Summer holidays means binge watching Netflix — which is exactly what I’ve been doing. However, when I chose Dexter as the series of my choice — I had no idea it would make me question so many things about the U.S. judiciary and policing systems. Although I am not American, I have a good understanding of the systems in the US and through this knowledge, it has come to my attention that Dexter is not the typical murder mystery TV show that it appears to be.
America is the only Western country to be using the death penalty as capital punishment, with 31 states in use of the legal penalty, and can only be applied when murder involves another aggravating factor such as multiple rapes or the victim being under a certain age. Since the establishment of capital punishment, 7800 have been sentenced to death. Dexter is a Showtime TV series about a blood splatter analyst working for Miami Metro homicide that also kills murderers in his spare time, whilst trying to live a normal life. The show follows his life, and also the work of the homicide department, as they try and solve various cases over the years.
Although Dexter is a fictional show, some events presented in the series can be compared to actual U.S. statistics. For example, in Dexter, the Miami metro homicide department has a lot of unsolved cases, which leads to Dexter tracking the assailant himself and killing them. The number of unsolved cases is not an inaccurate representation of the U.S., as unsolved homicide cases rose from 10% to 36% between 1965 and 2012. Another aspect of “Dexter” that is interesting to note is the nature of the protagonist’s murders. Dexter Morgan has strict rules, obeyed cautiously. One of these major rules is his victims must be guilty of murder, whether proven by the police force or his own investigations. Additionally, his golden rule is to not get caught, meaning his double life remains unknown to even his closest relations. But why? As previously stated, the U.S. already has a capital punishment program, so Dexter raises the question, isn’t this murderer doing exactly what the American Judicial system is doing, except without all the paper work and formality?
In conclusion, Showtime’s hit show Dexter can be viewed as an interesting insight into the workings of a homicide department, and an eye opening commentary on the reality of the American Judicial System, where as when thought of in rational terms, capital punishment should be viewed as malicious and criminal, as the character Dexter is thought to be viewed as by anyone who discovers his secret. Watch Dexter on Netflix and find out more about the show here.