Newest Netflix addiction: “Dexter”

By on November 26, 2013

By Sammie Hill–

I began watching “Dexter” with understandable reluctance and only after encouragement from others. After all, a show about a serial killer could only be disturbing at best, right? However, after several episodes, I realized that the allure of the show lied not in the violence but in the relatable problems of Dexter Morgan’s conflicted identity.


A forensic analyst who doubles as a serial killer, Dexter learned to tame his overwhelming urges to kill by only targeting other murderers. His foster father, a policeman preoccupied with justice, viewed Dexter’s desires as an opportunity for killers who evaded the criminal justice system to finally get the punishment they deserve.


Upon learning of his son’s desire to kill animals and eventually people, Dexter’s father trained him to carefully select his victims—murderers—and meticulously execute his crimes in order to avoid detection and capture. This instilled in Dexter a “code” that he follows in lieu of a conscience.


As the series continues, Dexter learns of his past, which helps explain his murderous desires and also makes him question his father and the “code” he had unquestionably followed all his life.


Torn between the choice of embracing or deploring the “monster” he is, Dexter addresses the internal struggles that virtually all human beings face at one point or another in life—issues of self-doubt, morality, identity and authenticity.


Although it sounds strange to develop an affinity for a serial killer, fans of the show can’t help but sympathize with Dexter. In Dexter, viewers see pieces of themselves. He may be a “monster,” but his desire for normalcy, his confusion regarding a traumatizing past, and his conflicted identity are all painfully human.


“Dexter” confronts these issues, crafting an engaging storyline and relatable characters. I’m only on season two, but “Dexter” is slowly helping to fill the gaping emptiness left by the departure of “Breaking Bad.”


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