Why Dexter Is the Most Unintentionally Conservative Show on TV

by Nancy French

I had to turn away the first few times I watched the show — the whole “serial killer” thing creeped me out.  However, as Showtime’s Dexter is coming to a season close, I’m starting to realize that the show has some underlying conservative principles. I wrote about it recently for Rare magazine:

Nudity? Occasionally. Profanity? All the time. Dismemberment? Every episode.

The protagonist in Showtime’s controversial series “Dexter” is an unrepentant serial killer. The show, in its seventh and final season, is a darling of liberal viewers, while conservatives tend toward the less niche fare offered by the major networks. However, even with its morally complicated plot, “Dexter” is one of television’s most unintentionally conservative shows.

Why?  First you have to understand the backstory.

The young Dexter (Michael C. Hall) witnesses his mother’s murder in one of the bloodiest murders in Miami history. Harry, the police officer who works the crime, adopts the young boy and raises him as his own child. Soon, however, Harry (James Remar) is horrified to discover that Dexter has been killing neighborhood pets. Assuming the desire to kill must’ve originated upon witnessing his mom’s death — and believing he can’t control Dexter’s urge — he teaches his son to kill only those guilty of heinous crimes. In other words, Dexter becomes a vigilante — a Batman of sorts — for whom viewers unwittingly end up rooting.

The show is not “conservative” in the sense that you might want the church youth group to watch it for spiritual lessons. The show’s themes, however, are subversively conservative.

Read the three reasons why this Showtime series exhibits underlying conservative themes here.

Do any of you watch this show?  Do you agree with my assessment? 

Most important, how do you think the series will end?


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