I’ve recently become obsessed ShowTime’s “Dexter,” a show about a serial killer that we root for. The series revolves around protagonist Dexter Morgan, a forensic specialist that focuses on blood splatter for a Miami police department. The show centers around the turbulences that Dexter faces as a sociopath, attempting to live a seemingly normal life by day while satisfying his need to kill by night. The twist, however, is Dexter’s strict code; only kill the guilty.
When I first began the show, I was a bit disturbed and didn’t see this as a series or character that I could grow to love so much. Realistically, the plot of the show in itself is risky and whether or not people would respond positively was a gamble the writers were willing to take. While this is posed as a challenge, the plot of the series is also what made the show so successful. My take on the success of the show has to do with the shows ability to captivate a broad audience and to do so in a way that will reel them in and keep them until the very end.
On one hand, we get to see how the protagonist came to be, we are detailed the exact moments his life changed and what truly led him to become the sociopath he finds himself to be later in life. In turn, this leads the audience to feel empathy and to justify the killing of another life because we are given the understanding that traumatic experiences have shaped his persona. On the other hand, we root for him for the type of people he targets.
The audience is taken on a whirlwind of journeys that expose Dexter’s victims for who they are, making us feel like they deserve to die for all of the terrible things they have done to the innocent. The success of “Dexter” is due to its compelling writing, unique plot, and convincing characters.