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.