Why I Love Dexter Morgan & Shirts Dexter Might Wear
(Spoiler alert-do not read if you wish to remain spoiler free)
Dexter is a Showtime network television series. I unsubscribed to Showtime when Stargate SG-1 left for the Sci-Fi channel and had not been tempted to resubscribe based on the popularity of a show whose claim to fame was having a serial killer as the protagonist . After all, didn’t I have enough of serial killers with Criminal Minds, various CSI shows, Law & Order Criminal Intent etc.? Apparently not. Last year I purchased and watched the first season on DVD and was hooked. Within a few months I had purchased and watched 3 seasons. I then subscribed to Showtime but waited till the 4th season was over to watch it from the beginning using the on-demand feature.
So what is it about this show that hooked me. For one thing it is the writing. How refreshing to have writers that don’t feel the pressure to dumb things down. Dexter often makes me uncomfortable as it throws light into many dark little corners of humanity. Yet it is much more than that and the wry dark humor that is peppered throughout even the blackest moments is amazing. The supporting characters are complex and well drawn, plus the actors that play them are at the top of their form. Then there is the superb acting of Michael C.Hall who manages to convey the struggle of a man who must wear a mask at all times in order to avoid discovery and a state administered lethal injection. Mr. Hall is as deft with comedy as drama and strikes just the right note.
Dexter carries within him an avatar of his dead father, Harry Morgan, played by James Remar, who guides Dexter through that minefield that is his life. Harry had recognized the sociopathic tendenancies in the young Dexter and as a cop he was able to give Harry a code to live by. One that would channel Dexter’s murderous impulses into a force for justice. One that should protect the innocent and protect Dexter as well. One thing Harry did not count on was the possibility of change and growth. He believed Dexter incapable of forming real human attachments and communicated that to his son. That was understandable. Has anyone ever heard of a sociopath that could ever feel empathy ? But what Harry hadn’t counted on was Dexter playing his role quite so well. Ever hear the song “I whistle a happy tune” from the King and I? There is a stanza that says “The result of this deception is very strange to tell. For when I fool the people I fear I fool myself as well!” Playing the part of a loving family man begins to transform Dexter him into a feeling human being. He has had to show counterfeit emotions all his life but he now has feelings for his sister, for his girlfriend and her children, even co-workers like Miguel are now part of the circle of people he wants to protect. This has put him at great risk because his “Dark Passenger”, the need to kill, is still with him, still driving him.
When we first meet Dexter we hear him thinking “I dream I’m floating on the surface of my own life, watching it unfold.”
As his journey continues he realizes “I just know there’s something dark in me and I hide it. I certainly don’t talk about it, but it’s there always, this Dark Passenger. And when he’s driving, I feel alive, half sick with the thrill of complete wrongness. I don’t fight him, I don’t want to. He’s all I’ve got. Nothing else could love me, not even… especially not me. Or is that just a lie the Dark Passenger tells me? Because lately there are these moments when I feel connected to something else… someone. It’s like the mask is slipping and things… people… who never mattered before are suddenly starting to matter. It scares the hell out of me.”
By season 5 we hear him think “With Lumen, I’m someone different. In her eyes, I’m not a monster at all.” And “Sometimes partners find us, and as much as we try to push them away, they work their way into our lives, regardless – until we finally realize how much we need them.”
I suppose if someone who has done what Dexter has done could find a way to make a connection, have genuine emotion and caring then we might think there is hope for all of us. Dexter cannot have a happy ever after. Serial killers should not have happy ever after, right? But the little boy that was damaged by witnessing the brutal murder of his mother and who lay in a pool of her blood for days before being discovered by Harry, shouldn’t he have a chance? This show doesn’t make for easy answers but it surely brings up a lot of questions.
Why do I love Dexter Morgan? I love him for his struggle to become human. I hope he can be rid of his Dark Passenger. Since Lumen seemed to have done it when the last of the monsters who had tortured her were dead I wonder if Dexter might be also at some point be free.
by JKW – aka Buzzy Lady #2
Shirts Dexter Morgan Would Wear: