What is Dexter• Dexter is an American television drama series which debuted on Showtime on October 1, 2006.• The series centres on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for the fictional Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer.• Set in Miami, the shows first season was largely based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, 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 Lindsays works.
Institutional• In February 2008, reruns (edited down to a TV-14 rating) began to air on CBS, although the reruns on CBS ended after one run of the first season. 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.• On November 18, 2011, it was announced that Dexter had been renewed for two more seasons. Season 7 premiered on September 30, 2012. The Season 7 premiere was the most watched Dexter episode ever with over 3 million viewers.• On January 12, 2013 it was revealed that Season 8 of Dexter would be moved from its originally planned Autumn airing to the Summer of 2013. Season 8 will begin on Sunday, June 30, 2013.
Genre Hybridity• Dexter takes the form of several genres. The fact that he works for the Police department categorises the film under a detective/noir genre or more definitely a crime drama.• However, the excessive violence and large quantity of blood coupled with unanswered questions means the show can take the form of a mystery/thriller.• The deep dark characters that surface throughout the seven seasons add to the thriller genre yet play on the readers mind therefore classing the show as a psychological thriller.• Also, there are elements of satire and parody, giving it a light hearted almost ironic feel. This means that instead of categorising it as a drama, it would be easier to say that Dexter was a black comedy.• This reinforces the difficulty to put Dexter into a genre as it focuses on several key theme, disallowing us, as an audience, to categorise it.
Satire/Irony• The show takes the form of a black comedy, which is a comic work that employs black humour, which, in its most basic definition, is humour that makes light of otherwise solemn subject matter. For example, the main character is a police blood spatter analyst who pursues an alter ego in murdering rapists, paedophiles and ironically other serial killers.• The fact that his primary job is to capture villains and criminals in Miami is ironic as he himself is one of these villains that he is tasked to capture.
• Moreover, his family life is peculiar in the sense that it is somewhat perfect until season 4. He joins marries a single mother with two children and they live a relatively happy family life considering their father was an abusive drug addict.• Furthermore, the protagonists sister, Debra Morgan, works for the police department and she, as well as Dexter’s friends in the police are tasked (in Season 2) at capturing the ‘Bay Harbour Butcher’, who is in fact Dexter. This parodies many other crime shows like NYPB Blue who create aliases for the criminals they do not know the name of. Also, the irony of this is profound as, as soon as the police get near to capturing the villain, Dexter removes evidence or diverts their attention in order to save himself.
• The main character as a serial killer evokes that the television show focus on a negative character, however, Dexter’s warm and loving personality is ironic as he brutally murders people in a grotesque ritual.• Dexter acts as the anti hero as a serial killer who captures and kills other serial killers. However, the audience do not see the negative side of Dexter’s character only seeing the side in which he protects Miami from dangerous figures.
Self Reference / Breaking the Fourth Wall• Throughout the seasons there is a constant narration from the protagonist himself. Here, he speaks to the audience and occasionally looks directly into the camera, looking directly at the audience, thus, breaking the fourth wall.
Hyperreality• Baudrilliard in his book Simulacra and Simulation defined many postmodern texts as a hyper reality.• This is prominent in Dexter as the situation the characters find themselves in are unusual and do not fit into the audiences perception of reality.• Dexter, a serial killer working for the police department, who lives a relatively perfect life, never finds himself on the other end of the law, something that the audiences perception of reality cannot believe.