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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bad is the new good: Dexter kills the competition

    Making TV’s so-called bad guys into good guys has never been more delicious than in Showtime’s “Dexter.” The show follows the trend of spinning bad guys into sympathetic main characters.

    For reference, see AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad,” in which Bryan Cranston, the dad from “Malcolm in the Middle,” plays a man with advanced lung cancer and a heart of gold who begins making meth to support his family, twisting the view of what’s right or wrong for viewers in the process. Or take another AMC heavy hitter in “Mad Men,” where playboy ad man Don Draper hides a previous life and uses a stolen identity to gain access to a world he could have never reached before, and creates a character who we can sympathize with and root for.

    But back to “Dexter.”

    Now in its sixth season, “Dexter” takes Michael C. Hall and molds his eponymous main character into the world’s most likable serial killer. A blood-spatter analyst and forensic expert for Miami Metro Police Department, Dexter Morgan hunts down murderers who have slipped through the cracks of the legal system — and then kills them. Brutally.

    This show might not sound like the most pleasant concept, but if you haven’t seen it, don’t judge it too quickly. Over the course of the show’s six seasons, viewers learn Dexter’s motives, back story, and perhaps most importantly, how he got to be so ruthless and successful at killing other serial killers. Slowly, Showtime paints us a bloody picture of who Dexter is and why we should give a damn about him. It works, and it works well.

    In each season, Dexter tackles subject matter as difficult as any nonfictional character has to face: He grapples with the issues of what family, friendship, ethics and love really mean. Dexter’s a dynamic character, one with his head in the right place — even if his morals often aren’t. It makes us care about him, what happens to him and where he’s headed. As far as television protagonists go, viewers can do a lot worse than Dexter Morgan.

    Many a great TV show, including some of those listed at the top, suffers at some point from a season or two that isn’t as great as the others. After a lackluster fifth season following four incredible ones, “Dexter” has again proved its merits by rebounding in a big way. This new season has the potential to be the best yet.

    Though it’s too early to tell after only three episodes, the writers of “Dexter” appear to have learned from last season’s missteps and the show now stands ready to slaughter the competition, and win back the title of TV’s best drama.

    — Joe Dusbabek is a senior studying linguistics and French. He can be reached at

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