Bridget is a Serial Killer?

I just finished a marathon viewing of two seasons of my new favorite TV series, Dexter.  As I have said in my introduction to the series (click here), I fell in love with the series.  For those who know me, I am serious when it comes to movies, TV shows, music, photography, and books.  My standard for greatness of work is if it piques my interest and I get immersed in and consumed by it.  That is what “Dexter” is to me…

 

Now that I have finished the two seasons (and I am dying in impatience to watch Season 3), I went into a deep introspection, compelling me to confront my own morality.  All throughout the two seasons, Dexter struggled to conceal his identity while simultaneously trying to define who he is—a powerful oxymoron which breeds a plethora of emotions both for him and I as a viewer.  I found myself cheering and rooting for Dexter—a serial killer who takes the lives of guilty criminals.  I am absolutely and positively certain that my values are intact and I have an indomitable concept of what is universally right and wrong and good and bad..  But in a perfectly mounted intercut of a scene where Dexter was slicing up his latest victim and his nemesis getting hold of hidden evidence that would connect him to the killings, I was cringing in fear—fear that Dexter would get caught.  I did not want him to get caught.  Made me think:  what does that say about me?  Did I just lose sight of my so-called indomitable concept of what is universally right and wrong?  Did I just condone justified killings?  I stepped back from my externalized thoughts and summed them up:  I felt good that lives are saved from the demise of these criminals and I felt bad for Dexter that taking someone’s life is his chosen method which made him a prisoner where he constantly needs to hide from society his true self despite his total acceptance of what’s beneath the mask.  And from a distance, I felt relieved that I am still in touch with what is inherently good and bad.  With this, I realized that I was not really questioning my values—I was analyzing my capacity for tolerance which for me is the theme of the show.  I am glad that I have had the opportunity of examining my own level of tolerance because it reinforces the reality that not everyone has their own individual set of values or “codes” as Dexter says that do not measure up to our own.  But there are circumstances that will test our capacity to tolerate and accept—though not necessarily approve—of other people’s values.  And in doing so, we actually discover a part of us that can be caring and compassionate.

 

Bravo to the writers and actors for this well-crafted series and excellent maximization of dramatic irony as a tool in story-telling.  Despite the gore and sociopathic aspects of the show integral to the character of Dexter, I find it amazing how it overflows with humanity, caring, compassion, and love—elements of life that are often in scarcity.  Ironic and congruous at the same time, don’t you think?

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