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What Jennifer Carpenter Has Been Doing Since Playing Debra Morgan On Dexter

Roughly 15 years ago, Jennifer Carpenter was an up-and-coming actress with a filmography that featured roles on the cast of White Chicks (which you can still watch on streaming platforms) and in hits like The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Carpenter's on-the-rise status change virtually overnight when, in 2006, she booked the second lead on a television series with a considerable amount of buzz around it: Debra Morgan on Showtime's breakout serial killer drama Dexter

The series, initially based on Jeff Lindsay's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, centered on the titular avenging murderer Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall fresh off a lauded run on HBO's iconic drama Six Feet Under. Even with Hall front and center, Carpenter frequently stole the spotlight from Hall with her impassioned turn as Dexter's foster sister Debra, a homicide detective whose caseload often overlapped with her duplicitous brother's own crimes. 

It's been almost seven years since Dexter's divisive finale episode aired, and fans are still wondering if Carpenter's Debra got the send-off she deserved. As for Carpenter herself, she's maintained a lower profile recently, but she's more than kept herself busy since leaving Debra and Dexter behind.

Jennifer Carpenter voiced Black Widow for Marvel

Like so many actors in and around Hollywood over the past decade or so, Jennifer Carpenter eventually found herself with a ticket to ride the Marvel money train. If you're wondering why you can't remember her from any of those money-printing Avengers flicks, it's because Carpenter's Marvel ticket wasn't quite of the first-class nature — she only got to contribute her voice to the ever-expanding Marvel-verse through the animated project Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher. In the 2014 anime film, backed by Japanese animation studio Madhouse, it's Carpenter's golden pipes — and not Scarlett Johansson's voice — that's heard as tough-as-nails Natasha Romanoff, better known as Black Widow.

If you're unfamiliar with Avengers Confidential, it found Carpenter's Black Widow teaming up with the one and only Frank Castle to stop the nefarious LEVIATHAN from putting classified S.H.I.E.L.D. tech into the world via black market backchannels. Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher may not be on par with anything the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe has delivered, but it's a pretty solid animated feature that should be on the radar of any Marvel fan.

Jennifer Carpenter also voiced the would-be Catwoman for DC

Marvel's Black Widow isn't the only big-time comic book character Jennifer Carpenter has voiced since playing Debra Morgan on Dexter. Her second turn in the animated comic book movie world found her voicing Selina Kyle, best known as Gotham City's Catwoman, in Warner Bros. and DC Comics' lavish, 19th-century reimagining of the Dark Knight saga, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Released to largely positive reviews in 2018, Gotham by Gaslight was adapted from the 1989 graphic novel of the same name, itself the first official offering from DC's "Elseworlds" imprint. Both the book and the film feature Bruce Wayne defending the streets of a gloriously steam-punky Gotham as a Victorian-era Batman, eventually facing off against the infamous killer Jack the Ripper.

Hot on the trail of the Ripper, Batman's path naturally crosses with Catwoman, who's also looking to inflict a little justice on the man who's been brutally killing women in Gotham. Batman and Catwoman's tenuous "partnership" proceeds pretty much exactly how you'd expect it would you've ever read a Batman comic, but the action is all the more palatable thanks to the wonderful voice work of Carpenter and her behind-the-scenes Batman Bruce Greenwood.

Jennifer Carpenter brawled in cell block 99 and got Dragged Across Concrete on the big screen

While Jennifer Carpenter has delivered a couple of impressive vocal performances since Dexter rode off to that great logging company in the Pacific Northwest, she hasn't shied away from performing in front of the camera as well, having found a big-screen patron of sorts in cinematic rabble-rouser S. Craig Zahler. If that name sounds familiar, it's because Zahler is the button-pushing provocateur behind such modern B-movie marvels as Bone TomahawkBrawl in Cell Block 99, and 2019's disturbing dirty cop caper Dragged Across Concrete.

In the hyper-violent Brawl in Cell Block 99, Carpenter plays Lauren Thomas, the wife of Vince Vaughn's Bradley Thomas, a retired boxer whose life of crime lands him behind bars at the Redleaf Correctional Facility, where his troubles only grow more intense. Throughout it all — even the more alienating elements of the film — Carpenter stayed devoted to the madness while breathing necessary life into a character that's not quite three-dimensional. She did the same in Dragged Across Concrete, bringing a refreshing humanity to her limited role tortured young mother Kelly Summer, who serves as a smaller character against leads Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, who portray a pair of cops suspended after assaulting a suspect. 

Jennifer Carpenter played both sides on Limitless and The Enemy Within

Jennifer Carpenter has continued to book challenging big-screen roles since leaving Dexter behind, but she's also kept busy looking for another Dexter-like success on the small screen. That search ultimately led Carpenter to the hyper-competitive realm of network television, where she's delivered strong work in largely forgettable dramas. 

The first of Carpenter's post-Dexter TV roles came on the short-lived dramedy Limitless, which was based on the Bradley Cooper-starring movie of the same name. That flick found Cooper tripping the life fantastic after ingesting a wonder drug that enabled him to utilize the full potential of his brain. The television adaptation (produced by Cooper and Joker director Todd Phillips) followed a similar set up — only this time, the "gifted" man is out to make the world a safer place and features Carpenter portraying an FBI Agent tasked with helping focus the man's energies on solving crimes.  

Carpenter's next television venture found her playing the other side of the law as a traitorous former CIA Agent forced to team up with the FBI to help track down their most-wanted spy. Titled The Enemy Within, Carpenter's timely espionage drama had the look of a winner when it hit the air in 2019, but tragically never found its audience and was cancelled after airing just 13 episodes. Here's hoping she has a little better luck with her next TV role.