In the season 7 finale of Dexter, Hannah has Arlene slip her some sort of drug that seems to have a delayed effect of causing serious seizures and lasts long enough only to allow her to the hospital to escape.

What was this drug and are the effects realistic?

2 Answers 2


It could be a lot of things. Here are a list of drugs and toxins that can cause seizures.


More than likely it was some sort of poison as that was her area of expertise. Most any substances taken orally will have a delayed effect. In this case, I don't believe it was too long after.

She most likely took too much knowing it would cause a seizure but also probably knew that they'd take her to a hospital before it killed her. At that point though I don't think she really cared if she lived or died as long as she didn't have to go to jail. At least that's what the visiting scene with Arlene made it seem like.


Ignoring for a moment that Dexter doesn’t shine with medical realism, I consider it more plausible that Hannah faked the seizure, while the drug is only used to simulate some symptoms (sweat, heart rate, etc.) for the following reasons:

  • Seizures such as the one displayed by Hannah are exhausting and not without danger, both of which is detrimental to Hannah’s escape plans.

  • It would fit Hannah’s style to have such a get-out-of-jail card planned. This allows her to get to know and train the symptoms to fake. Also this reduces Arlene as a risk factor.

  • I wouldn’t expect that the people who attended Hannah could only spot a fake seizure if she made a blatant mistake. There are two reasons for this:

    • Even most professionals have very little actual experience with seizures: I heard of a statistics (but fail to find it) that only every second neurologist ever witnesses a seizure in their entire career. I myself worked in an epilepsy clinic for more than seven years (but without patient interaction) and still have never witnessed a seizure.

    • Seizures are not an if-you-know-one-you-know-all thing, but come in various flavours.

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