Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dexter Character Rita Bennett

We first meet Rita Bennett played by actress Julie Benz in the first episode of Showtime’s Dexter. We learn that Dexter’s adopted sister Deborah “Deb” Morgan introduced them after she saved Rita’s life during a domestic violence incident involving Rita’s husband.

Deb Morgan has no idea that her brother Dexter is a serial killer and she only sees the good in him. After seeing how broken Rita has become, she introduced the two as she knew that her adopted brother was a great guy who would never hurt the abused Rita.

For his part, Dexter appreciates the relationship with Rita. She’s emotionally broken and unstable at first and that was just fine with Dexter. After the repeated abuse and rapes of her husband, Rita just wanted someone who nice to her and two children, daughter Astor and son Cody.

Dexter was perfect because he was undemanding in every aspect of their relationship. Rita was put off of sex due to her husbands past rapes and Dexter liked that because he felt that sex was “undignified”.

Rita Bennett is an enigma because she appears weak most of the time and she is, however if you push her enough, you will eventually find that she does have a backbone. Rita lets you see the woman she would have been if not for the abuse of her husband Paul Bennett.

At first, Dexter appreciated his small relationship with Rita because he figured that she was too damaged inside to notice that he was far from normal. Although Dexter claims that he has no feelings and cares about no one, you see that he cares for Rita’s children and they love having him around.

When Paul Bennett is freed from jail earlier than expected, he begins to cause new problems for Rita and Dexter is less than happy about it. Even though he claims to have changed, Paul still has violent outbursts and is extremely jealous of Dexter being around his family. After Paul claims to love his children while simultaneously threatening Rita, Dexter puts a plan in motion to keep Paul away from Rita, Cody and Astor.

Rita is both strong and weak at times. She stands firm against her husband and does not want him around the children unless he can show that he has changed from the cocaine addicted abuser that he was. When he comes to her home drunk, she doesn’t take his abuse. She instead fends him off with a baseball bat to the head.

On the other hand, her next door neighbor begins to ruin her times at home when her dog barks all day and night. Dexter tried and failed to talk the woman into quieting the dog or having it transferred elsewhere and Rita paid her a short visit. It became quite clear that the neighbor is aware of Rita’s abused past.

The neighbor laughs and throws verbal jabs at Rita as she finds it ironic that Rita could not stand up to her drug using husband, but wants to stand up to others. Rita eventually creates a plan with Dexter that consisted of kidnapping the noisy dog and giving him to a fellow coworker whose kids wanted a pet.

Next to her marriage to Paul Bennett, Rita’s mother Gail is another cause of her daily stress. One has to wonder if Rita’s overbearing mother made her susceptible to Paul’s abuse in the past. In season two of Dexter, Gail comes to visit Rita after she received the bad news about Paul.

We learned that the relationship between mother and daughter was always strained but it reached its breaking point when Rita married Paul against her mother’s wishes. Gail refused to visit Rita and feels that her daughter got what she deserved for ignoring her advice and demands about Paul. Gail is also suspicious of Dexter but it’s only because she feels that Rita is bad at picking the men in her life.

Gail began taking over Rita’s life and sucking the joy out of her grandchildren with extra strict rules. She also forbids them from calling Dexter. Rita finally shows that she is tough by standing up to her mother after she insulted the children. Rita finds out that her mother wanted to live with her because she was fired from her career as a teacher. Rita realizes that she is not the only one that can’t put up with her mother. Gail is just an unpleasant person to deal will.

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