1 Criminologist Names ‘Dexter’ the ‘Ultimate Organized Serial Murderer’

Dexter from the TV show, Dexter, is a unique horror character. His loving, yet murderous,  personality is fascinating and enough to earn a rather large fan base. The complexity of the character is enough to have a criminologist offer his analysis. 

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan looking at a glass microscope slide
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in Dexter | Photo Courtesy of Showtime

Dexter is who he kills  

Dexter is an American crime drama that aired in the United States for 8 seasons between 2006-and 2013. It takes place in Miami, Florida, where the main character, Dexter Morgan, works for the Miami Metro Police Department by day. He serves as a forensic technician, notably in bloodstain pattern analysis.

By night, however, he is a vigilante serial killer who goes after criminals who were not punished by the legal system. IMDb says, “But Dexter lives by a strict code of honor that is both his saving grace and lifelong burden. Torn between his deadly compulsion and his desire for true happiness, Dexter is a man in profound conflict with the world and himself.” 

Criminologist analyzes Dexter 

Criminologist David Wilson filmed a video interview with Vanity Fair in which he reviews serial killers from film and television, including Dexter. He explains, “Dexter fits a type of serial killer called the mission-oriented serial killer. He’s a serial killer who’s on a mission to rid the world of other serial killers … In Dexter, we’ve got the ultimate organized serial murderer.”

Dexter is such an organized serial killer because of his MO or modus operandi. A killer’s MO is how he kills. Dexter is going to inject his victim with some kind of paralyzing agent. He will then take the victim to his medical room, or kill room. He will then torture and kill in that room in a way that is specific to each victim. The method used for each victim may be different, but Dexter still follows a very unique and regimented pattern in his kills. Being a forensics technician helps Dexter stay organized and know how to kidnap and kill while staying hidden. 

Many serial killers are either organized or disorganized

The FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit is a group of highly trained agents who profile criminals for the sake of capturing them. Part of this profiling is the theory that the crime scenes of serial killers can be classified as either organized or disorganized, according to Psychology Today. Based on the crime scenes the serial killers can also be classified as organized or disorganized. 

The crimes of organized serial killers are premeditated and planned carefully. These killers are antisocial, not noticeably insane, and show zero remorse. These killers are also often attractive, well-educated, in a relationship (married or a domestic partner), cunning, calculated, and have average to above-average intelligence. They have profound social graces and can often woo their victims before the attack.

An organized crime typically has three crime scenes: scene of capture, scene of kill, and scene of discarded body. Organized killers are extremely careful to cover their tracks and “forensically savvy.” They may even follow the investigation on the news and perhaps even talk with the media. Ted Bundy is an example of an organized serial killer. 

Disorganized killers, on the other hand, are often abused by relatives. They often live alone and isolated from others. They may not have reliable transportation forcing them to kill closer to home. There is often fear and confusion during the commission of their kills. The kills are often blitz attacks and the victim’s body is often left in the same spot as the kill with no attempt to hide the body. Jack the Ripper is an example of a disorganized serial killer. 

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