Showtime's DEXTER

So I may have binge-watched another show/season. Yes, I seriously binged this one. The last show I watched (Code Black), was near impossible to binge because of how emotionally packed it was with it’s punches and raw display of trauma and life. Dexter though- Dexter is a drama with an important story line that makes you feel like one episode is not enough.

Dexter Morgan is a Miami-based blood splatter expert who doesn’t just solve murders; he commits them too. In fact, he’s a serial killer — but he only murders the guilty, so he feels justified with his lifestyle choices. His policewoman sister and his cop co-workers have no idea Dexter lives a double life; however, adoptive father Harry knows his secret, and does, in fact, help Dexter hone his “skills.” It’s a unique brand of justice for which charming Dexter feels a psychological hunger.

Okay before I convince you to actually watch this show, let me clear things out first. It’s rated 18+ for a reason! You’ve got Miami cops with no censorship swearing 24/7. Then there’s the fact that even among the cops, it’s the homicide division that the story follows. And then there’s the fact that the main character is a serial killer, so there’s going to be a lot of uncensored blood, violence, gore, nudity, etc. Is it graphic? Absolutely.

Don’t watch it if you’re squeamish or if these kinds of things make you feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel that way though! I felt that way about a lot of things, to the point where I didn’t want to watch anything involving real people because the thought of seeing people get hurt and bleed (even if it was all just acting), made me feel very uncomfortable.

I remember when I was in 4th grade in the US, we had to watch this movie during our Islamic Studies classes. I can’t remember the title, but it captured things pretty well, with the searing Arabian desert, bedouins in their strange, heavy clothing, fighting with swords and spears. Nobody bled (and I don’t remember there being any visual of blood), but I used to HATE having to watch that movie because seeing everyone fight with sharp objects and get pierced and die was horrifying for me. I’d put my head down and try to block out the sounds of yelling and people dying and wish the class would hurry up and end.

I’m totally okay with that now. I think it’s mostly because of med school, since we have to study injuries and pathology so much, it kinda desensitized me to a lot of things to the point where I won’t even flinch at the gore, but lean closer and try to figure out what happened and how it happened. It’s weird, I know! Don’t judge me! I’m that annoying kid who would be yelling “How did THAT happen!!” every time someone in a movie dies mysteriously, and then proceed to argue in medical terms.

Anyway! Moving on with the plot: Dexter Morgan lives a double life. Working in the Miami Metro Police Department as part of their forensics team, he uses his position in the police to solve crimes in his own way- by murder. While it looks like he’s doling out justice as a vigilante, it’s not his primary motive.

He doesn’t kill for justice, he kills for himself. The desire to kill stems from childhood trauma that gets buried deep in Dexter’s memories, but still manifests itself as his ‘urges’. The police officer who takes Dexter in as his own, Harry Morgan, sees how Dexter functions and hones his skills to make sure Dexter doesn’t get caught. Why? You see, Harry Morgan is a police officer who wants justice- but sometimes, the law lets criminals get away. So Harry build a code to have Dexter channel his need to kill and to function as the law outside the law.

Dexter works with a code. His victims must be declared guilty and Dexter makes sure of it by spending weeks tracking down his prey. Once he’s got a criminal in his clutches, he shows them their victims and then proceeds to kill them and dismember them and put them into trash bags. Like trash. His standards of declaring someone as ‘guilty’ are pretty high though! Nevertheless, Miami is a city rampant with criminals, drug trade and homicide- so it seems like Dexter’s only problem is making sure the police don’t get on his case.

He doesn’t feel proud of cleaning up the criminals- he just needs to stave off the desire to kill, which can be compared to an addiction. Knowing that the said criminals won’t be killing any innocent people anymore is just an added bonus.

The story and the execution and everything is great, fantastic. I was hooked. I would binge several episodes on the weekend and even though I’ve only seen the first two seasons, they were very satisfying to watch. I think my favorite part about the execution of Dexter is how Dexter, in his monotone voice, would narrate or speak out his inner thoughts, sarcastic as they were, and a great companion to his poker face expressions on the screen. Another thing I really liked was Dexter’s relationship with his foster-sister, Debra Morgan. Their dynamic was great and their bond as siblings was fun to watch.

Unfortunately, I get tired really easily, so I don’t think I’d be watching any more episode of Dexter and will be moving on a new series soon. Since I knew I wouldn’t be coming back to Dexter, I sweeped through the Wiki page (for spoilers…. and the conclusion…) and it turns out that there have been cases of people being inspired by Dexter (despite it being a fictional show) to carry out their own murders, claiming that they too, felt the way Dexter described himself.

That just blew my mind. It kinda makes me wonder how many people decided to try out cannibalism after watching Hannibal. I feel like this kind of topic deserves a post of it’s own and I’ll definitely be researching a bit about it. It just fascinates me, really, the effect that entertainment and games can have on real life (which brings me to another thought as well, but we’ll talk about that some other day).

Anyway! On the whole, I definitely thing that Dexter should be on your watch list, especially if you’re interested in serial killers and homicide. It lies in with the same category as popular tv series like Hannibal and it has a bit of the same vibe, but it’s much more light hearted in some aspects: Dexter has his comical moments, there are tons of other characters (as opposed to the core few in Hannibal) with their own stories and Dexter has a normal appearing life with a healthy relationship with kids etc. The show doesn’t revolve around homicide and serial killing, it revolves around Dexter as a person and all his relationships, problems, and thought process.

Overall, I’d give Dexter a 4/5 with a warning (as stated right at the start) when it comes to audience age. It’s a great show otherwise. It’s based on a book titled Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay and I’d really love to get my hands on this book.

What do you think about violence and murder being so popular as a genre in entertainment? Do you think humans have a morbid interest with death and serial killers? Have a nice day!

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One thought on “Showtime's DEXTER

  1. oh i loved this series so much, the last episode felt like a bit of a let down but also made sense in some ways.
    I'm sad to hear people felt actually inspired by this though.
    I've read the first book and the tone is very similar and you can tell the tv series worked hard to portray it. They do make a few changes but I think thats due to certain actors being so good they wanted to keep them on longer.

    I really must finish the series I guess, I forgot how much I loved it.

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