Recently, a friend recommended a show I had zero interest in. After hearing more and more about how great it was, I eventually became curious. Shandon was kind enough to let me borrow the first season she had on DVD so I decided to give it a try. I'm officially a convert. The show is called Dexter and it's on Showtime, currently in it's second season. I was initially turned off by the subject manner (day in the life of a serial killer) and the billboard (Ewwwwwww!):
I know, I know. It's a disgusting subject and what redeeming qualities could it possibly have? Well, I'm telling you it's a wonderful show. It's a crime show on par with Law & Order if that gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. Honestly, I think I prefer it to Law & Order. I know those are fightin' words but I'm dead serious (pardon the pun).
Dexter is about a sociopath who was adopted by a police officer when he was very young after a traumatic event that is revealed throughout the first season. Dexter's adoptive father knows that he has killer tendencies, due to this terrible experience, and tries to help him channel his tendencies by giving him a normal life, teaching him how to fake emotions and hunting. He eventually realizes that Dexter will likely kill anyway so he teaches him to choose his victims carefully and to only kill those who have killed innocent people. He teaches Dexter his "code" to "work" by. Dexter does not understand emotions but he understands these rules his fathers has taught him and strictly adheres to them . Dexter's father teaches him to a) Be certain of guilt, b) Kill only those who really deserve it c) how to never get caught and d) never let emotions drive your actions (as if Dexter had any).
Really, Dexter is not very different from Batman. He lacks the costume and ride but otherwise the main characters are very similar. Don't get me wrong, this is no super hero series. It's SO much better than that. The dark humor often comes from Dexter's inability to understand emotions and read people. He works in forensics and has a sister (the girl he was raised with) who works on Homicide. Dexter knows how a killer's mind works and tends to solve crimes before the police can. Once Dexter is certain he's got a ridiculously guilty criminal on his hands he "takes care of" them in the same systematic manner. Believe it or not, the viewer is almost immediately on Dexter's side. Each episode features another scum bag but the most interesting story line is that of another serial killer playing a cat and mouse game with Dexter. I'm not proud of it but I've watched the entire first season this weekend. I dare you to watch the first couple of episodes and not be hooked.
Oh, and don't worry, you don't have to watch any killings. Much is left to the imagination. To be clear, I'm not a fan of gore. I prefer suspense and that's exactly what this show delivers. The last episode of the season is particularly great. Don't skip ahead though. It's important to watch this one in order. The show is now in it's second season. I can't wait to get my hands on those episodes. I heart Dexter!
(Shandon, don't worry, I'll be returning the discs to you tomorrow, if you're around. I think you should check it out ASAP and I'd hate to be the one to trip you up. I think you and Norman would love it.)