There are characters who remain present on the scene for a short time but who manage to leave an indelible mark on all those who loved them and loved the series that hosted them. Frank Lundy, the kind agent of Dexteris certainly one of these and if it has not been completely forgotten we owe it not only to the charm and skill of its interpreter, Keith Carradine, but above all to the characterization of a character who, in a series like Dexterit’s a real anomaly.
Frank Lundy is a good man. A feature that in Dexter it doesn’t occur that frequently. Maybe that’s why we can never forget him.
Present in the second and fourth seasons of the series, Lundy is immediately presented as a true legend in the field of investigation. He is part of the FBI elite, he is an agent with great experience and his daily bread is serial killers: precisely for this reason he appears in the same police station where Dexter and Debra Morgan work, to hunt down a serial killer. The Bay Harbor Butcher, the killer who terrorizes the city of Miami.
It’s Dexter, of course, but only the audience knows that. And, despite being used to rooting for the protagonist and hoping that he continues to get away with it, he doesn’t dispense Lundy, the super agent who is supposed to unmask him, from his dislike, on the contrary: we all fell in love with him. Someone, in the series, goes further: Debra, who immediately falls under the dandy and measured charm of Frank Lundy.
He wants her on the task force that will deal with the Bay Harbor butcher and the news galvanizes her: Debra never felt like she was in her place in that police station. Woman among men but considered too “tomboyish” to curry favor with those who matter; her boss, Maria LaGuerta, does not value her and does not believe in her, also because she is also a single woman in charge and would like to remain so. Debra also undeniably has problems with her father figure: her father, Harry Morgan, has spent his whole life dealing with his brother Dexter’s “problems” and Debra has always been neglected in favor of that strange and problematic boy.
Debra has never had a father and, perhaps, the first thing she looked for in Frank Lundy was a father figure.
Debra also comes from a traumatic experience, imprisonment in the hands of Dexter’s brother, Brian, aka the killer of the fridge truck. What she needs is stability, security and someone who loves her and trusts in herwho takes care of her like no one has ever done in life.
Their relationship begins like this: an injection of trust on the part of Lundy, who senses the talent of that girl with a mouth always full of vulgarity but a big heart, she who adores him and who would do anything to demonstrate what she is capable of doing. So yes, the love between Lundy and Debra probably would never have been born if she hadn’t had an absent father and he wasn’t the reassuring, wise and faithful figure she needed.
Frank Lundy is just that: one of the few good people we meet in Dexter, and not even his uncommon intelligence and his long experience in the field of high-level investigation can stain his conscience with malice. Lundy is a man of integrity, with firm principles, unshakeable and incorruptible by the evil he sees every day: yet this does not prevent him from also being a genuinely nice person who, thanks to Debra’s freshness, finds a light-heartedness that the death of his wife had removed.
A love between two people who apparently couldn’t be more different, yet who recognize each other directly: “You are exactly like me, only in a much more attractive package”the FBI agent tells her, revealing his love for her.
E Dexter? Will he remain unmoved by seeing this man of integrity, the serial killer hunter who never makes a mistake, who puts together the pieces of the puzzle to frame him? To get Lundy away Dexter certainly cannot contemplate killing him: he would not respect Harry’s Code, the moral compass that his father gave him when he sensed the dark nature of his adopted son. Dexter will have to play dirty and, with a diabolical move to say the least, he will remove two obstacles in one fell swoop, Lundy and Sergeant James Doakes, who never liked him.
By having Doakes blamed for the murders that he actually committed, Dexter frees himself from an annoying spanner in the works and from an adversary who had all the tools to frame him. And, if we think about it, Lundy demonstrates in multiple moments of Dexter to have sensed the darkness that stirs inside that apparently calm and detached young man.
Lundy, in the second season, tells Dexter that the only justification for killing is to save a human life, which is precisely the motivation that drives the pathologist to give vent to his impulses. That she says this to him is bizarre, unless there is another message underneath: that the agent suspected something but had no concrete proof and, ultimately, somehow understood his motivations, even though he didn’t agree with them.
Even criticizing Dexter for his inaccurate blood tests on the Anthony Rodrigo case (one of the murderers that our protagonist wanted free so he could kill him) makes us understand that Lundy is too smart to fall for games, just as the provocation is obvious “If you were the butcher of Bay Harbor, what would you do?”which are a subtle way to get him to cheat on himself. Unfortunately for Lundy, Dexter is immune to any tactic that affects his emotional sphere, because he doesn’t have one. Even as the evidence piled up against Sergeant Doakes, Lundy’s intuition always pointed elsewhere.
His love for Debra probably made him stop pursuing his suspicions: if there hadn’t been their relationship, we are sure, Lundy would have been the only one truly capable of unmasking Dexter. But his love and loyalty to her won out, and not even her second chance in season four will lead him to put his feelings aside to pursue her duty.
During the hunt for the Trinity Killer, in the fourth season, we often have the impression that Lundy hopes that Dexter will arrive first and be able to kill him, because it is better to have a killer like Dexter on the loose than one like Trinity. Lundy, as a pragmatic man, acted from the perspective of a “necessary evil”letting Dexter go free because the prospect of Trinity triumphing was far more terrifying.
Unfortunately for Lundy, the moment will never come to sigh with relief for the elimination of Trinity by the bloodthirsty boy: his fate is to die in a parking lot, in an almost banal way and certainly not worthy of a man like him. A scene that shocked all viewers of Dexter and which remains imprinted even years after the end of the series: the rediscovered chemistry between Debra and Lundy, which seemed to be a prelude to a relationship finally lived without constraints or the need to hide, is cruelly broken.
“Remain with me”, Debra says to the dying Frank. And we would like it to be that way at all costs.
Lundy’s death is necessary for the purposes of the plot because it will allow Dexter, having taken possession of the evidence collected by the detective, to reach Trinity and kill him, indirectly avenging the death of that kind agent, too honest to survive in the jungle of Miami. But it is also one of the points of no return for the serieswhich from that moment will begin a decline that will lead to two endings that we have told you about in many articles, among the most controversial in the history of television.
Lundy’s death, in fact, marks a turning point for the character of Debra, who will never fully recover: the one with the FBI agent was, in fact, the great love story that this character deserved and never had. After her death, Debra is deprived of the only figure who had ever conveyed security, trust and affection to her: the darkness that the loss has left inside her will grow more and more and will reach the point of no return when she finds herself kill LaGuerta to protect his brother.
Killing Frank Lundy, therefore, was the first serious mistake made in Dexter.
The character of the FBI agent went from being a source of strength and inspiration for Debra to being reduced to a sort of emotional stick with which to strike her, to the point of pushing her to self-annihilation. Deprived of the only figure who had shown her love, Debra will project her desperate need for affection and protection onto her brother, ending up falling in love with him, in a narrative turn that is questionable to say the least and marks another tombstone on the series.
Although his exit marks one of the first signs of decline of Dexter, Frank Lundy’s death touched us deeply, shocking an entire generation of viewers. If you had forgotten about him, but even if you can never forget him, remember him as one of the true moral beacons of the series, as well as for his charismatic, magnetic, funny and kind personality.
Giulia Vanda Zennaro