Dexter is an American television drama series first aired October 1, 2006 on Showtime. The series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for a fictional Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer.
Set in Miami, the show’s first season was largely based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004), the first of the Dexter series novels by Jeff Lindsay. It was adapted for television by screenwriter James Manos, Jr., who wrote the first episode. Subsequent seasons have evolved independently of Lindsay’s works.
The series has enjoyed wide critical acclaim and popularity. Season 4 aired its season finale on December 13, 2009 to a record-breaking audience of 2.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched original series episode ever on Showtime. Michael C. Hall has received several awards and nominations for his portrayal of Dexter, including a Golden Globe. The Season 8 premiere was the most watched Dexter episode ever with over 3 million viewers.
Besides Michael C. Hall playing the title character, the show’s supporting cast includes Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter’s adoptive sister and co-worker (and later boss) Debra, and James Remar as Dexter’s adoptive father, Harry. Dexter’s co-workers include Lauren Vélez as Lieutenant (later Captain) María LaGuerta, Dexter and Debra’s supervisor, David Zayas as Detective Sergeant Angel Juan Marcos Batista, and C. S. Lee as lab tech Vince Masuka.
Orphaned at the age of three by his mother’s murder, Dexter Morgan is adopted by Miami police officer Harry Morgan and his wife Doris. After discovering young Dexter had been killing neighborhood pets for years, Harry tells Dexter he believes the need to kill “got into” him too early, and Dexter’s need to kill will only grow. To keep Dexter from killing innocent people, Harry teaches him The Code:
- Most importantly, Dexter must never get caught.
- Dexter’s victims must be killers themselves who have killed without justifiable cause and are likely to do so again.
- Dexter must always be sure of his target’s guilt, thus he frequently goes to great lengths to obtain undeniable proof of his victim’s guilt.
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Flashbacks throughout the series show Harry (who died several years previously) teaching Dexter how to fake normal human emotion and social behavior and how to cover his tracks after a kill. Dexter follows The Code religiously to satisfy the “Dark Passenger” (the name assigned to his urge to kill). However, in Season 4, he hastily kills a photographer later proven innocent.
Like many serial killers, Dexter keeps a trophy of each kill: he slices his victim’s cheek with a scalpel to collect a droplet of their blood, which he preserves on a blood slide. He stores his collection in a wooden box concealed within his air conditioner.
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When U.S. network CBS announced in December 2007 it was considering Dexter for broadcast reruns over the public airwaves, the Parents Television Council (PTC) publicly protested the decision. When the network began posting promotional videos of the rebroadcast on YouTube on January 29, 2008, PTC president Timothy F. Winter, in a formal press release, again called for CBS to not broadcast the show on broadcast television, saying that it “should remain on a premium subscription cable network” because “the series compels viewers to empathize with a serial killer, to root for him to prevail, to hope he doesn’t get discovered”.
EMCE Toys has planned the release of action figures based on the series. Dark Horse Comics released a 7-inch bust of Dexter Morgan in March 2010, as part of its Last Toys on the Left series, and released a Trinity Killer Bobble Head in April 2010. A Dexter board game created by GDC-GameDevCo Ltd was released on September 30, 2010.
There is also a variety of items available from Showtime, including t-shirts, blood slide key rings and coasters, pens made to look like syringes of blood, an apron, mugs and glasses, posters, and even bin bags.
Marvel Comics released a monthly Dexter series in July 2013. The comic books are written by creator Jeff Lindsay and drawn by Dalibor Talajic.
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