I have watched the Showtime series Dexter since it first aired in 2006. I remember it very clearly. My roommate at the time, a very close friend I had known since High School (and is getting married in France this year, Europe here I come!), were taking advantage of our cable providers three free month trial of Showtime and had just finished watching an episode of Weeds (another brilliant Showtime original) and the premier episode of Dexter immediately followed. The intro was fascinating enough so we stayed and gave it a go.
We were practically speechless at the close of the episode. Ideas, morality, emotional turmoil churned through our heads. We bid each other goodnight and went into our respective rooms, still a bit taken a back by what we had just watched. Of course we were hooked. That had been Time Warner’s game all along, to give us taste of these shows, entrap us then once the three-month free trial get us to pay for the service. It worked.
It has been, what? Seven seasons (with season eight coming this summer) and 7 years since that first airing and I am still mesmerized by the show.
In these 7 years the show has been nominated for 19 Primetime Emmy Awards, ten Golden Globe Awards; with Michael C. Hall bringing in a Best Actor in a Drama win in 2010 (John Lithgow also brought in a Best Actor in a Supporting Role the same year for his serial killer character in season five), among many other awards and accolades.
It has seen the real life marriage and divorce of the two main characters; Debra Morgan, played by Jennifer Carpenter and Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall. Survived the diagnosis, treatment and remission of Michael C. Hall’s battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. All in all, I think it is fair to say; this show friggin rocks.
Dexter lives by a “code” thanks to his astute adoptive father’s recognition of his nature as a young boy. Being a detective his father has an upper hand in understanding serial killer behaviors which in turn, given the appropriate course of action, may have a chance at steering his boy in a more positive direction. He does not attempt to change what is unchangeable. Rather he teaches Dexter to use his natural instinct to kill for the purposes of good. Through the principles he learns Dexter is literally transformed into a hero. I mean think about it; the character of Batman, a “superhero” (though he is not one in the true sense since he has no special powers), has a similar history as Dexter. Both witnessed the death of family at a young age, both raised by loving figures who channeled these children’s anger towards fighting enemies rather than taking their aggressions out on the innocent.
Both Batman and Dexter possesses the capability to love but both keep most at arm’s length. Neither are outwardly cruel or mean to those around them. Neither go out of their way to hurt those in their lives, either people they are close to or acquaintances. Dexter often goes out of his way when not donning his superhero/sociopath hat to help those in his life in need.
So, I continue to wonder, is he a villain or a hero? Who is worse? The friend that stabs you in the back? The person in your life you leaned on and trusted that left you crumbled on the floor in a teary mess because it was better for them; knowing the pain it brought upon you? Who would I rather have as a sibling? A man who in the dark of night slew child molesters and murderers, but in the light of day went out of his way to ensure my happiness? Who never called me a bitch or a slut or put me down; who used their knowledge of my insecurities – because I had trusted them enough to share them – to push my buttons for the SOLE purpose of injuring my ego?
This question this moral grey area has been spinning in my head for years.
Anyone wanna chime in? It’s been quite a while and I haven’t made significant progress here!
~ the audacious amateur blogger