I figure it’s time now, after the opening episode of Showtime’s fourth season of “Dexter” to talk about him.

I’ve come on this boat late. Over the last three weeks or so, we’ve watched the first three seasons of Dexter at a rather rapid pace. Perhaps it’s seeing it in this way, in this speeded-up version that has exposed all that I see.

Dexter Morgan is an all around good egg and a serial killer. His foster father, Harry, a cop, taught him how to channel his urges to kill. Harry developed a Code for Dexter so that he only kills people who deserve it.

Dexter lives by this Code and it helps him make all kinds of decisions about what is right and wrong. We should all have such a strong belief system. Thanks to Harry’s teachings Dexter is good with kids and a dutiful boyfriend to his somewhat damaged girlfriend. He’s also a team player and cheerful co-worker in his job as blood spatter expert at the Miami Metro Police Department.

The narration he gives of his internal dialog keeps us connected to him. We get a good view of how he thinks. With each exciting adventure and revelations, Dexter learns more about himself and about the Code Harry so painstakingly taught him. Since Harry is long-dead, Dexter must work with the Code, shaping it and molding it to fit himself and the situation at hand.

Rule No 1 is Don’t Get Caught. This forces Dexter to live very much in the present moment, being aware and careful. Sometimes I think there’s also a piece about going with your urges and living by your passions, but I’m not sure about that.

With all that exposure to blood and death, Dexter has an ability to remain detached. It’s a rare scene in which Dexter’s calm is disturbed. He retains an air of Zen about him.

The people in Dexter’s life, though more distant without an ear on their thoughts, seem to be changing as the seasons go on, softening and growing. The scripts use them to show how people are affected by the movements of the characters.

There’s a sense humor and lightness around all this killing. It’s not really as gory as you’d think. The cast is quirky and unusual. I get tired of cardboard, predictable characters. These have depth and with one guest star each season, he interactions of the cast are kept surprising and fresh.

Dexter himself, whether through the performance of Michael C. Hall or the writers, is a multi-dimensional character. Inside the head of a serial killer is a unique perspective, to say the least. Dexter is a truly new and intriguing character. Couple that with the wonderful ramping of tension, easing off and ramping up again, surprises around each corner of this engaging storytelling, it’s no wonder this is a popular series. Makes me want to read the books!

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