I have watched through Dexter and there are multiple references to Harry's code of conduct, but they're never listed specifically in any of the episodes as far as I remember.

I know that the first rule is Don't get caught, the second rule is Never kill an innocent...

What are the various rules in Harry's code of conduct?

3 Answers 3


In this reference on the Dexter Wiki the rules are essentially all that you state above (in the simplest form). These are:

  1. Never get caught
  2. Never kill an innocent

There are various hints in dialogue that there may be more rules but seeing as the code was never written down we may never know unless stated in the show.

Looking further into it, it seems that not having a family besides Deb might be against the code. Though, this can be argued as general advice to continue his ways vs an actual rule of the code.


Never get caught

Make sure they deserve it

Never kids

Never make a scene

Fake emotion and normality to fit in.

When taking a psychology personality test, always answer the question with the opposite of what you feel.

Never get emotionally involved.

victims must be killers who the police have been unable to catch or convict

control urges, channel them

Don't leave any traces.

  • "victims must be killers who the police have been unable to catch or convict" If that's part of the code, Dexter breaks it on a number of occasions when he actually diverts the police from a suspect so that he can have them for his table. Given Harry is not haranguing him during those times, I'd wager it was not part of the code. Feb 24, 2017 at 19:03

“The Code of Harry”

Rule 1: Never kill an innocent Rule 2: Don’t Get caught

If you look back in the earlier seasons, you will notice a young Dexter, about 15 years old, and not 38 year old Dexter with a wig made to look 20. 😂

Anyways, Harry was adamant about guiding Dexter towards killing only those that kill the innocent. It’s left as a check list for Dexter to make sure his targets are killing innocent people before committing them to his table. Dexter believes he is a sociopath, so he does not care who is innocent, only that if his vetting, stalking and research leads him to his sense that they are killers and he gets that creepy feeling towards them. They all eventually meet his table, begging for their lives before admitting their crimes. They think they can manipulate a manipulator. He levels with them, sharing his passion for killing and in a sense unmasking his killers as fakes. He believes a true psychopath would egg Dexter on trying to wear him down, and convince Dexter that their kills were justified in the same way as ‘Harry’s Code’.

Look closely when Dexter arrives at every crime scenes. To him, decoding, what went down, with professionalism without trying to hide his passion for blood running deeper that it lights up Doakes’s creepo-meter. And Doakes was right on, probably the best detective, underrated and sorely underutilized would have made for a better story of his end than he deserved. May he Rest In Peace.

Dexter reveals in blood as if he did it himself. Gives me the idea Dexter is speculating how he would go about it. It’s like a serial killers’ Comic-Con of who killed who meets docu-drama all while critiquing how they would have done it better. “Give em the chair”, the crowd screams with zeal.

It was only after meeting Vogel, Dexter learned that Vogel suggested indirectly that Dexter have one rule: Never get caught. As she explains to give Dexter wiggle room to satisfy his urges. She sees him as a specimen to be studied and ignores Dexter’s twisted sense of serial killer/vigilante justice that doesn’t let criminals slip thru the cracks of the system.

I think having ‘never kill an innocent’ was more of Harry’s moral sense of right and wrong clashed with Vogels ‘Don’t get caught’ suggests Dexter be a practical Killer, living a mundane life; a cover for his activities. I see Dexter showing anger and frustration later on in season 8 with Deb, Vogel, work life and family life.

I say riding along the moral compase of what Dexter considers normal’ is what the 8 season Dexter ride is all about: anonimity and the thrill of success, especially knowing how well Harry prepared him for the life or lack of that he would have for himself.

  • Yet we keep hearing throughout the show "Rule 1: don't get caught".
    – Déjà vu
    Dec 11, 2020 at 3:41

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