A Noteworthy Binge: Dexter

What do you get when you cross a serial killer and the suspense of a murder mystery crime drama? A serial killer disguised as a crime scene technician, found in the television show “Dexter.”

The show follows a serial killer (played by Michael C. Hall) whose specialty is killing other corrupt and violent criminals who escape the police department’s grasp. After the murders, Dexter disposes of the corpses in the Gulf of Mexico, his only keepsake – a drop of their blood.

The show often utilizes flashbacks to tell the story of Dexter’s childhood and beginning of his “dark passenger,” which is what he refers to as his need to kill. His adoptive father, Harry Morgan (played by James Remar), was a police detective throughout most of Dexter’s childhood. Once Dexter’s psychopath nature became evident, together they created counter measures to evade police involvement. A code was created to establish some sense of stability in Dexter’s life, but mostly to keep him from being caught.

His adoptive sister Deb (played by Jennifer Carpenter) is a police detective and undergoes the most growth throughout the series. She begins as a foul-mouthed, distant, lost girl and ends the series as an emotional mess and a danger to her fellow officers. She rides the whims of Dexter’s life while remaining completely oblivious to his very nature.

Dexter has an interesting trajectory as well. He starts off the series as a self-sufficient, secretive, blood splatter analyst and is thrown through many loops. Dexter is accused of being a murderer more than once but continues to elude the authorities as they are never able to pin the murders on him.

Representation is a viable and entertaining part of this show, though the main characters are white, most secondary and guest characters are people of diverse backgrounds. One character of diverse background is Captain Maria LaGuerta (played by Lauren Luna Velez). LaGuerta organizes the teams and structure of each case and her Latino background allows for power to be represented by a minority who are usually misrepresented in television.

Unlike other law enforcement dramas, the characters are not shallow un-evolved characters. Each is described and explained as if we were witnessing their life.

The show “Dexter” creates a weird phenomenon: at most points the viewer is caught cheering the serial killer on. When he is in danger of being caught or hurt producers evoke in the viewer a desire for Dexter to come out unscathed. It is a different but welcome change of television pace.

“Dexter” is an award-winning show with eight bloody seasons to let the viewer ponder and explore, all of which are available on Netflix.


-Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, 2010.

-Golden Globe, Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series, 2010.

– Four Emmy wins, including one for Outstanding Directing in a Series, 2010.

-Multiple Screen Actors Guild Awards and more.

“Dexter” is easily enjoyable if you already watch shows like Criminal Minds, Breaking Bad and House of Cards.  It’s best for those who love cop shows and antiheroes.