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Friday, 17 April 2015

Dexter (2006) - TV's Favourite Serial Killer


Are you tired of watching the same old run-of-the-mills slasher thrillers? Are you looking for that perfect and nail-biting killer thriller that will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end? Then Dexter is for you. This awesome TV thriller started on Showtime in 2006 and ran for eight seasons, before concluding in 2013.

There have been endless psychological thrillers on TV that have focussed on psychopaths and serial killers. Most of these shows are narrated from the police or investigator's point of view. Others simply show a group of people on a vacation or stranded on some island, where the killer hunts down and kills each of the victims one by one. 

Of course, the success of such shows depend solely on the mystery carried by one question - "who the hell is the killer?" There is nobody to narrate what is going on in the killer head. The killer is depicted as a completely deranged and ruthless individual who just picks random victims and kills them out of pure pleasure.

But Dexter is not your typical serial killer. He is an avenging angel that sets him apart from every other serial killer in TV history.

The Plot

Dexter Morgan works as a forensic blood-spatter analyst at Miami Metro Police Department in Florida. 

Having witnessed his mother getting slaughtered by a drug dealer while he was a toddler, the ghastly experience had caused permanent psychological distortion, inducing homicidal tendencies in him and leaving him completely devoid of emotion. 

He gets rescued by a cop named Harry Morgan who adopts him. As Dexter grow up, Harry realizes the truth about his son. In a desperate effort to prevent his son from killing innocent people, he teaches Dexter a moral code - which allows him to kill only other serial killers.

Taking advantage of his forensic knowledge and his perfect cover as a police lab geek, Dexter moonlights as a serial killer at night, stalking and hunting his targets, while maintaining a seemingly normal life during the daytime. He even marries his girlfriend Rita and they have a son together, the very picture of a happy family.

Dexter's sister, Debra Morgan is a hard-working, morally-correct police officer in the Homicide department where Dexter works.

She adores and idolizes her elder brother, often taking his expert advise about vital clues, all the while completely unaware of his predatory activities.

Best Parts of the Show

  • This is the first TV show of its kind that started the trend of the killer's narrative. In fact, the entire show is seen purely from the killer's point of view. The audience gets to enter the killer's head and understand his thought process.
  • We are aware of the killer's identity from the beginning, yet this show was a super-hit - because the thrill lay not in the mystery, but in the fascinating experience of thinking with the killer, the diabolically genius way in which he rationalized his actions, and always managed to stay one step ahead of his foes.
  • The sheer boldness with which Dexter committed all his murders, right under the nose of his police superiors and his sister Debra was amazing. Now we all know that psychopaths are known for their brazenness. But the boldness simply hits the ceiling when Dexter not only gets to investigate his own crimes i.e. the crimes of the Bay Harbour Butcher, but he also plants false evidence and successfully frames his hostile superior Sgt. Doakes, the only man who could see through Dexter's mask of normalcy.
  • Dexter manages to get away with every murder every single time. It is an absolute treat to watch this brilliant guy work his way out of the most impossible of situations, improvising as he goes.
  • In spite of being the killer that he is, you will find yourself admiring Dexter and even rooting for him - because his type is very rare - a killer with a strict moral code, a vigilante who cleans up the garbage of society by executing those who have slipped through law. You simply cannot help loving him.

Best Seasons

Season 1 - The Ice Truck Killer
Season 2 - The Bay Harbour Butcher
Season 4 - The Trinity Killer
Season 7 - The Bay Harbour Butcher gets revisited

Worst Seasons

Season 8 - The final season was a little disappointing, given the high standards that the earlier seasons had already set. In fact, the finale failed to give the much needed closure to Dexter fans. It ended on an incomplete note, very strongly suggesting the possibility of another season, or at least a spin-off. But there has been none so far.

Verdict

Dexter is easily a 9/10. I would have given a 10/10 if not for the final season. As an avid watcher and critic of psychological thrillers, I have not come across a TV show as fascinating and intense as Dexter, nor have I seen an actor as talented as Michael C. Hall who plays Dexter Morgan. It was as though the role had been created just for him.

The only show that can come close to Dexter is if the producers decide to start a new series - Dexter the Lumberjack. The finale showed Dexter Morgan as forsaking everything and becoming a lumberjack, so that would be the only reasonable way to continue the legacy of the great Dexter Morgan.

Read more about Dexter


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