Wednesday, October 7, 2009
First Entertainment Review: Dexter
I already do movie and book reviews, but I like some other things too, so I decided to review them too. Entertainment reviews will be less specific and may contain anything that entertains, not just movies or books. Today, I am going to review the TV show Dexter starring Michael C. Hall.
Dexter appears on Showtime, and as such contains material not appropriate for many people, however, I don't watch it for the visual content. I watch it for the exploration of morality it represents.
Story: Dexter Morgan is a police blood spatter analyst by day, and a serial killer by night. His father, a police detective, realized what he was when he was young after he adopted him when he began to kill small animals. His father trained him to be extremely discreet and to kill only those who deserved it. Thus, Dexter avoids prison and serves a useful purpose by cleaning up what the justice system misses. Oh, and he also gets to be the most successful prolific serial killer in the world.
The question of morality comes when you understand what Dexter is. If we are really honest, Dexter is a cold blooded murdering psychopath. Well, maybe he's warm blooded. But properly understood, he doesn't kill for the justice in it, that's just a side effect. He kills to sate his "dark passenger" mentioned in the novels and recently more often on the show. One of the novels explains the dark passenger like a malevolent spirit or ancient god, though that specific novel was unpopular due to the spirituality therein.
Much of the show evolves around the "code" Dexter's father Harry taught him. The code keeps him from getting caught and keeps his activities in the realm of a service rather than a menace to society. In the first season, the main villain is Dexter's long lost biological brother who for the same reason is likewise a psychopath, only without the code, tries to kill Dex's sister, so he kills him. In the second season, Dexter's exploits are discovered but he gets lucky when his mistress frames someone else for him, so he has to kill her. In the third season, he reluctantly accepts an apprentice of sorts who won't follow the code and kills in anger, so Dexter kills him. Also in the third season is a Nicaraguan torture expert who though he says he tortures to extract information, really just does it because he likes it. He tries to kill Dexter so Dexter kills him. Now we have the fourth season where the villain is a long time serial killer and has been exposed in the first episode, and I'm not sure how it will play out, but I think Dexter will kill him.
I really like this show. They could really cut down on the swearing and nudity, but the gore seems pretty accurate generally speaking. I swing back and forth between for and against the death penalty, but it really comes down to being for it for all who deserve it regardless of race or economic status. As you may know, nearly all cases of the death penalty are executed upon people of the lower classes, and that's just not right. So pragmatically, I'm against the death penalty as law. But it would be a very interesting situation indeed if there were a guy in the world who kills only murderers and rapists. This show is definitely not for minors, and not for the squeamish.