May 04

Dexter: The Hazy Line Between Good and Evil


Dexter tv series

The first time I watched an episode of Dexter, I was a bit confused at the initial scenes. My brother was watching the series in DVD and was in the middle of of the first season when I saw it. He had to explain the background before I started to enjoy it. This one was different. And that was the reason I enjoyed watching the episodes while I slowly discerned Dexter’s character. While watching, I was in awe at the genius behind the concept and the writers who knew exactly how to reveal Dexter’s character.

Dexter, played by Michael C. Hall of Six Feet Under, is the story of a man orphaned at age 3 and adopted by a Miami Police Officer named Harry Morgan. Harry saw Dexter’s sociopathic tendencies early on. But instead of giving Dexter professional help, he taught the young man to divert his passion into more constructive activities. You see, Dexter dreams of killing people. Like most sociopathic killers, he feels a sense of satisfaction and pleasure at the thought of killing and the sight of blood. Psychologists equate this pleasure to the same feelings normal people experience towards sex. As such, Harry saw to it that Dexter consummate his passion by murdering those “who deserved it.”

Throughout the first season, Dexter kills heinous criminals and serial killers but likewise finds victims that are less deserving than the others. He murders a young alcoholic responsible for multiple vehicular accidents and a nurse that performs euthanasia. Like most sociopathic killers, he kills without flinching and remorse. It makes you wonder what keeps him on the line. What keeps him on the path that his foster father has taken him? Does he actually believe in the moral principles of right and wrong? Or will he let go of his instincts even at the most superficial excuse?

With his thirst for blood, he grows up to work as a blood spatter analyst at the Miami Police Department. This provides him with the information to find serial killers and criminals — a resource for his continuous drive to kill people. The first season deals mostly with the introduction of Dexter’s character as he pursues the ice truck killer. The ice truck killer murders people and leaves the body parts severed in many pieces without a single drop of blood. He communicates with Dexter, leaving clues and signs, and challenges the young analyst to find him. To avoid suspicion, Dexter maintains a friendly demeanor and nurtures a romantic relationship with Rita (a rape victim and single mother) despite his indifference to feelings and sex. I will not divulge the season ender because I know there are still people who have not completed watching the series. As expected of any protagonist, let as just say that Dexter’s deeds remain hidden but threats now exist that could expose his true calling.

Unlike other stories, there are no clear boundaries that distinguish good and evil when you watch Dexter. The audience remains doubtful of his heroism and yet they continue to admire his strength to suppress his inner demons while cheering him on as he saves the innocent from the monsters in society. And the question lingers. How far can he keep his secret? How long can he continue to resist the hunger to draw blood and watch the fear in his victim’s eyes that gives him pleasure and purpose?

We wait and see with bated breath.

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