Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 24, 2017

Final Report Installment #1 Lillia Hendrickson (Class 10) Dexter and Philosophy

Dexter is a tv series about a serial killer who kills other serial killers and this book is the philosophical analysis of the whole nine seasons of the show. One of the main points is that the author brings up is Dexter’s personal philosophy. His philosophy is that killing people is okay if the person you are killing is a bad person and if the world will benefit if they no longer exist. Since he only kills other serial killers, then yes, they are bad and yes, the world would benefit if they no longer exist. To everyone around him, he is a very kind and gentle guy. No one would ever expect for him to be a cold blooded killer. But why does he have to kill people? When he was two or three, he watched his parents get brutally murdered and sat covered in blood for over a day until the police rescued him. Was he born a killer or was it witnessing the traumatic event that turned him bad? The first police officer on the scene ended up adopting Dexter and noticed that he had these urges from the start, so he gave him a set of codes. These codes give him structure on who to kill and how to do it without getting caught. They also guide him to be a normal person who no one will suspect is any different than everyone else. The book poses the question of why we sympathize for him? He was raised correctly and is a good guy, but at the same time he is a brutal killer. Is it his history with his parents? Is sympathy the reason we can understand why he does the things he does? Or maybe it could be that his thoughts narrate the show, so every episode we see the world explained through his eyes. Or is it the fact that he is killing strictly bad guys, guys who rape and/or murder innocent people. He justifies his killings by informing the audience in his thoughts about what they did to deserve this. The first victim they have in the show, Donovan, Dexter treats far more brutally than any others. Dexter usually shows his victims a picture of their victims before killing them. But for the Donovan killing, Dexter went as far as digging up the little boys that Donovan raped then murdered after being in buried by Donovan in the woods several years prior. Dexter brought him to a secluded shed in the woods and made Donovan stare at the rotting corpses and confess to what he did. This was the most extreme and as the show progress it makes you wonder what made this case in particular so different to any other murderer that he kills. It makes you wonder if he thinks of himself and how someone ruined his innocence at too early of an age. Although he was never sexually insulted, his parents being murdered in front of his eyes could have been what ruined him. So did Dexter relate to these boys in that way? Or why is he the way he is? Is it a matter of nature or nurture?


  1. I have never watched Dexter but I was intrigued by the storyline. I think that having such a traumatic experience as a kid can play a role in why he kills these bad guys. How does Dexter view himself since he is also a killer? Does killing people change his personal image of himself?

  2. As a fan of the show, I would say Dexter was definitely nurtured to kill. We all have the ability to kill, maybe not with the preciseness which Dexter did, but nonetheless can kill another human, which is why I immediately jump to nurture and not nature. Furthermore, most of us did experience our parents murdered in front of us in a shipping container and bathe in their blood for an entire day as a baby. This event alone I believe triggered his need for the feeling of whats its like to do that, to kill.

  3. "His philosophy is that killing people is okay if the person you are killing is a bad person and if the world will benefit if they no longer exist." -See comment on following post.

    "Is it a matter of nature or nurture?" - both, most likely. What do you think?

  4. I've only seen the first two seasons of Dexter and i would say that Dexter was in fact nurtured to kill. It probably strained from the scene he witnessed as a child when his family member was killed.