“Dexter”, which first aired to critical acclaim in 2006, is still one of the best TV series and remains to this day the most watched series on Showtime ever. The first season of the series is based on the novel “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay, which centers on seemingly normal blood-splatter detective Dexter Morgan. Morgan is a somewhat awkward and nerdy yet friendly team member of the Miami Metro Police Department. However, Dexter also has a dark secret: he is an experienced and active serial killer. From a young age, Dexter had morbid and intense urges to kill that resulted from a bloody and traumatic scene witnessed as a mere three-year-old. His adoptive father, who is a respected police detective when he discovers Dexter’s sociopathic tendencies, decides to train Dexter in the way of the vigilante. Instead of trying to eliminate Dexter’s dark desires, he chooses to guide them; in order to spare the lives of innocent would-be victims, he teaches Dexter to release his urge to kill on those unsavory characters who—if anyone does—deserve to be chopped into pieces and tossed into the ocean. This “Code” maintains that Dexter’s victims must be killers themselves that are a threat to society—namely, that there is a clear possibility that they plan to kill again. Like other serial killers, Dexter relishes each kill, and thus he keeps a trophy to savor the memories even more. He keeps his trophies in the form of a slide containing a drop of blood, which he keeps in a case hidden in the air-conditioning vent in his apartment. In the first season, Dexter is highly self-conscious about his sociopathic nature and apparent lack of emotion. He struggles to fit in, or at least to appear to fit in, with the rest of society. He even has a girlfriend, Rita, to complete his ruse. As the seasons progress, however, Dexter’s character is constantly changing and learning in every direction, which includes but is not limited to his emotional intelligence. He eventually realizes that he has genuine affection for Rita, a discovery that both relieves and terrifies him. Once he discovers that he does in fact possess feelings, his relationships with those he is closest to begin to complicate his extracurricular activities and force him to question the nature of his secret identity.
Aside from a skilled cast and unique, slightly horrifying premise, this inner conflict is at the heart of what makes Dexter such an psychologically fascinating series for many viewers. At first, Dexter seems to be a secretive monster of sorts with almost no conscience except for the one that was prescribed to him by his adoptive father. However, his character is developed to reveal a tortured soul that does in fact have deep feelings as well as a strong desire to do right for the benefit of the rest of society. One fun part of the series is that it’s set and filmed on location in sunny, fun-loving Miami, which offers a creepy contrast to the dark subject matter. The cast includes a dynamic variety of characters, some of which have a great sense of humor. Dexter is a well-rounded show with all the elements of a smart drama.