Thursday, December 15, 2011


10 (Psychological) Reasons why we like Dexter Morgan

Photo©Christian Weber/Showtime

There must be (logical) reasons why the world fell in love with the character of Dexter Morgan as portrayed in Showtime’s series “Dexter”. How do we come to empathize with a blood-spatter analyst by day turned serial killer by night? I’ve selected 10 reasons why I believe Dexter’s such a sweetheart in our minds.

1. The “Normality” factor

Dexter Morgan is not portrayed as a monster. He is not some middle-aged guy that keeps dissected animals in his house and dead bodies in the cellar or in the backyard. He is not the classical killer marked by visible deviant behavior. He is the guy next door with a dirty secret.

2. We understand addiction and compulsion

One extra chocolate, cigarettes for every mood, checking locks for the tenth time, color-coordinated wardrobe, just one more drop of wine and, why not, a killing impulse that needs to be fed. When seen from the perspective of compulsions and addictions, Dexter’s situation is completely out of his control. “He can’t help it.” The viewer feels sorry for the character, for he is not always the top-dog , he becomes helpless, just like any of us confronted with inner demons. Dexter becomes easy to identify with.


3.The troubled childhood

Something of these proportions – the multiple killings – officially can’t be justified. But when you find out about the traumatic event little Dexter’s been through – that of watching his mother being killed and staying for a long time in her blood until he and his brother are finally found by the police- the whole story makes sense. It is expected that a man with a troubled childhood to develop anti-social behavior. Whew, so it’s not him. Again, he is a nice guy forced by traumatic events to develop in “a bit” of a deviant sense.

4. Dexter rationalizes, therefore you rationalize

Reasons, he has them. Socially, nothing justifies murder. However, the whole story behind Dexter’s behavior seems to hold water and somehow naturally leads him towards this form of catharsis. He (the viewer also) seems to be pleased with the idea of killing bad people because they deserve it, because they’ve managed to escape the judicial system, because this is how Dexter deals with his compulsions, because this is how bits of evil actions are gradually stopped.

5. Meet Super Dexter

Actually there aren’t that many differences between Dex and Superman or any other superhero. They all have a secret identity, they all appear out of the blue in critical moments and use their un-common/un-natural/super-natural features to make things right (or at least change the expected course of events).

6. Reformulating

When we watch Dexter, we teach our brain the following little trick: “Dear brain, Dexter is not doing anything bad, no-no. He is making the world a better and safer place by taking out these bad-bad men”. And ta-daaa, your brain likes Dex and enables you to empathize with the character.

7. Anti-social behavior, but great social skills

Nice but not so valid contrast. Aside the killing aspect, Dexter managed to be (or at least pass as) a good husband and father, caring brother, team-player and friend. Way to go for a psychopath.

8. Everybody else likes him

The other characters rely on Dexter and have a good relationship with him. That is what validates your feelings regarding him too. Of course you don’t care for those that don’t quite like him and almost uncover his secret. Now these guys only nose around and almost become the negative characters. Hm, isn’t that funny…


9. He’s so human

Isn’t he? Dexter Morgan, without the Dark Passenger, is just an average guy that struggles to have a normal life, be part of a normal family and have a nice couple life, trying to deal with all the drama in his past and actual life and plays an overall positive social role.

10. Yes, Michael C. Hall

The role fits him like a glove. His appearance and acting skills allow you to project about everything on him and his actions in the movie. You can love or hate him at times, think that he is selfish or generous, caring or lacking empathy, playful or with no sense of humour etc. He is the whole package and watching the show takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. And for five seasons so far, we’ve all enjoyed the ride.


List of Dexter characters

This is a list of characters from the Showtime TV series Dexter and the Jeff Lindsay novels, including Darkly Dreaming Dexter (on which the show was based), Dearly Devoted Dexter, Dexter in the Dark, Dexter by Design, and Dexter is Delicious.

