I am always in the mood for a good, crime mystery with lots of drama, blood, and seduction. When I was told that Dexter had this along with psychological thrill on the side, I was hooked. Dexter Morgan is a forensic technician who works for a Miami Metro Police Department and specializes in blood splatter analysis. He is really good at analyzing the precise techniques killers use to kill their victims. Why? Because he happens to be a dedicated serial killer on the side. Unlike your “typical” serial killer, Dexter follows a specific moral code that only condones the killings of other murderers who have caused harm to others. In a way, one could say he is doing the community justice by keepings murders off the streets. Is this a justifiable reason to brutally and horrifically murder people for pleasure?
I enjoy this show because it challenges the audience’s moral compass while we “play along” in his secret, double life of being a detective by day and serial killer by night. We all know this is wrong- so we do we find ourselves rooting for this methodical sociopath? The perspective of the audience is so powerful because we begin to relate and connect to the mind of a character as if it is our own. We feel a type of bond with Dexter because we feel we are the only ones who are inside of his deepest, darkest secret. We hear his thoughts, feel his emotions, and understand this crazy “justification” in his killings. He wants to protect the community, and more importantly, the ones he loves. I am emotionally attached to this character who is horrifically killing citizens left and right. If this show had been shot from an outside perspective or another character, the emotional connection between the audience and Dexter would not exist.
This article was helpful in analyzing the messy and chaotic mentality behind Dexter’s justified killings, and why the audience feels compelled to accept this morally wrong lifestyle.
I also find this show intriguing because it ties back the concept of each individual’s perception of reality. The audience is able to experience the reality of a sociopath with a severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. We are sheltered by our own experiences and thoughts to understand the irrational and sometimes insane mindset of the mentally ill or unstable. This distorted sense of “bringing justice by murdering” is the reality in which Dexter lives in due to his traumatic past. I have included two snapshots that illustrate this.
This first snapshot is Dexter having intimate conversations with his dead father. His father plays a huge role in his life by providing counsel and advice on his killings. Dexter’s more personable and intimate relationship in his life is his dead father.
The second snapshot is a clip from the beginning of every episode that shows Dexter’s precise morning routine that emphasizes his strict OCD tendencies. The sharp sounds, intense visuals, and specific tasks each morning express the thoughtful and methodical normalcy he created for himself. These images include razor blades cutting his hair, knives slicing oranges, floss and shoe laces pulling with tight force and blood dropping into his sink.
This show intrigues me because it delivers a unique, scary, and uncomfortable reality for viewers by inserting them into the mind of a sociopath serial killer.