Harry Morgan (Dexter)
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2011)|
|First appearance||Book Series:
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Pilot episode: Dexter
"Monkey in a Box"
|Created by||Jeff Lindsay|
|Portrayed by||James Remar|
|Spouse(s)||Doris Morgan (deceased)|
|Children||Debra Morgan (daughter; deceased)
Dexter Morgan (son, adopted)
Detective Harrison "Harry" Morgan is a fictional character in the Showtime television series Dexter and the novels by Jeff Lindsay upon which it is based. In the television series he is portrayed by James Remar. Harry is Dexter Morgan's adoptive father, now deceased. For the first two seasons of the series he appeared only in flashbacks to Dexter's childhood, having died 10 years prior to the start of the series. From season three onward, the dramatic device of flashbacks was replaced with Harry appearing to Dexter as a "ghost" who comments on and gives advice on all the problems his son faces throughout the series.
In the novels
Harry Morgan is a detective and highly respected member of the Miami Police Department, and a close friend of his immediate superior Lieutenant Tom Matthews. In the course of a high-stakes drug case, Harry begins an illicit relationship with Laura Moser, Dexter's biological mother, to gather information and evidence on the drug lords in question. The drug dealers eventually find out she is informing on them, and make an example of her; they brutally murder her and three others with chainsaws in a shipping container. Her sons Brian and Dexter are left in the container for several days, sitting in two inches of blood, until Harry and a police team rescue them. Harry adopts Dexter, while Brian is sent into foster care; Harry believes that the older Brian is permanently traumatized by the event and is "unsalvageable", but that Dexter is still young enough to be "saved". When Dexter is a teenager, Harry discovers that he has been killing neighborhood pets, and realizes that the boy has an innate need to kill.
At first, Harry attempts to manage Dexter's violent urges by only allowing him to kill animals, but he eventually comes to the conclusion that Dexter's pathology cannot be repressed, only controlled. Harry decides to train the boy as a vigilante, to hunt and kill murderers without leaving any clues. Dexter prizes these lessons as a means to satisfy his homicidal urges with his father's approval, dubbing them the "Code of Harry". Harry's relationship with his biological daughter Debra, meanwhile, is more complicated; she craves her father's approval, but feels that he favors Dexter. (Harry keeps her in the dark about Dexter's "training".)
When Dexter is 19, Harry falls seriously ill and gives Dexter "permission" to kill one of his nurses, who is intentionally poisoning him with morphine. He dies a year later.
In Dearly Devoted Dexter, Harry is deeply alarmed when Dexter nearly kills the school bully, and takes him to visit a serial killer incarcerated on death row, hoping the condemned man will serve as a living example of the importance of not being caught.
In the TV series
As in the novels, Harry has been dead for many years by the series' main timeline, but remains an important influence on his foster son. Dexter often imagines that he is talking with Harry's spirit, who gives him advice about killing.
Harry's character arc in the TV series differs from that in the novels. Late in the first season, it is revealed that he recovers from his illness. When Juan Rinez, a pimp who murders his own prostitutes, is released due to a faulty search warrant, Harry loses his temper and tells Dexter he was right in training him. When Dexter kills Rinez, Harry is horrified by the way Dexter proudly shows him the pimp's dismembered body; it is Harry's first actual view of Dexter's "work", and he is ashamed of what he had trained Dexter to do. Harry commits suicide a few days later by deliberately overdosing on his medication, but not before telling Matthews to look after his children.
Dexter learns Harry's secrets in the third season, and inadvertently reveals to Debra that Harry had cheated on his wife several times. This revelation has a profound effect on Debra, who loses all respect for the man she had always tried to live up to. Dexter, meanwhile, begins to question Harry's "code", realizing that he is the only one in charge of his "Dark Passenger". It is also revealed in season four that Harry had slept with many of his informants, not just Laura.
In season eight, Dexter learns that Harry had confided in Dr. Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) about young Dexter's homicidal urges, and that she had helped him create Dexter's "code".
Harry finally parts ways with Dexter in the series' penultimate episode, "Monkey in a Box", when Dexter decides to leave serial killer Oliver Saxon (Darri Ingolfsson) for the police and join his son Harrison and girlfriend Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski) at the airport to move to Argentina. Harry tells Dexter that he no longer needs him, and bids him goodbye.