Jennifer Carpenter: What To Watch If You Like The Dexter Star
Debra Morgan is just one shade of Jennifer Carpenter.
Everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed Miami cop, Debra Morgan, is back from beyond the grave in the Dexter: New Blood cast to become the new hallucinatory guide to her adoptive brother, and everyone’s favorite serial killer (Michael C. Hall). It is wonderful to see Jennifer Carpenter return to her best-known role from the Dexter cast for Showtime’s limited series revival, but it also makes me interested in revisiting (or even discovering for the first time) some of her other more notable roles on the big and small screen.
So, let’s make like a psychopath on the run and take a quick look at some of the actress’ greatest hits, starting with the second time she played a character with a badge on TV.
An ordinary 28-year-old man (Jake McDorman) gains extraordinary mental abilities with the help of a pill that unlocks his brain at full capacity and gets him hired as a consultant for the FBI.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: In 2015, two years after the Dexter series finale, Jennifer Carpenter was promoted from Miami lieutenant-turned-private investigator to an FBI agent partnered with the gifted protagonist of CBS’ Limitless - a short-lived, but well-liked, TV series spun-off from the 2011 Bradley Cooper movie of the same name, which even sees the Oscar nominee reprise his role in a few episodes.
Stream Limitless on Paramount+.
Buy Limitless on Amazon.
Brawl In Cell Block 99 (Amazon Rental)
Desperate for money to support his wife and new child, a former heavyweight boxer (Vince Vaughn) accepts a job as a drug runner and ends up in prison, where a dire situation forces him to return to his violent ways.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: In 2017, Jennifer Carpenter once again found herself calling a dangerous criminal family when she played Vince Vaughn’s adulterous wife in Brawl in Cell Block 99 - a relentlessly gritty and gripping crime drama from Bone Tomahawk writer and director S. Craig Zahler.
Rent/Buy Brawl In Cell Block 99 on Amazon.
Dragged Across Concrete (Amazon Rental)
Desperate for money after their overzealous behavior puts them on suspension, an aging police officer (Mel Gibson) and his younger partner (Vince Vaughn) turn to crime, but the result is more than they bargained for.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: In her second time working with Vince Vaughn and writer and director S. Craig Zahler, Jennifer Carpenter plays a bank employee caught up in a deadly heist on her first day back from maternity leave in 2018’s Dragged Across Concrete - yet another epic crime drama from Zahler that takes no prisoners.
Rent/Buy Dragged Across Concrete on Amazon.
The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (IMDb TV)
A lawyer (Laura Linney) without strong religious convictions is tasked with helping a priest (Tom Wilkinson) avoid conviction after he performs an exorcism on a teenage girl (Jennifer Carpenter) that ends with her tragic death.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: One of Jennifer Carpenter’s earliest credits that really began to skyrocket her to stardom was 2005’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose, from co-writer and director Scott Derrickson, which is one of the more interesting and best horror movies about demonic possession in recent memory - not only for Carpenter’s stunning performance in the title role, but its allegedly fact-based origins.
Stream The Exorcism Of Emily Rose on IMDb TV.
Rent/Buy The Exorcism Of Emily Rose on Amazon.
An ambitious TV reporter (Jennifer Carpenter), her cameraman (Steve Harris), and others find themselves locked against their will inside a Los Angeles apartment complex where a strange, deadly, rapidly evolving virus has suddenly broken out.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: Jennifer Carpenter furthur established herself among the top horror movie scream queens as the lead of 2009’s Quarantine - a well-done English-language remake of the 2007 Spanish hit, [REC], which is cited as one of the scariest found footage thrillers of all time by fans of the subgenre.
Stream Quarantine on Starz.
Rent/Buy Quarantine on Amazon.
White Chicks (HBO Max)
Two Black FBI agents and cousins (Shawn and Marlon Wayans) go deep undercover as the two young, white heiresses they have been assigned to protect during a weekend in the Hamptons.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: In the role of a young, grossly conceited rich woman, Jennifer Carpenter got to show off her comedic side early on in 2004 with White Chicks - a cult favorite from director Keenen Ivory Wayans and his brothers (and co-writers) Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans of the In Living Color cast fame.
Stream White Chicks on HBO Max.
Rent/Buy White Chicks on Amazon.
