Complex TV

p. 146-147: DEXTER

Dexter’s first season sets important groundwork for the character, establishing clear alignment and allegiance for viewers to build on for the rest of the series. The season gradually elaborates the character in tight alignment, as we discover alongside Dexter himself the gruesome childhood trauma that caused his mental illness: when three years old, he witnessed his mother’s murder via chainsaw and was locked in a room in a pool of her blood for two days. The harrowing flashbacks to this event, which stand out as the most gruesome and troubling images in a series full of them, provide a plausible explanation that such trauma might cause a mental break and turn a boy into a serial killer, creating sympathy for the character’s victimization in childhood that extends to his older murderous version as trained and guided by his adoptive father.

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