Why we love Dexter

He’s television’s sexiest serial killing loving husband and father.

It’s been three days since the big showdown — the haunting season finale with the even more shocking death — and yet hushed conversations in coffee shops and crowded buses are still rampant. Allow us to issue a Spoiler Alert before we get into it, but Canada’s favourite serial killer is in the hardest spot he’s ever been in, and we can’t help but keep watching.

Rita and Dexter: whisper a secret in my ear

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is a living paradox. He’s handsome, sensitive and diffident on the outside, but inside he harbours the darkest impulses to kill. He lusts for blood: he’s a charismatic vigilante with a budding sense of humanity. It’s difficult to imagine the next door neighbour spending his nights chopping up dead criminals then ditching them into the sea when his green eyes stare so lovingly at his newborn son. “He’s like the ultimate anti-hero,” one  teenage girl tells her friends at a Main street café. “He goes out to kill the scum of the earth, even though he realizes he’s just like the people he kills, but then he can go home and make love to his wife. It’s hot.”

The master of secrets

For most, keeping a secret means there’s something there to lose. Tiger Woods’ carefully constructed persona came crashing down into an excruciating public realization that he was a repeat adulterer, the vision of a man we didn’t expect to find out about. Considering how well he kept up appearances under such constant scrutiny from the media, his pristine image as loving father, admired athlete, son and husband was quite a feat. But his private life is not so surprising now, in fact, it’s more commonplace than ever. Whether conflicted, insecure or for whatever  reason we may have, people have secrets. Being a father, husband and blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, Dexter is the lord and master of all things clandestine.

We all wish we could keep secrets as well as he can. Secrets protect us from the harmful censure and opinions of others, but for Dexter, the fear of not being able to kill again adds fuel to keep his second life going, to construct his web of alibis and reasons to stay up all night. And he’s ridiculously good at thinking on his feet.

He wants to get better

With each season representing a theme of humanity, such as identity, friendship and family, the fourth season was dedicated to Dexter aspiring to learn the ways of the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow), a family man who had murdered more than 90 across the country. Instead, Dexter entertains the idea that his killing days may be over.

The scene before Rita’s death is heartbreaking, with Dexter trying to rid himself of his “Dark Passenger” and embrace his family life. “I don’t think he would’ve been able to stop killing, but it was touching that he wanted to try for his family,” the girl in the coffee shop says. Much like the universal female fantasy that her man “can change,” Dexter presents himself as the ultimate fixer-upper. His reasons aren’t for naught; he wants to be good for his family.

The next season, which is scheduled to air on Showtime next fall, is going to be complicated for the new widower-serial killer. “Now that Trinity killed his wife, it’s getting all messy. Dexter usually finishes on top, but now he’s got so much to deal with, I don’t know what it’s going to do to him in the next season.”

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