The Loveable Serial Killer

I know this show has been out and finished for a while now (2006-2013), but I’ve just gotten around to watch the series following the loveable serial killer, Dexter. “A loveable serial killer?” I thought to myself as I heard periodic chatter about the show, “How can a serial killer be loveable?”

I cannot speak on what the entire series as a whole entails, rather I am only surmising my judgements based on the first two season. And thus far, I believe what makes Dexter Morgan, the protagonist of the series, give a ‘loveable’ vibe is throughout the season and in almost every episode, we learn more and more about his childhood and teen-years which has contributed toward his character and being today. Switching gears to another crime show about serial killers, Criminal Minds is crafted about a team of elite behavior analyzers who’s focus is on catching these murderers- psychopaths just like Dexter. When watching Criminal Minds, we root for the side of justice and untimely ending the show on a happy note with the bad guy behind bars. Dexter is a complete 180° from that. Dexter ends the lives of other killers or people who are slime-balls in one way or another. But because of these flashbacks, we realize that even though he has had training to curve his urges and to appear as a normal human in society, he loses self-control and ends up striking. And because of circumstances as a child which have contributed to, injustice in the legal system, and protection, we as the viewer empathize with him. And here’s the catch to the show: he’s also a ‘lab-rat’ for the Miami Metro Police Department. That alone is another reason why the show is unique and a reason that we might like his character. Police are usually seen as the good guys, especially in TV shows, so the fact that Dexter is part of the department, viewers become lenient on the fact that he is simply taking matters into his own hands- despite the knowledge of it being wrong nonetheless.

The series does have a slow start, I must warn you. I like shows that pull me in on the first episode. I gave this show a chance, and the first episode peaked my interest, but not enough to make me rummage for the clicker to go to the next episode- that is until Episode 1 left with a cliff hanger. As any crime show, there is always a case involved. In a good number of crime shows, or any series for that matter, there are two parts to an episode and show. The first part is an episode and what it entails: look it as what the issue of the day is. Then there is an overlaying case or problem that strings the series along throughout the season or even from season to season.

Dexter doesn’t do this.

The show doesn’t have a case-per-episode; instead, it is one case-per-season. Which is how they are able to string you along. You do not have any resolution until the last 3 minutes of the season finale. I think it is another characteristic in what keeps viewers and why it was so successful, although it is rare to see that be done, it showed that this series did not color inside the lines, in more than one area.

And by that I mean, the biggest thing that we, as the viewers could imagine happening would be that someone finds Dexter’s gravesites and the Miami Metro PD investigates it.

Well that happens in season two.

How crazy is that? Like I said, I have no idea what season three through eight entails, and I’m sure it might come up again, but they break out the biggest case for this series right in season two. Another way that the writers and producers took a risky chance and it luckily paid off.

Overall, I think this show was successful, strictly based off the first two seasons, not because of everyone’s hype and love of it. I feel that their risks could have driven the show right into the ground, but Dexter, both the character and a show, prevailed because of it and its uniqueness to the world of televised entertainment.

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