child. He believes Dexter was sent by God to kill him, and that Dexter won't be able to control his urges any better than him. It is revealed later that he killed Rita in the bathtub of Dexter's house, and left Dexter's son Harrison in her blood, mirroring Dexter's past.

Episode Screenshots

06x12 - This Is the Way the World Ends
Season 6, Episode 12
04x02 - Remains to Be Seen
Season 4, Episode 02
08x11 - Monkey In A Box
Season 8, Episode 11
01x12 - Born Free
Season 1, Episode 12
[More Episodes]

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