Jennifer Carpenter

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Jennifer Carpenter
Carpenter in 2012
Born (1979-12-07) December 7, 1979 (age 44)[1][2]
EducationJuilliard School (BFA)
Years active1998–present
Known forPlaying Debra Morgan
(m. 2008; div. 2011)
(m. 2016)
Awards2009 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television (for Dexter)

Jennifer Carpenter (born December 7, 1979) is an American actress who is known for her role as Debra Morgan in the Showtime series Dexter, for which she earned a Saturn Award in 2009, and also for playing Rebecca Harris in the CBS television series Limitless.

In 2019, she played Erica Shepherd, the lead role in the NBC drama The Enemy Within. In 2020, Carpenter voiced Sonya Blade in the direct-to-video martial arts film Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge (2020), a role she reprised in the sequel Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms (2021).

Early life[edit]

Carpenter was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Catherine (née Mitchell) and Robert Carpenter.[3] She attended St. Raphael the Archangel and then Sacred Heart Academy. She trained at the Walden Theatre Conservatory program,[4] and later at New York City's Juilliard School (Drama Division Group 31: 1998–2002).[5]

Before graduation, she was cast in the 2002 Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.[6]


Carpenter in 2010

Carpenter first attracted critical attention for her performance in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. She took home the 2006 MTV Movie Award for "Best Frightened Performance", and received a "Hollywood Life Breakthrough Award". She was named "Breakout Performer" at the 2006 Scream Awards.

In 2008, she starred in Quarantine, an American remake of the 2007 Spanish horror film [REC], about a deadly zombie virus outbreak in an apartment complex.

Carpenter played the role of Debra Morgan in the Showtime crime drama television series Dexter, which premiered October 1, 2006. Her portrayal of the title character's adoptive sister impressed a number of critics, with Australian journalist Jack Marx describing her portrayal of "cool and clumsy" Debra as "so perfect that many viewers appear to have mistaken the character's flaws for the actor's."[7]

In 2011, she starred in the off-Broadway play Gruesome Playground Injuries at Second Stage Theatre[8] and had a guest appearance on the CBS drama The Good Wife.[9]

(L-R): John Lithgow, Jennifer Carpenter, Julie Benz and Michael C. Hall at the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2009

In January 2014, it was announced that Carpenter would star in a new ABC drama Sea of Fire, playing FBI Agent Leah Pierce.[10] However, the show was not picked up as a series. In August 2014, it was announced that she would provide the voice of Juli Kidman in the survival horror video game The Evil Within,[11] marking her first video game appearance. The game was released in October 2014, and Carpenter provided voicework for two of The Evil Within's DLC chapters, "The Assignment" and "The Consequence", which featured Juli Kidman as the playable protagonist. However, Carpenter did not reprise the role in the game's sequel, The Evil Within 2, and her character was recast.

In early 2015, Carpenter was cast in the CBS drama series Limitless in which she co-starred with Jake McDorman.[12][13]

On July 13, 2021, Showtime confirmed that Carpenter would reprise her role of Debra Morgan in a 10-episode limited series, Dexter: New Blood, with Clyde Phillips returning as showrunner. The series premiered on November 7, 2021.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, she began dating her Dexter co-star Michael C. Hall.[16] They eloped on New Year's Eve 2008 in California and publicly appeared together for the first time as a married couple at the 66th Golden Globe Awards in January 2009.[16] In December 2010, Hall and Carpenter released a statement announcing that they had filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, after having been separated "for some time".[17] The divorce was finalized in December 2011;[18] the two remain very close friends.[19][20]

On February 10, 2015, it was announced that Carpenter and musician Seth Avett were engaged and expecting their first child. In August 2015, it was revealed that Carpenter had given birth in May to a son and admitted that she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when shooting the pilot episode of Limitless.[21][22] Carpenter and Avett married in May 2016.



