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In 2006, Showtime introduced viewers to a man who would become one of TV’s favorite serial killers. Dexter Morgan, the protagonist of the show Dexter, is a serial killer living in Miami, Florida. In spite of this, fans were drawn in by the character and his story. Although Dexter is fictional, he actually has a lot in common with a real-life serial killer.

Who is Dexter Morgan and what is his MO?

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan reading a Miami newspaper about homicide
Dexter Morgan | Christian Weber/CBS via Getty Images

Dexter is a serial killer who works for Miami Metro Homicide as a blood splatter analyst. Despite Dexter’s need to kill, he has a very strict MO that he must always stick to. Dexter only kills other serial killers. When he was young, his adoptive father Harry recognized Dexter’s desire to kill. Harry then taught Dexter this code of ethics so that he would not hurt innocent people. He acts as Dexter’s conscience throughout the series.

Which serial killer is similar to Dexter?

While Dexter is a fictional series, that doesn’t stop fans from noticing real-life serial killers with certain similarities to Dexter. One man from South America, Pedro Rodriguez Filho has even become known as the Brazilian Dexter. According to The Rolling Stone, Filho is believed to have murdered over 70 people, and his killing spree continued long after he was imprisoned. Filho’s urge took hold at a young age and stayed with him for the rest of his life.

What do Filho and Dexter have in common?

Filho and Dexter share a few interesting similarities. Both had a very close father figure who taught them vital survival skills. Dexter’s adoptive father taught him how to kill other serial killers without getting caught. According to the podcast Redhanded, Filho’s grandfather also “took him under his wing.” He taught Filho important life skills like how to fight and butcher animals at his grandfather’s work. Of course, this was not with the intention that Filho would use these skills to kill humans.


‘Dexter’: This Villain Was Inspired by a Real Serial Killer

Filho also felt the urge to kill from a very young age. The Rolling Stone states that he took his first life when he was just 14 years old. Dexter probably made his first kill no later than his late teens/very early 20s. The series reveals that Harry died shortly after seeing Dexter dismember a victim, and Dexter was only 20 years old at the time of Harry’s death.

Finally, Dexter and Filho were both motivated by a strong sense of justice in their kills. Dexter’s code only allows him to kill other serial killers, those he feels deserve it. Filho’s code of ethics is a lot looser. As Redhanded points out, he is “an injustice killer.” Filho killed those who he felt had wronged him, including going on a killing spree in search of the people responsible for killing his wife. Interestingly, the murder of Dexter’s wife Rita also sparked a desire for revenge. However, Filho really had no code of ethics. He killed who he wanted, using his sense of justice as a poor excuse for murder.