Dembe is introduced as a Muslim former freedom fighter from South Sudan. It was assumed that he was Raymond Reddington's bodyguard. The episode "The Mombasa Cartel" revealed that he was born the youngest son of a farmer named Samwel Zuma. When Samwel reported a number of low-ranking operatives of the Mombasa Cartel, a poaching organization, to the authorities, the cartel killed Dembe's father, mother, and siblings, and sold Dembe to human traffickers. At some point, he was being held by the Eberhardt Cartel. He spent eight years in the world of human trafficking and was enslaved until the age of 14, when Reddington found him half-dead and chained to a pipe in the basement of a brothel in Nairobi. Reddington took care of him, nursed him back to health, and made sure he got an education. Dembe eventually earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, learned to speak four languages fluently and learned six others well enough to get by.
There are confirmed reports that Dembe was with Red in Sierra Leone and Brussels, Belgium. Other reports place him and Red in Murmansk and Belfast.
Along with Luli Zeng, he was "the least offensive" to Harold Cooper and Diane Fowler for service in Red's security detail. He is Red's driver. When Liz visits Floriana Campo's room after being told Red had hired the Freelancer, it is Dembe who is on guard outside the door. He follows her inside and watches while Campo dies. Back at the Post Office, while Dembe is changing Donald Ressler sees the mark of the Eberhardt Cartel on his shoulder.
He is with Red when he meets with Liz to tell her that Hector Lorca has contacted him about a new identity. He answers the phone in Haiti when Liz calls to advise Red that Lorca's trial has been abandoned. He drives Red's limousine to Stanley R. Kornish's cabin after stopping to buy meat.
He drives Liz and Red to the location where Seth Nelson is buried. He performs CPR on Nelson.
He is with Red when Liz arrives to ask Red about Max Ruddiger. He accompanies Red while he makes a new deal with Max Ruddiger, possibly to intimidate Max, as during the negotiations he stands behind Max.
He is with Red at his tailors when Red calls the tip-line regarding the subway attack. He remains while Red briefs Liz and Ressler on Frederick Barnes. He is surprised when Liz walks past the car when Red is on the way to Cuba. He drives Red away from the Forrester home. He accompanies Red and Luli Zeng to the house and rigs the explosive that destroys Raymond Reddington's old house.
He held a gun on Nathaniel Wolff while Red stole the hard drive containing the program for the new 100 dollar banknote design.
Garrick's men capture him separately from Red. After shooting Luli, Garrick points a gun to Dembe's head to force Red to get out of the box. Red pleads with Harold to give him the code, which Harold refuses. Red then tries to revive Ressler to extract the code from him, but he remains unconscious. Dembe urges him to say goodbye. They recite Al-Ikhlas, a chapter from the Qur'an "(Say: Allah, the One and Only;  Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;  He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;  And there is none comparable unto Him. )" together and the screen faded to black with a gun shot sound.
You can listen Al-Ikhlas: Al-Ikhlas Video
Red says, "سلام يا اخكي / salaam ya akhi" which translates to "goodbye, my brother."
As an Islamic teaching and a verse in the Quran , Allah says that "The believers are but Brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive Mercy."
He attempts to rescue Red after the Post Office is retaken by the FBI. Later, he leads the raid on the communications outpost; however he is unable to prevent the destruction of the primary hard drives.
Dembe is back in his familiar role, as Raymond Reddington's driver and shadow. When Red catches the associate of the man spying on Elizabeth and Tom Keen's home, Dembe is nearby. When Red calls Liz about The Good Samaritan, Dembe is driving. He is present when Red interrogates the people who were hired to help Anslo Garrick. He is later present when Red interrogates Aram Mojtabai.
Every time Red meets with the activists hunting the mole for him, he is shadowed by Dembe. It is possible that the implied threat, thus presented, encourages obedience to Red's wishes.
Dembe's history and how he met Raymond Reddington, is revealed. When he is put face to face with Geoff Perl, the leader of the Mombasa Cartel, he tells Reddington to let him go since his death now won't change the past. Reddington, praising Dembe for his forgiveness, executes Perl with a shot to the chest.
He is seen at the end of the episode when Red kills Milos Kirchoff.
He goes when Red confronts Peter Kotsiopulos.
Dembe aids Reddington in searching for Alan Fitch's safe in Russia. He later attempts to trace the number that was found inside the safe, only to tell Reddington that the number is a number to a blind exchange and that he cannot identify who Reddington will be speaking to if he calls the number from Alan Fitch's safe.
He throws out Elizabeth Keen's phone, claiming that it is compromised and he hands over a different phone, telling her to dial *77, for Nemec while he drives to a safehouse to have surgical procedures performed for Raymond Reddington. He later then provides more information on a case located somewhere where Reddington resides that could operate the Fulcrum, and he tells her that "Reddington must never know that you were there" before she leaves to find Leonard Caul. Near the end after Reddington is relocated, he fights to protect Reddington while he is under intensive care.
Dembe is "shot" in the chest by Agent Navabi, in an attempt to "rescue" Kenneth, only to bring him to Reddington.
Dembe is revealed to have an adult daughter, Isabella, whose infant daughter, Elle, was kidnapped by Matias Solomon for blackmail to get to him. Solomon threatens Elle's life by suggesting he gave her a poisonous nerve agent and Dembe will not get the antidote unless he wears a chemical mask and inhales. Without hesitation, Dembe takes the mask and takes several slow breaths, his eyes fluttering shut. In the mask appears to be a sleeping gas.
Dembe is revealed to be part of the plan to kill Red.
Dembe kidnaps Aram to help prove his innocence to Reddington. Aram recognizes Dembe's innocence and agrees to help him find the person responsible for poisoning Raymond.
- How did Dembe escape from the Eberhardt Cartel?
- A: He could have been sold by the cartel as a child soldier to a mercenary organization. He later escaped during a battle in Africa.
- A: His escape was facilitated by Raymond Reddington.
- A: When he was 14, he was left chained without food or water in a basement, because he was no longer useful as a child soldier.
- Why is the relationship between Dembe and Raymond Reddington so personal? Red's relationship with Luli Zeng was limited to the professional/business.
- A: Red and Luli Zeng exchanged a passionate kiss when she and Dembe were brought in.
- A: Red and Dembe exchanged verses from Al-Ikhlas, which is intensely personal and close.
- A: Red and Kathryn Nemec are obviously close, as Nemec calls Red "Dearie".
- A: Newton Phillips did not fight Red when Red was about to kill him, only asking that he "Make it look like an accident" for his wife.
- A: All of Red's associates are close, all of them owe Red on a personal level, and I suspect Red owes them too.
- A: Reddington has been Dembe's foster father since the age of 14.