What Got Me Hooked on “Dexter”

By Karen

I’m an independent business writer by day, after making the conscious decision to forego paid employer benefits to limit my exposure to corporate America. The rampant duplicity, dishonesty, and ineptitude I saw from my old office cubicles back in the day were putting me in danger of going postal.

But even now, safely on the outside, I still see maliciousness and incompetence getting the better of good people and I can’t do anything about it, so I seek vindication in TV.

I started with a 6-episode Fox “reality” series, Does Someone Have to Go?, in which 3 small, dysfunctional businesses were featured for 2 weeks apiece. Their usually-culpable owners would give the employees free rein to fix everything, always assuming that all problems were rooted in the employees themselves.

Here’s one blogger’s recap of the company that choked on nepotism.

The series was a showcase for mass humiliation. Employees bad-mouthed each other on videos played for everyone, then learned everyone’s salary. Armed with that information, they picked three scapegoats who then had to beg for their jobs.

The fixes comprised the usual HR BS: salary cuts, probation and, in one case, rehab. One group fired the boss’s mouthy young administrative assistant. The follow-up footage revealed her to be happily employed elsewhere.

I wanted justice, but instead got to watch employees shit all over each other to buy their companies national TV exposure.

Then I discovered Dexter, whose 8th and final season is now on Showtime, but the whole series is available on Verizon’s On Demand.

Dexter is so not my usual type of show, it took several episodes to get past the blood. Then I binged for weeks until I was all caught up. If you’re not a fan, here’s the setup:

Dexter was discovered at age 3 in a puddle of blood after watching his mother dismembered by drug dealers. A policeman on the scene named Harry adopted Dexter and raised him by a “code” he devised, because Harry figured Dexter would eventually become a serial killer and need survival skills.

Which he did. Dexter also became a blood-spatter analyst with the Miami Metro PD. Harry’s code dictates that Dexter only murder bad guys, so Dexter finds some of his victims between the cracks in justice, but he isn’t beyond subverting an investigation he’s working on to ensure a bad guy fully gets what he deserves.

Another tenet of the code is to “Never get caught,” so Dexter preps a “kill room” in plastic sheeting, then knocks out his victim with a needle to the neck, strips the person, then wraps him/her in transparent plastic wrap face-up on a “kill table.” He lets the person awaken for a brief chat before Dexter plunges a butcher knife into their heart. He then dismembers the corpse into black plastic garbage bags and dumps them in the bay.

There’s much more to the story, including humor and humanity, but basically, I find Dexter’s successful kills gratifying, even if they are fictional.

Corporate America could use some Dexters. I think most of us have known or fallen prey to an office back-stabber with no other discernible skills. Wouldn’t it be great, just once, to see him or her taking the business end of the blade?

I’m praying they don’t kill Dexter in the series finale because we need to believe he’s still out there, watching out for us when the system won’t.

4 Responses to What Got Me Hooked on “Dexter”

  1. annie pelfrey says:

    omg! we are soulmates- especially loved when he “removed” neighbor’s neglected dog and found adoptive home.

  2. catsworking says:

    Annie, like a lot of people, when I first heard that Dexter was a serial killer, I thought, “Eewww!” But as you said, there’s a lot more to him than that. He does a good job of channeling his outrage at the right things.

    In the world where the bad guys always seem to have the upper hand, and gloat to our faces about it, it’s refreshing to watch a regular guy score a point for our side here and there. Even if it is idealized.

    Last night I started watching Californication from episode 1:1. I like David Duchovny and Evan Handler (from his days as Harry Goldenblatt on Sex and the City), so this may become my next marathon.

    And against my will, I’ve also become hooked on Breaking Amish: LA. Heaven help me.

    However, I’m proud to report that I have managed to stay out of the clutches of Honey Boo Boo. 😉

  3. MorganLF says:

    Same here with Dexter. I heard raves about it but did not start watching till last year. I am marathoning Californication now but I only get one season, its pisser funny.

    Last year my company was bought by a foreign company. With much hullaballoo the new owners installed a “President”. As foreigners (from Spain) their due diligence was lacking. I immediately saw how thin his resume was via his Linkedin profile. Anyway he speechified about big changes threw a big Christmas party distanced himself from any existing management before laying everyone off and installing his own crew. Many long time employees were dismissed. Lives were ruined. Yours truly included.

    He moved his family to Jersey from Boston. Bought a house and within 18 months ran the company into millions of dollars in losses was deserted by all his new management recruits and ultimately got canned in April. Just one visit from Dexter would have saves all of us alll that trouble!

  4. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you’re so right. Dexter let loose in corporate America could cure so much of what ails it. After a few incompetent CEOs suddenly disappeared, never to be heard from again, it might send a ripple effect through their ranks.

    I’m continuing in my Californication marathon and just reached Season 4. I have a crush on David Duchovny. Yesterday I got my first big-screen TV, and it’s really improved the whole viewing experience. There’s more to that story, but I can’t divulge it until next week.

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