Season 1 Episode 3

Popping Cherry

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 15, 2006 on Showtime

Episode Recap

This episode opens at the funeral for Ricky Simmons, the undercover cop who was killed while deep inside Carlos Guerrero's crime family. Dexter's opening line once again sums him up, "Most people have a hard time dealing with death, but I'm not most people." He goes on to say how it is faking the emotional response of grief that is the hard part.

Sgt. Doakes makes it clear to everyone (including the brother of Ricky's wife) that he is going after Guerrero hard. He not only killed Ricky, he killed his wife Kara. From our previous episode, we know Doakes and Kara were having an affair. In response to Deb asking, Dexter says he's holding up well, but his monologue quickly adds that his is not in fact ok, because "keeping my face pinched in sorrow for two hours straight's a real chore."

Dexter lets us know that "Florida prisons kick free 25,000 inmates per year. It is from this group it seems that the next person to be "Dextered" will be found. This time it is Jeremy Downs, a young man who killed a slightly older boy when he was just 15. He got only a light sentence because Dexter tells us that "to the coroner the knife stokes looked random, impulsive, but I saw the work of a young virtuoso." Dexter is absolutely sure that Jeremy will not stop with the one killing and says "But I knew who he was and what he'd do again, all I had to do was circle my calendar and wait."

While helping Rita and her kids plant a lemon tree in their yard, we learn that Rita came to Florida from Michigan and that despite her dreams of fruit trees in her yard, the previously planted tress have all died. In what could be foreshadowing, but is definitely humor, Rita says "I can't help it, I kill things" to which Dexter quickly replies "That must be awful."

A "friend" of Rita's abusive, now imprisoned husband (Paul) shows up and, as Dexter watches helplessly, takes her car as he claims he is owed money for 2 ounces of cocaine. Although the debt is owed by her husband, the man claims she must make good on it and since she does not have the cash, he squeals off in her car.

Deb gets her first official call as a homicide detective; it is another ice truck killing. Apparently without his ice truck, he has left the body in the goal net of the local hockey rink. Dexter is awed by this irony and says "I knew he'd be back, it feels like Christmas morning; look at that, a miracle on ice, stunning!" In another irony, Deb will have to dress up like she's back in vice again, to go back onto the street to get information from the prostitutes she was working with, since the victim is someone Deb knew from her time working undercover on the streets.

At a local flee market Dexter finds young Jeremy out knife shopping, furthering his belief that this young man should be killed. Meanwhile Sgt. Doakes a bold step in confronting Carlos Guerrero at his family's church during a party to celebrate his daughter's confirmation. In front of Carlos' young daughter, Doakes openly accuses him of the murder of Ricky and Kara.

Deb meets with the girls she walked the streets with to get clues on who the ice truck killer is and during her conversations with them; they draw interesting (and compelling) comparisons between the relationship of pimp to worker and Deb to Lt. LaGuerta. The only clue is Cherry was last seen getting into an old model station wagon, the type with wood panels on the side.

A night watchman from the hockey rink has been missing since Cherry's body has been dumped there; Lt. LaGuerta labeled him a suspect based on this fact. When his home is searched and the missing surveillance tape is found, seeming to show him placing the body on the rink, it seems clear to all (except Dexter and Deb) that they have their man, one Tony Tucci.

Dexter contemplates his time being raised by the Morgan's and says "Without the code of Harry, I'm sure I would have committed a senseless murder in my youth, just to watch the blood flow." In a flashback, we see Harry on his death bed, urging Dexter to follow the lessons they had together and to lean on his sister to stay connected if necessary.

Deb and Angel while reviewing the surveillance tape from the rink find evidence that the night watchman may have been forced to place the body where it was, under the direction of the, off camera and still unidentified, ice truck killer.

While interrupting what seems to be Jeremy in the act of committing his next murder, Dexter has a scary run-in with a crocodile. While returning to his car, which has had the window smashed out, he is upset with himself and says "All I had to do was drive home, have a taco, plan my attack, instead I tried to act human, like it's my job to save lives."

On his deathbed, Harry helps Dexter to see that the nurse is a killer. Harry tells Dexter it is time to put all the training they have done together to use and stop her before she can kill again. It seems that this nurse (played by Denise Crosby) will be Dexter's first victim.

Debra gets a dressing down by the Captain when she takes her theories on the ice truck killer directly to him, side-stepping the Lt. The Captain makes it clear that this kind of thing can never happen again and shows Deb that while she has a good chance at making detective some day, she will have to find a way to work with LaGuerta.

In private the Captain also dresses down LaGuerta for not listening to one of her officers (Deb) and we learn that before the media identified her as some sort of "cause" LaGuerta was merely a middle of the road detective. Against Deb's instinct and with the Captain warning her that he won't back her up if she is shown to be wrong, LaGuerta goes ahead with her state-wide manhunt for the night watchman.

At the police station, watching the press conference, Kara's brother (who is also a cop) invites Doakes to meet him after work. He tells him that they are going to go blow off some steam.

While looking around the area where she used to work vice, Deb spots a station wagon matching the description of the one that Cherry was last seen getting into. While walking up to look inside, she spots an elderly black couple in it. Obviously this is not the vehicle belonging to the ice truck killer.

In the car with other cops, Doakes soon learns that they are all going to a home of someone who works for Guerrero and the steam they are going to blow off will come in the form of wearing masks and attacking the man. When he tries to put a stop to it, he learns that the other cops are doing this to make Guerrero go after Doakes since they know about his affair with Kara.

As Dexter confronts what he thinks will be his latest victim, he learns startling information. Jeremy was raped by the boy he was at the park with. Because of this fact, Jeremy murdered the boy who raped him. This information comes just as Dexter is about to stick him with the needle that will render him unconscious. Dexter says "I understand now, why didn't I see it before, Jeremy didn't murder that boy 4 years ago; he was taking out the garbage, just like I do."

So we won't see Dexter kill Jeremy, but we do see him in a flashback killing the nurse. Dexter describes her as his first playmate and goes on to say that "things were a little messy in the beginning, hey; perfecting a new craft takes time."

We also learn that because Dexter killed the nurse, Harry recovered and lived for another year, before he died. Dexter's first killing actually saved Harry's life.

The end of this episode comes with Dexter arriving at Rita's home with a car he has borrowed from the police impound lot. She can use it for the time being. Dexter says that "all you can do is play along at life and hope that sometimes you get it right" but the expression on Rita's face as she says thank you lets him know he has done well. The episode closes with him saying "score one for the little wooden boy."