On Dexter

Predator on the Prowl



Is Dexter a
Psychopathic, Organized Sexual Sadist?

By Jared A DeFife

Dexter Morgan. America’s favorite serial killer. We’re charmed by the man in the emotional mask and even more curious to find out what’s underneath it. How do we get inside his head (without using a sixteen-inch carbon steel bone saw)? While Dexter’s ever-present voiceover is an excellent entr©e to his inner thoughts, even Dexter isn’t always quite sure what makes Dexter tick.

Behavioral scientists and law enforcement officials have spent decades attempting to understand and classify serial killers: their motivations, their methods, their personalities. But no two serial killers are exactly alike. They run the gamut from the psychotically disorganized–such as David Berkowitz, who claimed that his involvement with a Satanic cult and orders from a demon-possessed neighbor’s dog led him to terrorize New York City through a series of impulsive fatal shootings–to the cold and calculating–such as Theodore Kaczynski, who resigned from a prominent university position and sent bombs to academics and airlines.

Despite the range of ritual and motivation among serial killers, the work of mental health professionals and criminologists investigating serial homicides can still help shed some light on Dexter and his dark secrets. Unlike the delusional visionary killer acting on orders from a hallucination, or the mission-oriented killer seeking to change society through flagrant displays of violence, Dexter would be classified as a particularly rare and exceptionally dangerous type of serial killer known as a “lethal predator.” Like a predator on the prowl, these killers are efficient and organized:

They are deliberate, sadistic, and often highly intelligent.  …

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