The Dickinsonian

Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

Photo Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Photo Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Paige Hamilton ’18, TV Columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“I’m a very neat monster.” This is how Dexter Morgan, the forensics officer specializing in blood spatter, describes himself. He works in Miami in a large police office, solving crimes and tracking down perpetrators. His coworkers are hard working, as is he. His foster sister, a former prostitute, also works there. Dexter maintains great rapport with everyone in the office and is highly respected for his intuition and smarts. Which makes sense, I mean, who better to analyze a murder scene than a murderer himself? Oh, sorry, did I forget to mention that he’s a serial killer?

Don’t worry though; Dexter assures us he kills for good. During periodic flashbacks in season one, episode one, we see a younger Dexter, age 9 or 10 and then again in his teens, talking with his foster dad about the boy’s “urges.” His father alludes to something perhaps traumatic happening to Dexter before he began foster care, but of course doesn’t go into details: it’s still episode one after all. These snippets are interspersed with the current plot line in which an adult, in his mid-30s maybe, Dexter works on a series of cases.

In this episode, the main mystery the police force is investigating is a series of murders in which the killer chops up his victims and leaves their cold, bloodless, puzzle-pieced bodies strewn around the city. Because the murderer drains all this victims of their blood, splatter specialist Dexter isn’t needed. Thus, he has some time freed-up to engage in…extracurricular activities. Explaining that he needs some more work to pass the time, he stops by the room with all the files and asks for one. Clearly, he has wooed the woman in charge of the documents since she, without concern, hands one to Dexter. It’s this case that Dexter will pursue solving on his own time and in his own way.

Methodically, the sociopathic protagonist plans out how he will find and murder the man running a rape website. Dexter frequently narrates, explaining that what he does is with the best intentions. He’s making his “own corner of the world a neater and happier place. A better place.” The audience is plunged into the depths of an immense ethical dilemma. Is his “work” justifiable? Dexter has standards, he assures us. He is thoughtful, would never hurt a child and, while admitting to lack emotions, treats all good people with the upmost respect. 

Like many successful crime shows, Dexter draws on human curiosity and our fascination with the taboo, the frightening and the gruesome. Additionally, it’s a psychological thriller—except in this version, the psychosis lies in the protagonist. The script is flipped. Our moral standards are thrown into question. While watching the show, I found myself revolted but curious, at times supportive of Dexter, but also intensely scared by him.

As Dexter strolled around his office handing out donuts and smiling to his coworkers, it becomes hard to believe this character is anything but kind—until he reopens the donut box, commenting, “Hm, just like me: empty inside.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

The Dickinsonian strives to provide a forum for lively and respectful discussion among members of the Dickinson College community. We reserve the right to remove any comments that we do not adhere to our community standards.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Let’s Get Reel: When We First Met

  • Life & Style

    De-stress with Springfest

  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Letter From Abroad: Broadening Horizons in Bologna

  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Fashion Column: Anchal Kannambadi ’19

  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Food for Thought: Shepherd’s Pie

  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Adoptable Bees Cause a Buzz

  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Straight from the Plate: The Pickle (Rick) Party Sandwich

  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Food for Thought: Cracked Black Pepper Pull-Apart Biscuits

  • Life & Style

    All Booked Up: The Last Time We Say Goodbye

  • Let’s Get Reel: Dexter

    Life & Style

    Dorm Decor: Libby Cohen ’21 & Jahmirah Warrick ’21

The student news site of Dickinson College.
Let’s Get Reel: Dexter