Main characters

1 Dexter Morgan

2 Debra Morgan

3 Rita Bennett

4 Angel Batista

5 María LaGuerta

6 Vince Masuka

7 Joey Quinn

8 Harry Morgan

9 James Doakes

DEXTER (Season 2)

Dexter Morgan

Main article: Dexter Morgan

Michael C. Hall

Maxwell Huckabee (Dexter at 3)

Dominic Janes (preteen Dexter)

Devon Graye (teenage Dexter)

Dexter Morgan (born Moser) is the main character and narrator of the series. Dexter is a forensics expert and blood spatter analyst employed by the Miami Metro Police Department, but has a double life as a serial killer. As young boys, he and his older brother Brian witnessed the murder of their mother, Laura Moser, and were left for two days in a shipping container filled with blood. The incident left them psychologically scarred. Soon afterwards, Dexter was adopted by Harry Morgan, who hoped to help repress his memory of the death of his mother. However, he soon realized that Dexter had an insatiable urge to kill that would begin to intensify. Harry, frustrated with the amount of people who avoided justice, decided to train Dexter as a killer who would target and dispatch other serial killers.

Dexter considers himself emotionally divorced from the rest of humanity; in his narration, he often refers to "humans" as if he is not one of them. Dexter makes frequent references to an internal feeling of emptiness, leading to several attempts in his youth to "feel alive". Dexter claims to have no feelings or conscience and that all of his emotional responses are part of a well-rehearsed act to conceal his true nature. In the first season of the television series he had no interest in romance or sex; this changed when he became involved with Lila in the second season. He initially considered his relationship with Rita to be part of his disguise. However, by the end of the fourth season, Dexter had fully evolved into a family man and wished to rid himself of his self-titled "Dark Passenger".


There are chinks in Dexter's emotional armour, however. He acknowledges loyalty to family, particularly his, now deceased, adoptive father, stating "If I were capable of love, how I would have loved Harry."[citation needed] Since Harry's death, Dexter's only family has been his sister, Debra Morgan, Harry's biological daughter. At the end of the first novel, Dexter admits that he could not hurt Debra or allow Brian to harm her because he is "fond of her".

Dexter likes children[citation needed]. The flip side of this affection is that Dexter is particularly wrathful when his victims prey on children[citation needed]. In the book Dearly Devoted Dexter, Dexter realized that Rita's son Cody was showing the same signs of sociopathy as Dexter had at that age, and looked forward to providing him with "guidance" similar to that which Harry provided him. Cody's perceived sociopathy has not been shown in the television series.


This also gives him a reason to continue his relationship with Rita, to whom (as of Dearly Devoted Dexter) he is engaged because of a misunderstanding. At the beginning of the third book, Dexter in the Dark, it is revealed that Cody is not the only one with dark impulses, as Astor too pressures Dexter to teach her. Dexter comes to accept his role as a stepfather to both children very seriously in Dexter in the Dark. For example, while on a stakeout, he begins to wonder if Cody has brushed his teeth before going to bed and if Astor had set out her Easter dress for photo-day at her school. These thoughts distract him while he is waiting for an intended victim, which thoroughly annoys him. In the TV series, Dexter also takes a detour in his code of only killing murderers in order to dispose of a pedophile who is stalking Astor.

Animals do not like Dexter, which can cause noise problems when Dexter stalks a victim with pets. He is quoted as having once had a dog that barked and growled at Dexter until he was forced to get rid of it, and a turtle, which hid in its shell until it died of starvation rather than have to deal with Dexter.[1]



Debra Morgan

Main article: Debra Morgan

Jennifer Carpenter

Haley King (teenage Debra)

Laura Marano (young Debra)

