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Farewell, Dexter

by Published: Sep 25, 2013

On Sunday night, the Showtime tele­vi­sion hit series “Dexter” aired its final episode.

For eight sea­sons, I, along with mil­lions of other view­ers, have fol­lowed the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of Dexter Morgan. Dexter, played by award-winning actor Michael C. Hall, is a blood spat­ter pat­tern ana­lyst for the fic­tional Miami Metro Police Department, who also leads a secret life as a ser­ial killer.

Don’t write him off as just another Jason or Freddy. As a young boy, Dexter was taught “The Code” by his police offi­cer father who rec­og­nized the urge to kill in his adopted son. All of Dexter’s vic­tims must be killers them­selves. They must have killed with­out jus­ti­fi­able cause and must be likely to do so again.

“The Code” wasn’t designed to turn Dexter into some kind of warm, fuzzy teddy bear fit for TV audi­ences. For eight sea­sons, Dexter sliced, diced, stabbed, chopped, stran­gled, smoth­ered (well, you get the point) and gen­er­ally wreaked havoc on Miami’s crim­i­nal underworld.

As the series came to a close, I found myself reflect­ing on the years I’d devoted to it. I began to won­der how a grisly show became so pop­u­lar. Why did so many fol­low­ers latch onto such a dark, vio­lent premise? How did America fall in love with a ser­ial killer?

Well, how does any book, tele­vi­sion show or movie become pop­u­lar? Ah yes, the audi­ence must find some aspect relatable.

But, what’s relat­able about a ser­ial killer? Anyone who has fol­lowed Dexter’s jour­ney over the year’s can answer that ques­tion with the same ease as the unlikely hero sink­ing his knife into his victim’s chest.

When you strip away the killer façade, Dexter, like the aver­age per­son, is vul­ner­a­ble. He makes mis­takes. He has regrets. And, he’s hope­ful for the future. It may seem that Dexter derives end­less joy from end­ing lives, but in actu­al­ity, all he wants is to find hap­pi­ness as a nor­mal person.

Wanting to find hap­pi­ness as a nor­mal per­son. Now, that’s some­thing every­one can relate to.