Dexter Under the Knife Essay

Submitted By kylebutler2612
Words: 1575
Pages: 7

Dexter Under the Knife The critically acclaimed “hit show”, Dexter, and its portrayal of a modern-day Jekyll and Hyde presents the scandalous life of a blood spatter analyst by day, serial killer by night. Viewers and their indulgence in the TV drama is of a similar nature to that of the appeal of chocolate explained by Godiva advertisements. The audience is able to relish in the “decadently” exciting life of a character shrouded in mystery by vicariously living through them, and in consequence experiences televised entertainment of truly “unadulterated bliss”. In what follows, an attempt will be made to explain the ideological meaning in the subtext of the show. By examining the manners in which seemingly well-adjusted people pardon the actions of a mass murderer, unique insight into the inner-depths of the human psyche will be revealed. Aired on Showtime, the series details the life of Dexter Morgan as he struggles to maintain the façade of an everyday run-of-the-mill blood spatter analyst in the midst of confronting the trials of being a serial killer. Adopted and raised by an officer of the Miami Police Department, Dexter lives his life according to a set of principles established by his foster father in an attempt to channel his condition in a manner best suited for the community, by essentially killing those who deserve to be killed while not getting caught. Riddled with corruption and fraught with emotion, this racy show has had viewers on the edge of their seat for 7 seasons. One may offer that Dexter and its storyline is written such that it reconstructs the conception and conditions the perception of the audience in a manner that allows for the serial killer aspect of the show to be appealable and relatable. It will be further explained in what follows, the three reasons that best explain the audience and their excusal of the actions of a mass murder. Because Dexter is received well by the “normal” characters within the show that serve the purpose of emulating the audience and their role as bystanders, the audience is subconsciously compelled to in a like manner, ignorantly perceive of him as personable and charismatic despite what they otherwise know. Because Dexter is unable to manage the “dark urges” that plague him as a serial killer, the audience is able relate with him on a personal level through their understanding of addiction and compulsion. And because Dexter only kills people that have killed before and are prone to again, the audience views him in a light similar to that of superhero—an authority of unquestionable benevolence. In great contrast to the stereotypical profile of a middle-aged male that lives alone with dissected animals adorning the house, Dexter and his life as a serial killer is one of commonplace everyday ups and downs. As put by clinical psychologist Lucia Grosaru, “He is not the classical killer marked by visible deviant behavior. He is the guy next door with a dirty secret.” Despite his apparent sociopathic tendencies, Dexter is able to behave normally as a “good husband and father, caring brother, team-player and friend” (Grosaru). It is in this regard, that because the characters within the show have accepted Dexter and established strong relationships with him, that the audience feels validated in their positive reception of him. Viewers allow themselves to take a liking to Dexter despite their initial inclination to negatively receive him because characters with the appearance of normality and like- minded judge of character accept his behavior. They subconsciously ignore the fact that he kills people out of pleasure because of their desire to conform and formulate the same good relationships with him established by those within the show (Gregoriou).
People are like sheep in their propensity to be lead aimlessly astray simply because of majority acceptance. The human psyche has a strong ability to, out of self-preservation; subconsciously justify actions in order to