Debra Morgan (known as Deborah Morgan in the book) is the younger foster sister of Dexter and biological child of Harry Morgan. Debra believed that she truly knew her father, but is unaware of the secrets he kept, especially concerning Dexter (whom she sees as a true brother). Inspired by their father's legendary police career, Debra joined the police and desperately yearned to become a homicide detective. Initially assigned to Vice, she was transferred to Homicide at the start of the first season. Being new to the job and very insecure, she largely relied on Dexter's expertise on murderers to solve difficult cases. Debra met Rudy Cooper, who unknown to her is the Ice Truck Killer using her to get close to Dexter. She falls in love with him, but is later kidnapped by him in order to be able to reveal himself to Dexter. She is bound to a table in the same manner that Dexter kills his victims, while Dexter and Brian discuss her fate. In the show, she is unconscious, but in Darkly Dreaming Dexter, she is awake and finds out that her brother is a killer. Debra is severely affected by Rudy's betrayal; she moves in with Dexter for fear of being alone.


Throughout the second season, Debra stays in her brother's apartment as she deals with the trauma of what happened, but leaves his apartment in a mess. Debra is a key member of the police task force in charge of finding the Bay Harbor Butcher, who is secretly Dexter. She falls for an older man, Frank Lundy, the FBI agent in charge of the case, all the while improving her ability on the job. By the end of Season 2, Debra has recovered from the trauma of the Ice Truck Killer, confident as an officer, and is determined to get her detective shield.

In Season 3, Debra has had her hair cut to shoulder length, has "sworn off men, liquor and smokes" and is even more determined to get her silver detective shield. She is working with a new partner, Detective Quinn, but has been approached by an Internal Affairs officer who tells her that her partner is being investigated as a dirty cop, but she refuses to help them. She was originally part of the team investigating the murder of Miguel Prado's brother, Oscar, but because of her lack of tact and people skills she was removed from the case by newly-promoted Angel Batista; however, the case she had been assigned (the murder of a young woman) was eventually found to have been connected to the Skinner case, which she solved with the help of Anton, a C.I. whom she started dating after saving his life from the Skinner. Because of her success on the Skinner case, she was promoted to detective at the end of the season.


She is known to have a very foul mouth, and she hardly speaks a sentence without swearing. This has nearly gotten her into trouble, as she often speaks profanely to her superiors, only to realize a few seconds after. It finally got her into trouble in the third season, as a poorly-timed public comment caused her to be kicked off the Freebo case. She is also known for being easily angered and frustrated by suspects. Though she is frustrated at Dexter's inability to open up to her, she has defended him on more than one occasion.

A conversation between her and Dexter leads to her finding out that her father slept with one of his confidential informants. She investigates the files on Harry's  informants and interviews some of them, hoping to find the one with whom Harry had an affair. One of the files is shown to be that of Laura Moser. Also during this time, her relationship with Anton had been breaking, especially now that he had secured a gig in the city instead of on a cruise ship. Also, Frank Lundy returns to Miami to hunt the Trinity Killer, and Debra once again becomes involved with Lundy. Soon, both she and Lundy are shot by an unknown assailant suspected to be the Vacation Killers. In her hospital bed, she confesses to Anton that she slept with Lundy, prompting him to leave her. Lundy dies, and she eventually concludes that the Trinity Killer must have been the shooter. As a result, Debra opens an investigation on the Trinity Killer. However, it is later determined that Trinity could not have been the shooter, since her wounds from the bullet were at a horizontal line, therefore someone of Masuka's height had to be the shooter. During a Thanksgiving dinner Debra remembers a conversation she had with Christine Hill and realizes Hill has knowledge of the shooting that no one outside the police department should possess. This leads Debra to believe that she was the shooter. This is backed up later when it is revealed that Hill is the daughter of Trinity. Hill later confesses to Debra that she was the shooter, and proceeds to shoot herself in the head. Due to her solving the Lundy killing, Debra restarts her search for Harry's C.I. mistress, and finds out about Laura Moser, and the fact that Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer were brothers.

Read more > >

DEXTER (Season 3)

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