Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Hannah Was Such A Polarizing Character For Dexter Fans

"Dexter" was one of Showtime's most popular original shows during its initial run of eight seasons from 2006 to 2013. Michael C. Hall's portrayal of the serial-killing forensics expert Dexter Morgan earned him six Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. 

In the eight-episode reboot, "Dexter: New Blood," Dexter has moved on to the fictional town of Iron Lake, New York, calls himself Jim Lindsay, and is dating local police chief Angela Bishop (Julia Jones). His son Harrison (Jack Alcott), now 16 years old, tracks Dexter down and tells him that the woman that Harrison knows as his mother, Hannah McKay, died in Argentina while they waited in vain for Dexter to join them.

Hannah, played in the original series by Yvonne Strahovski, does not appear in "New Blood" either in the flesh or in spirit, but her presence is felt through Harrison's stories and Dexter's apparent guilt. But of Dexter's major love interests throughout the series, his relationship with Hannah is the most complex and controversial.

Hannah McKay and Dexter weren't a typical couple

Hannah McKay is introduced in "Dexter" Season 7, Episode 3, "Buck the System." Strahovski's performance is chilling and sinister, while also introducing a warmth and intimacy to Dexter's life he hasn't experienced before. Eventually, he comes to depend on Hannah enough to entrust her with Harrison's care and upbringing. But despite the trust she's able to earn from Dexter, Hannah remains a polarizing character. Many wonder why Dexter doesn't cooperate with his sister Deb's (Jennifer Carpenter) zealous efforts to bring Hannah to justice, while others defend her based on her loyalty and dedication to Dexter and Harrison.

In a thread on the Dexter subreddit, u/Dberka210 points out that "Hannah pushed Dexter to do dangerous, stupid things" and isolates him from Deb, calling this behavior "abuse." U/Lollyadverb1984 was one of many who agreed with them, saying that the fact that she "was willing to accept his bad behavior doesn't mean she was who was best for him." The disruption of Dexter and Deb's relationship and her position in his life as an enabler are echoed by many, with u/11xomr11 going so far as to say that Hannah "ruined the sanctity of the murder table."

On the other hand, u/Vicky-Momm unpacks the Dexter-Hannah-Debra triangle in great detail, concluding that it's "Debra's jealousy and selfishness and constant overwhelming need to control Dexter" that gets her killed, and that ultimately, Hannah's success in raising Harrison should redeem her in viewers' eyes.