Good and Bad Violence in Dexter

WhenApr 26, 2009 from 12:00 pm CT
Location The Raven Foundation Offices
2624 Patriot Blvd
Glenview, IL 60026
Event Details

Event Reflections by Adam Ericksen

Dexter is a fast paced, detective series on Showtime that explores a theme close to the heart of the Raven Foundation: Good and bad violence.  With that in mind, we invited Raven members and friends to come to the Raven office in Glenview, Il., and view the first episode of Dexter, a crime drama that follows the life of the very affable Dexter Morgan, a detective on the pursuit of serial killers.  When the police can’t capture the bad guys, and the bad guys continue to kill innocent victims, Dexter comes to the rescue.  But he is no ordinary detective – Dexter is a serial killer of serial killers.

Which makes him a good serial killer, right?

This is the ethical conundrum Dexter asks its viewers to struggle with, and it’s what we struggled with in our discussion.

Dexter has an innate urge to kill.  Dexter was orphaned as a child, and he was adopted by Harry Morgan, a Miami police officer.  His adoptive father saw the young Dexter’s passion for killing, and directed him to channel his violent propensities in a constructive way by killing only those people who deserve it.

Dexter’s father models for him a “code” for killing, and Dexter uses this code as a way to contain his violent tendencies, but can violence be contained?  In a flashback to his childhood, Dexter kills an animal and his father says to him, “I thought we had this under control.”  The adult Dexter states that, like other serial killers, he is a monster, but he claims to be a “clean monster.”  For Dexter, the rituals that lead up to killing have an “intoxicating” effect on him.  This leads me to the question: Is it possible to control violence once the intoxicating rituals of violence have been unleashed?  Or does violence turn us into a monstrous double of our enemies?

Let us know your thoughts on Dexter.

Enjoy a small slice of  Dexter.


The Raven Foundation Offices


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