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Rock, Paper, Scissors- Who Would Win the TV Serial Killer Battle?

Updated on September 14, 2014

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

The Winner Is???

Between Joe Carroll, Dexter Morgan, and Hannibal Lecter, who just might come out on top? Oh, and for those of you who want to get snarky and go on about how Dexter isn’t on TV anymore, if you saw the disappointing final season you know he’s out there somewhere, so just stuff it and pay attention.

Hey, we all have our favorite serial killers, right? At least when it comes to putting together a good story, these sorts of characters can be a lot of fun, and thought provoking, too. It is story and character depth that makes the serial killer the perfect fodder for storytelling, right? And when it comes to these three fellows, they’re actually quite different from another despite the obvious similarities, adding to the depth. But if they were pitted against one another, who might be the winner? Who might just walk away, alone, the last one standing?

I believe it would be fair to say Dexter Morgan would be more than happy to hunt these other two. After all, going after his own kind has long been his claim to fame. Dexter’s lived by a certain code, claiming he only kills those who kill others, although he’s been known to deviate from this, particularly in his recent adventures. But if Dexter were home and watching the TV and then saw the bizarre story of Joe Carroll come across the air, he would be doing his own searching for the charismatic Joe and his band of minions. But Dexter tends to get single-minded and can sometimes fall into a trap he doesn’t need, at least according to the writers at the time. Dexter is good at what he does, but can get daring. So, if he were to be caught by Carroll’s people…it just might be quite a trying time for our favorite blood splatter analyst. They wouldn’t kill him, of course, as Joe would relish in the idea of a scintillating conversation, wanting details and the back story in all its fanfare.

So then, Hannibal Lecter is also one who enjoys a good game. In fact, while I could easily picture Hannibal liking Joe Carroll a great deal, considering his finer tastes in good things and literature, I could see Hannibal ensuring Dexter had a fair chance. Judging by how Hannibal enjoys the cat-and-mouse with Clarice and so on, he would be more than fascinated by the drama in this equation. He’d likely do so through dining on a few of Carroll’s followers, clearing a path for Dexter to escape from, if necessary, and locate Joe. Furthermore, Hannibal would surely be working with Agent Ryan, who is seeking Carroll out with the intent of stopping him once and for all.

I’ll help you catch him, Ryan, but quid pro quo. Would Ryan hand over Harrison, Dexter’s son, in order to smoke out the competition? By handing over Harrison to Carroll, Dexter, should he be free (and he wouldn’t be held for long), would do whatever he could to liberate his boy. That would force Joe to pay close attention to what Dexter might be doing, and that would allow Hannibal to enjoy the drama while occasionally dining on another one of the followers. Or he might dine on Masuka, Dexter’s colleague, although he’d be quite hungry again in about an hour.

But Joe would be on the game of just more than Dexter. Joe, unlike his two nemeses, enjoys the attention he receives from who and what he is. He enjoys his followers and how they make him look. They protect him, the help make up who he is, and they’re more than willing to do his bidding. Joe wouldn’t just see Dexter as a threat; everything about Hannibal coming after him and his people would be enough for him to pursue the good doctor. While Joe Carroll just might enjoy the friendship of one such as Dr. Lecter, he couldn’t have such competition in close proximity and he would never trust him. The cock-blocking between these two would be incessant. There aren’t just people to kill, but also egos to fellate. But what would Joe do to pursue Hannibal?

Hannibal has his weaknesses and among them is an affinity for life’s finer things. Joe Carroll thrives on having followers coming to him from far and wide, from all walks of life and within virtually every career pursuit. So it only stands to reason there would be some of Joe’s Followers within the orchestra, sawing away on the Viola or Violin while keeping a firm eye on Hannibal while he sits and enjoys the sound of Bach’s fifth Brandenburg Concerto. Surely these followers would lure Hannibal by ensuring one of the musicians squeaked just a bit too much on the clarinet or perhaps the oboe. Or, better yet, the conductor would be continually off time, swishing that wand up when it should be on the way down, causing the good doctor to salivate while considering the taste of the offender’s lungs when sautéed with a red wine sauce and tossed in with some spinach greens and black-eyed peas. The desire would be to snatch Hannibal when he’s elbow-deep in some chest.