Lethal Eviction (Tubi, IMDb TV)
A man (The Breakfast Club cast member Judd Nelson) purchases a run-down apartment complex thinking he has made a decent investment, only to see his tenants mysteriously suffer increasingly brutal deaths one person at a time.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: A year after White Chicks, Jennifer Carpenter starred in a more intensely dramatic movie about twins called Lethal Eviction, in which she gives a tour de force performance as the two visually identical sisters at the center of director Michael Feifer’s directorial debut, before he became better known for lighter movies you might see on Hallmark.
Stream Lethal Eviction on Tubi.
Stream Lethal Eviction on IMDb TV.
Rent/Buy Lethal Eviction on Amazon.
Battle In Seattle (Tubi, IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Plex, Crackle)
An intense divide begins to emerge between the World Trade Organization and the participants of what was meant to be a peaceful protest of the organization’s meeting in Seattle, Washington, resulting in a violent collision with the local police and the National Guard.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: As part of a star-studded ensemble that also includes Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson, to name a few, Jennifer Carpenter plays an innocent, non-violent protester caught up in the ensuing tragedy depicted in Battle In Seattle, which was released in 2007 and inspired by a real incident from 1999, but still feels frighteningly relevant today.
Stream Battle In Seattle on Tubi.
Stream Battle In Seattle on IMDb TV.
Stream Battle In Seattle on Pluto TV.
Stream Battle In Seattle on Plex.
Stream Battle In Seattle on Crackle.
Rent/Buy Battle In Seattle on Amazon.
Faster (Amazon Rental)
Almost immediately after he is released from prison, a hardened loner (Dwayne Johnson) goes after all of the people he believes are responsible for the death of his brother, while a veteran police officer (Academy Award nominee Billy Bob Thornton) and a slick hitman (The Haunting of Bly Manor cast member Oliver Jackson-Cohen) are hot on his trail.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: Do not be discouraged by the fact that Jennifer Carpenter is merely credited as “The Woman” in this fast-paced, 2011 revenge thriller, because very few of the main cast members are given formal names (Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton are literally called “Driver” and “Cop,” respectively), and her character - another instance of the actress wearing a badge - actually plays a pivotal role in director George Tilman Jr.’s Faster in ways that I will not spoil for you.
Gone (Amazon Rental)
After her sister suddenly goes missing, a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) becomes convinced that she was taken by the man who abducted her two years earlier, and sets out to confront to him on her own, only because the authorities do not seem to believe what she says is true.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: Nearly a decade before they were co-stars in the acclaimed 2021 drama A Mouthful of Air, Jennifer Carpenter starred alongside future Academy Award nominee Amanda Seyfried in the 2012 mystery thriller, Gone, as a mother of two who becomes one of the few people who believes what she claims about her sister’s disappearance.
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher (Tubi)
After he is taken into custody by Black Widow (Jennifer Carpenter), brutal vigilante Frank Castle (Brian Bloom) is then ordered by Nick Fury to team up with the former assassin to go after a sinister organization that recently stole top secret technology from S.H.I.E.L.D.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: Jennifer Carpenter has actually leant her voice to a few different animated superhero movies, - the first being 2014’s Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, in which she gives a performance as Natasha Romanoff that almost rivals Scarlett Johansson’s celebrated portrayal in grit.
Stream Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher on Tubi.
Rent/Buy Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher on Amazon.
Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (HBO Max)
The wealthy, idealistic Bruce Wayne (Bruce Greenwood) dons his newly realized, dark vigilante persona to put an end to the killing streak of an elusive assailant being referred to as Jack the Ripper in 19th-Century Gotham City.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Jennifer Carpenter: In her second animated superhero movie and first dip into the DC movies, Jennifer Carpenter puts a Victorian Era spin on the character of Selina Kyle (better known as Catwoman in modern day-set comics) in 2018’s Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - an intriguing period drama inspired by the first Elseworlds story ever published by DC Comics.
Stream Batman: Gotham By Gaslight on HBO Max.
Rent/Buy Batman: Gotham By Gaslight on Amazon.
With one of the coolest animated Marvel movies and one of the most unique DC animated movies under her belt, it is hard to be believe that Jennifer Carpenter still has yet to star in any live-action comic book adaptations. Maybe she and Michael C. Hall could make their debuts together?
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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