Analysis of the TV show Dexter

Topics: Kill, Jungian archetypes, Murder Pages: 6 (2306 words) Published: November 12, 2013
Word Count: 2,262
Examining Different Hues of Blood
Dexter, the ideal killer, the perfect psychopath. The Showtime hit T.V. series Dexter has been much more of a success then its producers could have ever hoped for. With over eight seasons and six million viewers, it has been nominated for twenty-five Primetime Emmy Awards winning four, and ten Golden Globe Awards winning two. The success of this show is a great example of how much the American culture is attracted to two types of heroes embodied in the show, the outlaw hero and the official hero. While the outlaw hero questions society, the official hero celebrates it. "The functioning American, as the heir of a history of extreme contrast and abrupt changes, bases his final ego identity on some tentative combination of dynamic polarities" (Ray 378), in this case the outlaw and the official hero. Still for a show to be so popular and on air for eight seasons it needs to contain more than just a dynamic relationship between the outlaw and the official hero. Giving people a chance to glance through a mind of a serial killer, the TV show Dexter embodies many characteristics such as the healing myth, the outlaw hero, and the official hero increasing the amount of things people can relate to. However developed the myth is it still needs its archetypes in order for the story to feel more complete.

To help Dexter along his quest the TV show contains the wise old man and the good mother archetypes. At a very early age Dexter witnessed the brutal death of his mother, cut up with a chainsaw she died a slow and painful death. While Dexter and his brother lay in a pool of her blood, trapped in a shipping container for two days until Harry finally found them. Harry ended up adopting Dexter but could not adopt his brother Brian because he was too old at the time and Harry feared that the event had scarred him too deeply. Just like in the healing myth, Dexter is presented as broken or psychologically scarred, this event is what makes him a serial killer. Harry and Dr. Vogel realizing that inevitably Dexter would need to kill other kinds of animals give him a code to channel his need to kill. Harry adapts the archetype of the wise old man in Dexter's life "possess[ing] special knowledge and often serv[ing] as a mentor to the hero" (Ray 392). Harry spent the better part of his life teaching Dexter how to interact with people without raising suspicion, teaching him everything he knew as a detective and a human being. Guiding him even after death as physical manifestation of the dark passenger helping him survive and make the right decisions. Originally, the Dark Passenger was Dexter's way of naming the urge to kill but later on it is used to represent the evil inside all of us that makes us do heinous things. As a female counterpart, Dr. Evelyn Vogel adapts the good mother archetype, "known for her nurturing qualities, and for her intuition. This figure often gives the hero particular objects to help on the Journey" (Ray 392). Evelyn was the doctor who helped Harry develop the code and thought Harry helped Dexter with many different issues in his life. Evelyn has always remained in the shadows and after Harry's death had no way of communicating with Dexter until one incident made her surface and confront him. When he did not believe that Evelyn was so deeply involved in his life she showed him a tape of Harry and herself discussing Dexter. This event cemented Evelyn as the good mother archetype because of the way she nurtured him from a broken child to a fearless killer.

Through many changes in his life Dexter incorporates the healing myth. Progressively through the story Dexter changes in many ways starting from a psychopath who had to fake casual encounters so as to not appear strange. Rita who was Dexter's wife was a very big milestone for him; even though he never truly loved her, he showed genuine feelings towards her. After her death he began to shut down and retreat from...

Cited: "Dexter (TV Series)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Jan. 2013. Web. 02 Oct. 2013. .
"Smokey and the Bandit." Dexter: The Complete Series Collection. Writ. Paramount Studios, 2013. DVD.
Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. Signs of Life in the U.S.A. Boston, New York: Bedford/St.Martin 's, 2012. Print.
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