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Dexter - Best Serial Killer TV Thriller

Updated on August 28, 2015

Dexter Morgan

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The Main Plot

Dexter is a TV series that ran on Showtime from 2006 to 2013. The main character is Dexter Morgan, a psychopath who kills other serial killers. He executes those who have escaped from the law and justice. He cleans the garbage of society.

During daytime, Dexter is the mild-mannered easy-going forensic analyst who works for Miami Police Department in Florida. He is your regular guy-next-door who nods and smiles at you, gets doughnuts for his colleagues. At night, he is the ruthless avenging angel who stalks and vets his victims, before taking them down.

The TV show is based on a series on novels by Jeff Lindsay, and has inspired many video games and Halloween party themes.

You might also be interested in Dexter Finale - Top 5 Biggest Flaws

Stalking is an Art

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Why Dexter is a Must Watch

As an avid watcher of serial killer movies and TV shows, I have come to the conclusion that none can surpass or even come close to being as good as Dexter. Here are the main reasons that has made this show so unique:

  • The psychopath's point of view

The entire show is narrated by serial killer himself - what he thinks every moment, how he judges situations, how he easily sees through the mask worn by people. How often do we get to hear a psychopath's perspective? There are hundred of movies and dozens of TV shows that show the cops hunting down serial killers. But our hero is both police and killer.

  • Not your typical psychopath

The best part is that Dexter is not some maniac who kills people randomly for pleasure. He only targets other serial killers who have slipped through the inefficient legal system. In other words, he is your modern-day vigilante without the super-hero mask.

  • Both law-maker and law-breaker

The double life he leads with 2 completely contrasting roles - the crime solver and the homicidal perpetrator - is fascinating to watch. His job in law enforcement is a perfect cover that provides him access to vital confidential information on his potential victims, while his forensic knowledge helps him cover his tracks in a foolproof manner.

  • Angel inside a devil

Deep within his violent mind, there lies a human being who deeply cares for his family. Though, accordingly to him, he is completely devoid of emotions, many of his actions clearly show how much he cares about his sister Debra and his son Harrison.

He does get rid of many merciless killers, molesters and rapists from his city. While his methods are far from the usual moral code, he does help his society in a big way. In the process, he is able to satisfy his strong urge to kill.

Harry Morgan

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Harry's code

How frequently do we get to hear about psychopaths who follow any kind of moral code? Probably never. While this show is based on pure fiction, the story writers have devised a great way to endear our psycho hero to the audience - by introducing Harry's code.

Harry Morgan was a police officer who had rescued a two-year old Dexter from a gruesome crime scene. As he started raising the child as his one of his own, Harry realized that Dexter was not like other children. Having seen many things in his police career, Harry decided that the only way to help Dexter deal with his violent urges was to teach him to channelize them.

Thus came Harry's code - where Dexter learnt only to target other killers, after gathering enough evidence to ensure their guilt. Harry was like the moral compass that helped Dexter control his "Dark Passenger" - a name given by Dexter to his homicidal desires.

Debra Morgan

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Will Debra find out?

Another main character in the series is Debra Morgan, Dexter's sister and a police officer in the Miami Police Department. Needless to say, she knows nothing about his nightly activities. In fact one of the biggest thrills of the series is posed by the question - will she or won't she?

It is amazing how Dexter carries on his nocturnal adventures right under her nose, while Debra blissfully idolizes him for his sharp thinking and crime solving techniques.

Throughout the seasons, we see Debra fight for her brother's attention and feel tormented by his emotional distance. She makes some pretty interesting choices in her romantic partners, proving that she has a knack of missing crucial things right under her nose.

Getting Inside the Psychopath's Head

  • What makes Dexter such an intense watch is the fact that we are able to get inside his head. Dexter keeps mentally narrates his thoughts inside his head, as he goes about his actions. This helps us understand and even relate to him. Sometimes, his actions make so much sense, all because we are able to follow his continuous thought process, almost as if we are his alter-egos.
  • While most of us do not have violent urges, getting to play an alter-ego to a psychopath can be oddly cathartic and satisfying - specially if he is a vigilante. If you have ever had fantasies of playing the avenging vigilante, you might agree when I say that viewers can live their darkest fantasies through someone like Dexter. Let's be honest - if you have read my article this far, there must be some tiny bit inside you that is clearly fascinated by psychopaths :)

Doomsday Revelation

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Ghost from the Past

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How Does He Pull It Off

  • The meticulous way in which Dexter prepares his kill-room and the way he studies his potential victims is quite dark and compelling.
  • Like many other serial killers, Dexter takes real pride in his work. But more than that, he makes sure to torment his victims with the guilt of their past crimes, so that they are fully aware of why they are being executed.
  • He is brilliant at unravelling the murder mysteries. After all, who can think like a killer better than another killer? Like most psychopaths, he is a good judge of characters and can easily spot weakness and discomfort in people.
  • He is great at working his killing-hobby into his regular work schedule. He manages to never raise suspicion. Well, most of the times.
  • And those rare instances when certain people do notice odd things about him or his whereabouts - let me remind you dear readers - Dexter is the evidence expert. Planting false evidence to divert his adversaries isn't so difficult for a forensic analyst.

Best Seasons of Dexter

Each season of Dexter focuses on a different serial killer and how Dexter hunts him down, while hiding crucial evidence he has examined in the crimes scenes left behind by them. This is because Dexter firmly believes that prison would not be good enough for such people.

One important point to note is that this show does not have intensely graphic violence, just the normal amount that can be watched by the average viewer. Of course, some of the scenes may be disturbing, but given that it is a serial-killer series, the violence is much more toned down compared to other similar-themed TV shows like Hannibal or The Following.

The best seasons of Dexter are as follows:

  • Season 1 - The Ice Truck Killer
  • Season 2 - The Bay Harbor Butcher
  • Season 4 - The Trinity Killer

While the other seasons are interesting enough, these three seasons make the maximum impact on our vigilante hero's life and have plenty of nail-biting suspense and some truly diabolic villains.

Watch Dexter Season 1 Trailer

© 2015 Ritu Temptor

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      Miran Shuleta 2 years ago

      Dexter Morgan is one of the best portrayed characters on television, I don't think any other actor could have pulled it off as well as Michael C Hall did. What I enjoyed most about Dexter is how the show manages to make us empathize with a serial killer that lacks basic human emotions. I also loved how Harry's Code played a massive part to his life and how he begins to question his actions later on in the show.

      Season 4 was my favourite, whereas season 8 was atrocious, hated every minute.

      Very Cool Hub!

    • temptor94 profile image
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      Ritu Temptor 2 years ago from India

      I couldn't agree more, Michael C. Hall was literally made for this role. Dexter is one of those unforgettable characters who can only be surpassed by himself. Season 4 is my favourite too, the ending was so horrifying and heart-breaking - Trinity went down, but not before destroying a part of Dexter. Season 8 had a different and worst writer, it was a slow torture waiting to end.

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      Miran Shuleta 2 years ago

      Very well put!

    • DaphneDL profile image

      Daphne D. Lewis 2 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Michael C. Hall was fantastic in his role as Dexter. He not only made you empathize with him, he actually made you like him. Dexter was one of my favorite TV series, but Season 8 was definitely a disappointment.

    • temptor94 profile image
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      Ritu Temptor 2 years ago from India

      So true! He did make us love him just the way he was, before he started slackening in the last season.

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