Like a lot of people, I went through a brief phase where I read various serial killer books. I never got the whole thing of glorifying serial killers, however, as most of the real life variety appear to be enormous losers. The serial killer concept is of someone who is empowered, but actual serial killers tend to be anything but empowered. Nonetheless, I did read a number of the novels with fictionalized murderers and liked some okay. I’m uncomfortable with bad things happening to good people, so this somewhat limits my ability to enjoy the genre. I read A. J. Holt’s Watch Me, found it absolutely delicious and unexpected, and pretty much stopped picking up that variety of thriller.
I’ve got a soft spot for whatever the term will eventually be for long-form cable television shows which emphasize quality, character, and complex story lines. So I gave Showtime’s Dexter a chance. If you have not caught this terribly fun show yet, I’ll give the overview without spoilers. In the first season, we meet Dexter Morgan, whose day job is blood spatter forensics for the Miami PD and whose nighttime avocation is meeting out justice. In the second season, we see what happens when there is a romantic triangle featuring a nice girl who knows nothing of Dexter’s hobby and a crazy bad girl who would not mind dating a killer.
The dialog is snappy and the story lines are very tidy and satisfying. Among other things, the show explores themes of alienation. The scenes are darkly hilarious where Dexter, while thinking very abnormal thoughts, fits in fine at his normal job with normal fuckin’ people. Michael C. Hall, best known for his portrayal of David Fisher on Six Feet Under, plays Dexter Morgan with beautiful nuances where he comes across as simultaneous milquetoast normal and very disturbingly creepy. The viewer is tempted to write off his vigilantism as virtue, but the problem with that is Dexter’s monstrous pleasure in torture-killing strangers. It is a show which manages to be both a lot of fun and food for thought. Plus it somehow strikes a balance where the gore and violence are neither phony nor unbearably grisly, which no mean feat, given the subject matter.
If you would like to see the first episode of Season 3 of Dexter for free two weeks before it airs the end of the month, you can go to this special Blue Blood Dexter preview link, press Watch Now, and enter the password Lady Killers when prompted.