But would Joe want Hannibal merely stabbed in the back, left to bleed out like a common doe-eyed girl from Wisconsin? No, Carroll’s desire to weave his tale, to tell his Poe-like story, would compel him to have Hannibal brought to him, shackled and chained, and placed before the mantelpiece where there is a great, roaring fire and Chopin gently tickling the keys filling the room with subtle music.

Joe would turn slowly in his high-backed leather chair and say, “Good evening, Dr. Lecter. I do apologize for the, shall we say, dramatic fashion of your stay with us, but I must assure you that, until we run a blade through your spine, I will see to it that your stay with us is quite comfortable.”

“I do so appreciate your concern for my comfort, Mr. Carroll,” Hannibal might say as he works a small pick into the lock of the cuffs.

Just then, Hannibal would see Dexter rise into sight from behind Joe’s comfortable chair, but would give no sign of it. He would only slightly smile to the sight of Dexter’s needle plunging into Joe’s neck, placing there a healthy dose of animal tranquilizer.

“I’m sorry I don’t have time to deal with you now, Dr. Lecter,” Dexter might say. “But my table only has room for one. But rest assured we’ll meet again very soon.”

The shackles would fall to the floor and Hannibal would be free while he watched Dexter wrestle Joe Carroll’s inert body from the room.

Dr. Lecter would stand still, smiling, and say, “My dear Dexter, might I be able to assist you with such an imposing encumbrance?”

Dexter would politely deny the assistance, taking the time to pull Joe’s body over the myriad of followers’ bodies littering the halls. But soon, just upstairs, within Joe Carroll’s own palatial suites, Dexter would have one room lined with plastic, with Joe Saran-wrapped to the table while Dexter, wearing his obligatory butcher’s apron, chooses his favorite cutlery.

We’d see Joe Carroll regain consciousness and quickly recognize the gravity of his situation. But then, this is Joe Carroll, so he would conduct himself accordingly.

“Well, Mr. Morgan, so it seems you have me at a disadvantage,” Joe might say. “Might I interest you in some sort of mutually beneficial agreement that does not, I repeat, does not, result with my various body parts sinking into the depths of the sea?”

Dexter would take a stand right next to Joe and say (knowing he has no intention of cooperating), “What might you have in mind, Joe? If anyone in the world would understand why I have to do this, it would be you, wouldn’t you agree?”

Then, Dexter would be there behind Joe with his scalpel, intending to cut the cheek of his adversary in order to obtain the ceremonial blood slide and therefore, exceptional trophy.

“Dear man, do you think you could obtain your trophy from somewhere else other than my face? I do have a reputation and appearance to maintain,” Joe would say. “I’m sure an intelligent man like you would understand.”

Dexter, leaning in with scalpel in hand, would look off into the distance and then say, “I suppose I could consider such a request, should I have the time, but I don’t see how a small cut on your cheek would distract from the fact that you’ll soon fill about a dozen black plastic bags, each of which will contain large amounts of your cold, dead blood and body. Even with those such as ourselves all around us, I fail to see how your appearance would be pleasant to anyone, cheek unblemished or no.”

Just then, Dr. Hannibal Lecter would be seen just on the other side of the clear plastic, seen because he took the moment to say, “I cannot help but to wince at your gauche methods of coping with your pursuits, Mr. Morgan. But then, those settling in with positions of public service, such as city police work, are never known to harbor sophisticated tastes. Rather, your methods are mundane and clinical at best.

“Because of this, my good man, I am afraid I must inform you that I cannot allow this end with such a boring conclusion such as this.”

Then, because of the opaque nature of the clear plastic, Dr. Lecter would suddenly disappear from sight as he backed away.

