Jennifer Carpenter trained at the Walden Theater Conservatory, and later at Juilliard School. Before graduation she appeared on Broadway, notably alongside Liam Neeson and Laura Linney in the play The Crucible.
Her biggest break came in 2005, when she starred in the horror movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The portrayal attracted critics, and led to a role in another horror film, Quarantine. However, her best known role is in the Showtime series Dexter, where she plays the title character's sister, Debra Morgan.
Carpenter was married to her Dexter co-star Michael C. Hall, although the two filed for divorce in 2010.
- MTV Movie Award, Best Frightened Performance, 2006 (for The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
- Saturn Award, Best Supporting Actress on Television, 2009 (for Dexter)
- People Are Dead (2002)
- Ash Tuesday (2003)
- D.E.B.S. (2004)
- White Chicks (2004)
- Lethal Eviction (2005)
- The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
- The Dog Problem (2006)
- Battle in Seattle (2007)
- Quarantine (2008)
- Faster (2010)
- Dexter (regular, 2006-present)