Why would people watch a show that celebrates the life and values of a serial killer? Does it appeal to our morbid sense of curiosity and vigilante justice? Dexter is the main character of Showtime’s hit series about his life as a serial killer. He reveals his morbid thoughts. We watch his illegal activities. We hope he escapes capture. We want him to continue his bloody path of vigilante justice.
The show stops viewers like me in their tracks and draws them away from the newspaper and the distractions of everyday life. The characters, good and bad, capture the audience with their display complexity of their motivations, decisions, and actions. What makes the Dexter show great is that it allows us to celebrate that small part of us that embraces vengeance. It is a show that can pose deep moral issues while simultaneously being entertaining.
If the show profiled a ruthless serial killer that destroyed innocent life, it would not have the huge fan base. The fact that Dexter has a code and only hunts murders or other serial killers combines the qualities of a hero with a villain. “Dexter has "Robin Hood" similarities. Robin Hood steals from the rich to give to the poor, so one would ask is Robin Hood a thief? In fact yes, but his cause trumps his actions and he is viewed as a hero. Dexter on the other hand hunts/kills serial killers (generally people who are bad for society, and overall promoting greater safety on the streets) but none the less he is a serial killer himself but does his intentions make killing any less of a crime or exonerate him of any wrong doing?” It is a show that opens up new ways of seeing old ideas.
If a villain can be a hero and a hero can be a villain, then there isn’t a safe line that divides the best of us from the worst of us. It pushes us to understand that the only difference between good and evil is our own perspective. More importantly, it makes us question whether we too could succumb to... [continues]
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