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I finished watching Dexter on Sunday. I binged on it – intense bursts burning through the season in a day.

Dexter is a marvelously crafted, written and acted. It is complete at a level that is impressive.

It makes me wonder why so few people seem to have heard about it. It deserves wider exposure.

Dexter is a blood spatter expert for the Miami-Dade Police Department, and a serial killer. He was taught by his foster father to kill those whom he thinks deserve to die. These are usually violent criminals (serial killers, rapists, child molesters, etc) who Dexter thinks have escaped justice. What a brilliant concept. A serial killer who targets serial killers.

Like many a psycho he is emotionally disconnected from those around him. He’s learned to fake the things that normal people do. But he doesn’t feel them. He thinks cooly, rationally, and always one step ahead.

Dexter appreciates this irony, that he can fake connection to hide disconnection.

But the show provides a deeper contrast than that. As the season progresses you learn about the surrounding cast, the people who make up Dexter’s supporting cast. The other police officers, his sister, the rest of the forensics lab, his girlfriend, her children, their deadbeat abusive father.

And perhaps because you meet them through Dexter you see them in the same light that Dexter portrays himself. You find them disconnected from their reality. They’re living fictional lives, going through the motions. Hiding the truth from their friends, faking their happiness and sadness. Then losing it, flipping out under the pressure and their emotional anger and forced to lash out; find a scapegoat, enact their fantasy, obscure reality. Those all to human reactions.

Are they really that different from Dexter? Are we really different from Dexter? Are you? Am I?

I think an honest answer must admit that we are only degrees of separation away from Dexter. That we all dwell perilously close to the edge, perhaps closer then we admit to ourselves. As a therapist tells Dexter “we all have a dark wolf living inside of us, and sometimes it gets out”. Dexter himself, his wolf is always on the prowl, hidden in sheep’s clothing. Us more human mortals; we have an affinity for the wolf, one greater then we’ll ever acknowledge in public.

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