After recently rewatching season four of Showtime's Dexter, I had been wondering if John Lithgow's character Arthur Mitchell aka "The Trinity Killer" was inspired by or loosely based on any known real world or other fictional serial killers or criminals, or any other inspirations??

I know that there is an African American ballet dancer named Arthur Mitchel and in the TV series, one of 'Trinity's' daughters took ballet, but do not know if this is an intentional connection?

I'm just looking for any inspiration from the Executive Producers, Writers, or even John Lithgow

1 Answer 1


Consensus is that The Trinity Killer was "inspired" by Denis Rader, The BTK Killer.

Arthur Mitchell, AKA The Trinity Killer, is hunted by FBI Agent Frank Lundy in Miami, uncovering his yearly ritual murders that mirror the tragedies from his own family. He begins by abducting and killing a 10-year-old boy, murdering a woman in a bathtub, making a woman commit suicide by jumping off a building, and bludgeoning a man to death. While the actual murders don’t reflect a real-life murderer, the life of Arthur Miller is based on that of the notorious BTK serial killer Dennis Rader, who also led a normal life with an unsuspecting family and was heavily involved with his church and community.


In another instance of “borrowing” on Dexter, if Arthur Mitchell, whom Dexter Morgan identifies as the Trinity Killer, seems familiar to any true crime aficionados, it is because his life deeply parallels the history of Dennis Rader (the BTK Killer). Much like Mitchell, for whom John Lithgow won an Emmy, Rader was a seemingly innocent, church-going family man who managed to remain undetected for his many years as a serial murderer.



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