Dexter: New Blood – The Runaway Killer's True Story Inspiration

Dexter: New Blood’s Runaway Killer is one of the show’s most villainous characters yet, and is actually based on the true story of a notorious real-life serial killer – here is the Dexter: New Blood Runaway killer true story explained. While Dexter Morgan will always be the series’ most important killer, the show has crafted some of the vilest murderers in TV history, many of which are based on real-life counterparts. Aside from New Blood’s menacing Runaway Killer, the original Dexter serial killer, The Trinity Killer, was also based on a true story, pulling from the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader.


The Runaway Killer in New Blood, aka Kurt Caldwell, is a devious character that poses an incredible danger to Dexter due mainly to his friendship with Harrison. Kurt is responsible for dozens of missing women in Iron Lake but has never been caught (until the end) due to his wealth, popularity in town, and careful burial process. His M.O. consists of finding runaways — typically young women — who pass through Iron Lake in search of money and a place to stay. After bringing them back to his isolated cabin, he locks them in a secure room where he watches them via a security camera. After an undisclosed amount of time, Kurt opens the door, letting them run out of the cabin and into the woods, where he hunts them down with a rifle. Dexter: New Blood's Runaway Killer then finds the body and uses medical supplies to clean, embalm, and cosmetically treat his victim.

Related: How Dexter: New Blood Set Up Harrison's Second Victim

As sickening as New Blood’s villain is, the Dexter: New Blood Runaway Killer true story ties to The Butcher Baker killer, aka Robert Hansen. The Butcher Baker operated out of the Anchorage, Alaska area from 1971 to 1983, a period in which he abducted, raped, and murdered at least 17 young women. Just like the Runaway Killer, Hansen would pick up sex workers or transient women and bring them back to his secluded cabin. After arriving, he would fly them to a remote area in the woods and let them run while he hunted them with a semi-automatic rifle and a knife. In Showtime's official Dexter: New Blood Wrap-Up Podcast, writer Scott Reynolds confirmed that the secluded hunting aspect of Kurt Caldwell’s serial killer character is based on the true story of Robert Hansen.

Dexter: New Blood's Runaway Killer: In The Show vs. Real Life

The Dexter: New Blood Runaway Killer true story isn't a direct one-for-one adaptation of real-life, however. The main differences between Caldwell and Hanson are the embalming rituals of the former and the sexual aspects of the latter. Hansen never embalmed his victims, but he did have an unsettling ritual in which he marked the locations of his victims with an “X” on a map. Conversely, New Blood's Kurt Caldwell doesn’t have a sexual fixation on his victims, as demonstrated by his visible and verbal disgust after Chloe began disrobing on the camera. On the other hand, Hansen made sexual assault and violence part of his M.O., with law enforcement realizing his killing was partially due to his frequent rejection by women.

Dexter: New Blood also seemingly drew inspiration from the Butcher Baker when portraying how one of the Runaway Killer's victims was discovered. In Dexter: New Blood, episode 6, "Too Many Tuna Sandwiches," Angela and Teddy search Iron Lake’s caves and find the body of Iris, her best friend who went missing decades ago, buried under a pile of rocks. One of Hansen’s real-life victims that led to his capture was similarly found buried under rocks in a gravel pit. Additionally, neither New Blood’s Kurt Caldwell nor the real-life Butcher Baker inspiration were considered serious suspects until more bodies were discovered.

Dexter Is Based On A Real Serial Killer And Has Also Inspired One

Not only is the Dexter: New Blood Runaway Killer true story a mixture of fact and fiction, but so is Dexter Morgan's serial killer inspiration – and, somewhat chillingly, the show also inspired a real-life killer to start committing murders. The character of Dexter is largely based on a Brazilian serial killer named Pedro Rodrigues Filho. Like Dexter, the murderer claimed only to kill murderers and criminals without taking innocent lives. Filho was convicted of 71 murders, though he likely had over 100 to his name (Dexter, on the other hand, tallied over 140). Despite some thinking that Filho was out for pure vigilantism, he did also take the lives of non-convicted criminals. For example, he killed a man who fired his father after accusing him of stealing food, then went on to murder the actual food thief. While some of his victims were innocent of any actual crimes, most people believe that he killed anyone who didn't stick to his strict moral code — just like Dexter or even Harrison.

Related: How Old Dexter Was When He Started Killing

The most horrifying truth about Dexter is that the character inspired a real serial killer to start committing crimes in Canada. Mark Twitchell, also known as "the Dexter killer," was so taken with the show that he ran his own Dexter Facebook fan page. He often put himself in the character's shoes, describing Dexter's work as his own. Terrifyingly, the aspiring filmmaker lured a man into his garage after posing as a woman looking for a date on PlentyOfFish. Needless to say, he murdered the man and was caught in 2008, being charged with the murder of John Brian Atlinger that same day. Many serial killers in Dexter and Dexter: New Blood are based on real people — including the aforementioned Trinity Killer and even Dexter himself.