When Deano arrives in Walford in 2006, he persuades his great aunt Pat Evans to take him in and is soon joined by his adoptive father Kevin Wicks and sister Carly Wicks. Deano causes trouble by spiking Stacey Slater's alcohol with drugs and allowing Bradley Branning to take the blame, stealing The Queen Victoria public house's bust and driving recklessly, crashing a car – behaviour prompted by the anniversary of his brother Jimbo Wicks's death. Deano is unwittingly reunited with his estranged mother, Shirley Carter, during a family holiday in Dorset. Despite Kevin's efforts to stop her, Shirley makes herself known to Deano and Carly and eventually reveals that she is their mother. Deano struggles with this and after seeing Shirley behave promiscuously, he behaves recklessly and crashes a car at high-speed injuring himself, his passenger Chelsea Fox and a pedestrian, Abi Branning. Deano nearly dies from his injuries but bonds with Shirley during his recovery. Kevin is opposed to this and during many arguments, the truth about Deano and Carly's paternity is revealed by Shirley: Kevin is not their biological father. Deano is devastated and threatens suicide by almost setting himself on fire but is stopped before going through with it.
Unlucky in love, Deano has sex with Stacey and has unrequited crushes on Dawn Swann and Chelsea. Chelsea forces Deano into getting involved in a feud against Sean Slater. Deano tries to assault Sean but is conquered and battered. Chelsea and Deano swear revenge and frame Sean for the assault of Patrick Trueman, stealing CCTV footage that would have exonerated him. Sean is imprisoned, but he gets revenge on Deano by having him attacked by a gang of thugs. When Carly finds the stolen CCTV footage, she gives it to the police and Sean is released. Deano and Chelsea are arrested for perverting the course of justice and released on bail. Sean attacks Deano again, flushing his head down the bog. Afraid of spending time in prison, Deano attempts to run away twice before his trial but eventually faces up to his responsibilities and is sentenced to six months imprisonment. He finds prison hard. On visits, his family discover that he is being bullied by the other prisoners and, after getting into trouble, he is denied early parole. Deano is permitted to attend Kevin's funeral under police supervision.
When Deano is released from prison, he has changed vastly, behaving in a morose manner having been traumatised by his incarceration. He brings a prostitute back to Shirley's flat and then forces his mother to pay for her services. He headbutts Sean and when Shirley says she wants to rebuild their relationship, Deano responds with exasperation, violently pinning her against a wall, shouting in her face, showing her his prison injuries, and stealing cash and jewellery from her. After rejecting his mother, Deano leaves Walford. In September 2012, Carly returns to Walford for two days and tells Shirley that Deano is doing well, owns a bar and lives with his girlfriend in Australia.
Dropping his former nickname, Dean returns to the UK and develops a relationship with his maternal grandfather, Stan Carter He follows Stan back to Walford, opening a salon there named Blades, funded by Stan, and briefly dating Lauren Branning. He acquaints himself with his mother's family, who now own The Queen Vic, but is unkind towards Shirley, verbally abusing her for her poor parenting, leading to Mick Carter punching him. Dean slowly bonds with his mother and begins to integrate into his newfound family. He is attracted to, then, later, obsessed with Mick's partner, Linda Carter, who maternally hugs him after Shirley hurts him by stealing from him because she owes Phil Mitchell. Dean breaks into Phil's house, reclaiming the money. Dean also gropes Linda's buttocks during a photoshoot at Blades. Although Dean helps clean Shirley up after she shoots Phil, Shirley's aunt Babe Smith refuses to let Shirley take Dean with them as she flees from the police, leaving Dean distraught. Linda comforts him and Dean attempts to have sex with her. When Linda protests, Dean rapes her. Linda tells no one about the ordeal but is mentally traumatised, more so when she discovers she is pregnant and fears that the baby is Dean's. Dean continues as if nothing has happened and begins dating Stacey after she moves into a flat share with him. Stacey, herself a victim of rape, starts to notice Linda flinch whenever Dean is present and works out what has happened. She ends her relationship with Dean, throwing him out and refusing to believe his version of events; that sex with Linda had been consensual and that Linda's reaction stems from guilt. Stacey persuades Linda to tell Mick, which she finally does on Christmas Day 2014. Mick responds by pummelling Dean and is only stopped by Shirley's confession that Mick and Dean are, in fact, brothers. It transpires that Shirley is Mick's mother, not his sister, as he has grown up believing.
