How Jennifer Carpenter's New Character In The Enemy Within Compares To Dexter

Jennifer Carpenter in The Enemy Within 2019

Jennifer Carpenter has been acting since the early 2000s, but she really rose to fame on Showtime’s Dexter before flipping to network dramas with CBS’ Limitless. She’s heading to NBC for her next project and at TCA this week, she compared her character in The Enemy Within with the snarky comic relief of Debra Morgan, the character that made her a household name. In her words:

It's really not a laughing matter what this show is talking about. She was the deputy director of the FBI, so she was the eyes and ears and had the information that was going to be threatening to the most powerful players in America. So it's not a laughing matter, and it is a fight for her life. So it's a heavy responsibility, and I think in a strange way, having so much experience after eight years on a cable show, this show feels comparable to working in an environment like that, where the subject matter and the caliber of actors and writers and directors that we're working with, it really feels like it challenges an audience in the way that they deserve to be challenged, because TV has changed the way that it has in the last ten years.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association Press tour, for which CinemaBlend was in attendance, Jennifer Carpenter spoke about The Enemy Within. The new show is set to follow Carpenter as Erica Shepherd, a woman who used to work for the CIA before being imprisoned for a traitorous act.

The early trailers have shown a woman who was trapped and felt she had no choice but to make the decision to sell out other agents in order to protect her daughter, which led to an espionage charge. if you haven't taken a look at the new show yet, you can do so below.

That idea of the choices you make affecting everything around you is a theme in her former series as well. This series may have more of a happy ending, however, as Erica will soon find herself working with an FBI Agent, played by Morris Chestnut, to track down a criminal she previously had dealings with.

In a lot of ways, Jennifer Carpenter’s new character isn’t like Dexter’s Debra Morgan. In other ways, both characters have spent time knowing and understanding information that could and does destroy other people. In addition, both shows will have a serious tone and subject matter, per Jennifer Carpenter.

It would be weird if Jennifer Carpenter had just decided to play another role just like Deb, only this time for network TV, but it sounds like her experiences on the Showtime series came at a time when the TV landscape was changing, and they’ve influenced her for The Enemy Within as well.

If any of this sounds intriguing to you, the good news is that The Enemy Within is a midseason show and will be hitting the network very soon. In fact, NBC has it scheduled to air on February 25th at 10 p.m. ET. Be sure to take a look at what else is heading to television with our full midseason TV premiere schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.