Jennifer Carpenter

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For the business academic, see Jennifer Carpenter (academic).
Jennifer Carpenter
Jennifer Carpenter by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Carpenter in Dexter season 5.
Born Jennifer Leann Carpenter
(1979-12-07) December 7, 1979 (age 35)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Years active 2001–present
Notable work Debra Morgan on Dexter
Spouse(s) Michael C. Hall (m. 2008–11)
Awards Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television
2009 Dexter

Jennifer Leann Carpenter (born December 7, 1979) is an American actress best known for playing Debra Morgan on the Showtime drama series Dexter (2006–2013), for which she won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Carpenter was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Catherine (née Mitchell) and Robert Carpenter.[1] She attended St. Raphael the Archangel and then Sacred Heart Academy. She trained at the Walden Theatre Conservatory program,[2] and later at New York City's Juilliard School (Drama Division Group 31: 1998–2002).[3] Before graduation, she was cast in the 2002 Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.[4]


Carpenter first attracted critical attention for her performance in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. She took home the 2006 MTV Movie Award for 'Best Frightened Performance', and also received a 'Hollywood Life Breakthrough Award'. She was also named 'Breakout Performer' at the 2006 Scream Awards.

Carpenter played the role of Debra Morgan in the Showtime crime drama television series Dexter which premiered October 1, 2006. Her portrayal of the title character's foster sister has impressed some critics, with Australian journalist Jack Marx describing her portrayal of "cool and clumsy" Debra as "so perfect that many viewers appear to have mistaken the character's flaws for the actor's."[5]

In 2011, she starred in the off-Broadway play Gruesome Playground Injuries at Second Stage Theatre[6] and had a guest appearance on the CBS drama The Good Wife.[7]

In January, 2014, it was announced that Carpenter will star in a new ABC drama Sea of Fire, playing FBI Agent Leah Pierce.[8] However the show was not picked into series.

In August, 2014, it was announced that she will provide the voice of Juli Kidman in the survival horror video game The Evil Within.[9] marking her first video game appearance. The game was released in October 2014.

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, she began dating her Dexter co-star Michael C. Hall.[10] They eloped on New Year's Eve, 2008 in California, and publicly appeared together for the first time as a married couple at the 66th Golden Globe Awards in January 2009.[10] In December 2010, Hall and Carpenter released a statement announcing that they had filed for divorce after having been separated "for some time".[11] The divorce was finalized in December 2011 for irreconcilable differences; however the two remain very close friends. On February 10, 2015, it was announced she is expecting her first child with fiancé Seth Avett.[12][13]

In 2010, she ran the New York City Marathon with Elementary lead and Dexter co-star Jonny Lee Miller, completing it in 3:34.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Nice Guys Sleep Alone Uncredited
2001 People Are Dead Angela's friend #2
2003 Ash Tuesday Samantha
2004 D.E.B.S Hysterical student
2004 White Chicks Lisa
2005 Last Days of America Friend in New York #2
2005 Lethal Eviction
2005 Grayson Arms Sarah/Tessa/Beth
2005 The Exorcism of Emily Rose Emily Rose MTV Movie Award for Best Frightened Performance
Nominated—Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2005 Queen B Kristen Television movie
2006 The Dog Problem Redheaded waitress
2007 Battle in Seattle Sam
2008 Quarantine Angela Vidal
2010 Faster Nan Porterman
2011 Seeking Justice Trudy
2012 Gone Sharon Ames
2012 Ex-Girlfriends Kate Executive Producer
2012 The Factory Kelsey Walker
2014 Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow Voice role[14]
2014 The Devil's Hand Rebekah


Year Title Role Notes
2006–2013 Dexter Debra Morgan 96 episodes
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Prism Award for Female Performance in a Drama Series
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television (2007–09, 2011–13)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2009–12)
2009 Dexter: Early Cuts Debra Morgan 2 episodes
2011 The Good Wife Pamela Raker Episode: "Parenting Made Easy"
2011–2013 Pound Puppies Pepper 5 episodes
2014 Robot Chicken Voice Episode: "Victoria's Secret of NIMH"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 The Evil Within Julie Kidman Voice
2015 The Assignment Julie Kidman DLC


  1. ^ "Jennifer Carpenter: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  2. ^ "Walden Theatre". Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  3. ^ "Alumni News". Juilliard School. March 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ Wilson, Gemma (January 28, 2011). "What's Up, Jennifer Carpenter? The Gruesome Playground Injuries Star on Not Having a Backup Plan". Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ Marx, Jack (July 4, 2008). "Something About Dexter". Retrieved November 10, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Gemma Wilson (January 28, 2011). "What's up, Jennifer Carpenter? The Gruesome Playground Injuries actress on not having a backup plan". Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  7. ^ Ileane Rudolph (November 15, 2011). "First look: Jennifer Carpenter on The Good Wife". TV Guide. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ Lesley Goldberg. "'Dexter's' Jennifer Carpenter to Star in ABC's 'Sea of Fire'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  9. ^ "The Evil Within's voice cast features 'Dexter' and 'Watchmen' stars". Polygon. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Dos Santos, Kristin (January 9, 2009). "Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter Are Married". E! Online. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ Snierson, Dan (December 13, 2010). "'Dexter' stars Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter file for divorce (EW exclusive)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Michael C. Hall Divorce Finalized: Who is 'Dexter' Star Dating Now?". International Business Times. 2011-12-07. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  13. ^ "Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter Divorce 2011: Why Did 'Dexter' Co-stars Split?". EzineMark. 
  14. ^

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