The revelations cause a split amongst the family, with Shirley and Stan siding with Dean and refusing to believe Linda. Fights occur between Dean and the Carters, culminating in Dean being arrested by the police for rape and being released on bail. When the community find out what Dean is being accused of, his social life and business are ruined. He goes to stay with his sister, Carly, in York, but later returns and attempts to exact revenge on the Carters by breaking into The Queen Vic's cellar and trying to set it on fire. He is stopped by Mick, who assaults him so intensely that Mick's daughter, Nancy Carter, fears her father has murdered Dean. When Dean's body goes missing from the cellar, Nancy suspects that Mick has disposed of Dean's body. However, Dean returns two months later in the company of Buster Briggs, whom Shirley has recently revealed to be the biological father of both Dean and Mick. Buster announces that he has booked tickets to Greece for Dean, Shirley and himself to start a new life together. Not wanting a life as a fugitive for Dean, Shirley calls the police and informs them of his whereabouts and he is arrested for breaking his bail conditions. He is released weeks later, without charge, due to a lack of evidence and agrees to remain in Walford with his parents, despite being made a local pariah. After Linda gives birth, Dean insists the baby, Ollie, is his. However, Mick shares the baby's blood type while Dean does not, meaning Dean is not the father. Shortly after, Dean discovers that a one-night stand with Shabnam Masood, years earlier, resulted in her becoming pregnant with his daughter, Roya, renamed Jade Green. Shabnam claims that the baby died, not wanting Dean to know the child has been adopted, but Dean suspects she is lying. Dean confronts Shabnam at her engagement party, then has sex with Roxy Mitchell. Shirley tells Dean that Jade suffers from cystic fibrosis, leaving Dean infuriated that she lied. Devastated, Dean trashes Blades until Buster intervenes, then Shirley convinces him that Jade needs her father, so they carry out a DNA test to confirm paternity. He embarks on a relationship with Roxy. The DNA results prove Dean is the father. He reveals Jade's existence to a contemptuous Mick and Linda.
Linda rejects Dean when he offers to put the past behind them. Buster talks Dean out of trying for custody of Jade, so Shirley decides she will. Dean doesn't know how to relate to his daughter. Jade's visit is a disaster as Dean unknowingly reveals Jimbo died and she rushes out when she overhears. Mick takes her back. Her foster father tells Shirley and Buster they are unsuitable custodians. Roxy tells Dean she wants their relationship kept hidden, but when Roxy's sister Ronnie Mitchell finds out, she forces Roxy to end it. However, they resume it again in secret, and Dean finds Ronnie's hidden spy camera, and sees Ronnie kissing Vincent Hubbard. He deletes a message from Ronnie to Roxy. Dean's insecurity over Roxy's feelings for her missing brother-in-law, Charlie Cotton, leads him to burn her with hair straighteners, and later he cuts a chunk out of her hair. Dean proposes to Roxy to distance her from Ronnie's influence and then reveals to the Carters and Roxy that Ronnie tried to poison him. Dean and Roxy get engaged but when his anger causes her to get a cut on her face, she ends their relationship. Dean refuses to accept her decision and attempts to rape her, only prevented by Shirley's timely interruption. Roxy then flees for the police station, while Shirley attempts to drown Dean in the bath out of desperation, however she is unsuccessful and Dean strikes Shirley. During a heated argument with Linda over Roxy, Dean admits he raped Linda, then flees and hides. The next day, he arrives at Mick and Linda's wedding, where he attempts to kill Shirley by jumping into a lake with her. Mick saves them both, and the police arrive and arrest Dean for the attempted rape of Roxy. The following day, a letter arrives for Shirley from Dean, asking her to visit. Shirley and Buster both visit Dean in prison – where he tells them he needs help getting a good lawyer with the money from Blades. However, Shirley and Buster make it clear to Dean they do not want any further contact with him, and Buster warns Dean he knows people in prison who could make his life hell. One month later, Shirley hears that Dean has his plea hearing so visits him, urging him to plead guilty, threatening to disown him if he does not. However, in court, he pleads not guilty, but, as he has failed to surrender to bail previously, he is remanded in custody until his trial. In August 2016, off-screen, Dean is acquitted of attempted rape and Buster pays him off, warning him not to return to Walford again, which infuriates Shirley.
In 2019, Mick later calls him to forgive him for what he has done to Linda and Roxy, including Babe's actions.