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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Drive of Dexter

Tonight's the night. It's Sunday. Dexter is on at 9 p.m. and I can hardly wait.

Why do so many of us love to watch this serial about a serial killer? I'm fascinated by Dexter's character, but I wouldn't want to have a beer with him. The stories are good, the acting is great., and, sure, he was raised to rein in his sociopathy and only strike at the guilty who slip the noose. He's a grand avenger who sets straight the slip-ups of the criminal justice system. His killings are grisly, but tidy. There is no sentiment. These are well deserved executions.

That's not reason enough, though. In daily life, I'm against the death penalty.

Dexter calls himself a monster, but we're drawn to him as if he's some long-awaited good guy hero we've all yearned for to bring scales of Justice back in balance. It helps that the actor, Michael C. Hall, is a genius and awfully good looking. I know I would not have the same attraction to the program if Dexter were portrayed by Jack Black, say, or Don Knotts. Evil must take care to be attractive.

So what it is that draws me and so many other viewers? On this eve of All Hallows Eve, my thoughts run to the show's examination of the monster within. We all have one, whether it be serial killer, neocon mouthpiece or proponent of traditional grammar as I once was. Perhaps from Dexter we learn there is a saving grace for all of us, and context can make monsters of us all, if only metaphorically.

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