Joe Carroll, even though he’s bound in a rather undignified position, would smile and say, “Now, Dexter. Haven’t you heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Furthermore, aren’t you aware that a good teacher, one such as myself, is continually inundated with such fresh fruit by a multitude of adoring students?”

Just then, before Dexter could commit the final blow with a bowie knife to Joe’s chest, the room is suddenly filled with a countless number of followers, there to rescue their charismatic leader. They would be rushing to Joe’s rescue and Dexter’s prompt demise, but that wouldn’t play out well in a theatrical ending, now would it? So, who would see to Dexter’s assured escape? With the power suddenly going out throughout the mansion and all these bumbling followers not knowing what to do next, Dexter would certainly make his escape…

…but not without the good Dr. Lecter seeing him flee, all thanks to the rather useful albeit cumbersome night vision goggles left behind by a deceased Jame Gumb.

So, while the group is wielding flashlights and knives in the dark in order to cut Joe loose from the binding plastic wrap, Dr. Lecter would be on the trail of Dexter as he finds his way out of the house. Unfortunately for Dr. Lecter, Dexter is quite quick and agile, prone to adrenaline-fueled bursts of speed and strength that the subtle doctor could not match. Besides, now that someone found the circuit breakers flipped, Dr. Lecter finds he’s also being pursued by Joe Carroll’s droll pack of minion zombies. In the dark or behind the curtain, there are a lot of these people intent on pleasing the boss.

So, as Hannibal loses Dexter into the dark of night, he steps into the shadows, allowing for the minions to stampede past him while he devises his own escape. While doing so, he whispers to the shadows, “While it seems our game is still in play, I do believe the time to see the festivities come to a close is near the top of the hour.”

Just then, Dr. Lecter senses his cell phone vibrate in his pocket. He looks to see just who that might be and then sees a text message from Joe Carroll. It reads: Your confidence is misplaced, Doctor. That would be the moment when he’d sense someone nearby (likely through catching the scent of Joe’s aftershave or the wax of his shoe polish) and turn just quick enough to stop the blade from piercing his neck, wrestling face-to-face with none other than Joe.

But Hannibal would stop the action and state, “Now, Joe. You have to know this cannot end well for you, isn’t that correct? While I cannot claim to harbor a legion of assistants, I am well known for having a trick or two up my sleeve.”

And that’s the moment when Agent Ryan would burst in, followed by about forty other officers while making an extraordinary amount of noise. It would be fascinating to fathom how Joe would be left standing with his hands up while Dr. Lecter virtually vanished in thin air.

“Aw, come on, Joe. Why do you have to keep making this so easy?” Ryan would say with his usual smug demeanor.

That’s when Joe’s phone would ring. He would answer and receive, “Dearest Agent Ryan, I have to inform you that our little game simply cannot be done so quickly and with so little flair.”

“Who is this?”

“I am Dr. Hannibal Lecter, asking a favor from you. If you take a look at the pictures coming to your phone right now…”

The phone would be binging as one pic after the next arrives…

“…you would see I have with me your very lovely niece. She is quite the darling young officer and I believe the meat of her thighs would go well with a chipotle sauce along with a fresh-“

“What do you want?”

“Merely that you allow Joe to walk away,” Dr. Lecter would say after snapping a selfie with him behind the lovely Max (played by the lovely Jessica Stroup) while holding a knife to her throat. “Allow Joe to escape and I will allow this alluring charmer to escape. Quid pro quo, Agent Ryan.”

Thus, Joe, with a gentle nod and subtle bow, says to Ryan just before he steps out of sight, “Of course, Ryan, we’ll surely have to do this again very soon. Until then, do take care, old friend.”

We could go on and on with these scenarios for a thousand pages, dear readers. But could there ever be a way to determine just might who enjoy the final win? Could it ever work out that the contest would be reduced to just two competitors? After all, if one of the things, either rock, paper, or scissors, is removed from the equation, the logical conclusion would seem so obvious. If it’s just paper and scissors…well, one sees the clarity of the moment. But in our scenario, who is who?

Dear Mr. J.J. Abrams,

Do I have a movie idea for you…


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