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Nice Guys Sleep Alone Uncredited
2000 Bring It On Random girl
2001 People Are Dead Angela's friend #2
2003 Ash Tuesday Samantha
2004 D.E.B.S. Hysterical student
2004 White Chicks Lisa Anderson
2005 Last Days of America Friend in New York #2
2005 Lethal Eviction Sarah/Tessa/Beth Also known as Grayson Arms
2005 The Exorcism of Emily Rose Emily Rose MTV Movie Award for Best Frightened Performance
Nominated—Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2006 The Dog Problem Redheaded waitress
2007 Battle in Seattle Sam
2008 Quarantine Angela Vidal
2010 Faster Nan Porterman
2011 Seeking Justice Trudy
2012 Gone Sharon Ames
2012 The Factory Kelsey Walker
2012 Ex-Girlfriends Kate Executive producer
2014 Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (voice) English version[23][24]
2014 The Devil's Hand Rebekah
2015 Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery Chikara (voice) Direct-to-video[24]
2017 Brawl in Cell Block 99 Lauren Thomas
2018 Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Selina Kyle (voice) Direct-to-video
2018 Dragged Across Concrete Kelly Summer
2020 Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge Sonya Blade (voice) Direct-to-video[25][24]
2021 Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms Sonya Blade (voice) Direct-to-video[26][24]
2021 A Mouthful of Air Lucy
TBA Quarantine 3: Genesis Angela Vidal


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Queen B Kristen Television film
2006–2013 Dexter Debra Morgan Main role
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Prism Award for Female Performance in a Drama Series
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television (2007–2009, 2011–2013)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2009–2012)
2009 Dexter: Early Cuts Debra Morgan 2 episodes
2011 The Good Wife Pamela Raker Episode: "Parenting Made Easy"
2011–2013 Pound Puppies Pepper (voice) 5 episodes[24]
2014 Robot Chicken Voices Episode: "Victoria's Secret of NIMH"
2015–2016 Limitless Rebecca Harris Main role
2019 The Enemy Within Erica Shepherd Main role
2021–2022 Dexter: New Blood Debra Morgan Limited series; sequel to Dexter

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 The Evil Within Juli Kidman [24]


  1. ^ "Jennifer Carpenter". Rotten Tomatoes.
  2. ^ "Jennifer Carpenter Biography".
  3. ^ "Jennifer Carpenter: Biography". Archived from the original on April 22, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  4. ^ "Walden Theatre". Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  5. ^ "Alumni News". Juilliard School. March 2010. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Wilson, Gemma (January 28, 2011). "What's Up, Jennifer Carpenter? The Gruesome Playground Injuries Star on Not Having a Backup Plan". Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  7. ^ Marx, Jack (July 4, 2008). "Something About Dexter". Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  8. ^ Wilson, Gemma (January 28, 2011). "What's up, Jennifer Carpenter? The Gruesome Playground Injuries actress on not having a backup plan". Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  9. ^ Rudolph, Ileane (November 15, 2011). "First look: Jennifer Carpenter on The Good Wife". TV Guide. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. "Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter to Star in ABC's Sea of Fire". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ "The Evil Within's voice cast features Dexter and Watchmen stars". Polygon. August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 12, 2015). "Jennifer Carpenter To Co-Star In CBS Pilot Limitless". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  13. ^ Ausiello, Michael (June 9, 2015). "CBS Premiere Dates For Fall 2015: Supergirl Launches after Big Bang". TVLine.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 13, 2021). "Dexter: Jennifer Carpenter Returns For Revival On Showtime". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  15. ^ Turchiano, Danielle (July 25, 2021). "Dexter Revival Series Unveils First Look Trailer and November Premiere Date". Variety. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Dos Santos, Kristin (January 9, 2009). "Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter Are Married". E! Online. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  17. ^ Snierson, Dan (December 13, 2010). "Dexter stars Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter file for divorce (EW exclusive)". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  18. ^ "Jennifer Carpenter Cries Over Michael C. Hall Divorce at Dexter Event". Us Weekly. September 13, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "Michael C. Hall Divorce Finalized: Who is Dexter Star Dating Now?". International Business Times. December 7, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  20. ^ "Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter Divorce 2011: Why Did Dexter Co-stars Split?". EzineMark.
  21. ^ "Seth Avett and Jennifer Carpenter Welcome First Child". People. August 10, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  22. ^ Takeda, Allison (August 10, 2015). "Jennifer Carpenter Welcomes First Child With Fiance Seth Avett". Us Weekly. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  23. ^ Wheatley, Cliff (March 14, 2014). "Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher Review". IGN.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "Jennifer Carpenter (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved October 14, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  25. ^ Couch, Aaron (January 17, 2020). "Animated Mortal Kombat Movie Sets Cast With Joel McHale, Jennifer Carpenter". Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  26. ^ Couch, Aaron (June 16, 2021). "Animated 'Mortal Kombat Legends' Sequel Arriving This Summer (Exclusive)". Retrieved June 16, 2021.

External links[edit]