“People fake a lot of human interactions, but I feel like I fake them all, and I fake them very well. That’s my burden, I guess” Dexter Morgan (Micheal. C. Hall) Season one, episode one.
According to Elizabeth Klaver, autopsy and human dissection from the 1900’s has influenced popular culture and mass consumption. In relation to Helen Macdonald’s perspective of dissection, Dexter also features similar practises or concepts to 19th century autopsy.
The male protagonist, Dexter works within the crime scene department as a “blood splatter analyst” who dismembers criminals and murderers in his spare time. The character’s sinister intentions may relate to Macdonald’s analysis into the dissection of individuals who had disobeyed the law during the medieval era.
Dexter extracts blood samples from each victim, which is then placed onto a slide that is stored within his apartment. Dexter’s quick and decisive analysis of the corpse that is found within the crime scene amazes his other colleagues and perhaps his previous victims provides the character with an understanding for blood and other elements of the human body. Dexter punishes each murderer, rapist and criminal with mutilation, although Dexter also manages to separate his activity from his normal family life.
Dexter only kills individuals that have taken the life from another person, which is continually juxtaposed with his domesticated lifestyle that positions Dexter as a caring, loving father and husband.
These particular compositions also invites the viewer to consider whether the protagonist is good or an evil character?
According to the Showtime Entertainment website, Dexter is constantly conflicting with his dark and sinister intentions, which is described as his “dark passenger” within the series. There is a constant struggle for Dexter to separate his sadistic desires from his work or family life in order to conceal his anonymity.
For the viewers perspective, it is like watching two different characters constantly battling with Dexter’s own conscience. Dexter significantly contrasts with other forensic or crime scene shows, which aim to uncover the cause of death and the suspect. Each crime scene or investigation within Dexter contrasts with the character’s own sense of morality, which also encourages one to question the nature of humanity.
The image at the top may suggest that Dexter has become a fallen angel, although the character continues to peruse a normal, everyday life, his overwhelming desire to kill slots into place.
Micheal Goldwyn & Tony Cuesta. “Dexter: Season One.” 650 minutes. United States: Showtime Entertainment / Paramount, 2007
Showtime. “Dexter Morgan.” Showtime http://www.sho.com/sho/dexter/cast/5865/dexter-morgan (accessed 27/4/12)