Is Dexter Morgan a Psychopath?

Dexter Morgan is a fictional character from the hit TV Series, Dexter. Dexter works in the forensics department of Miami Homicide as a blood spatter analyst, and he moonlights as a vigilante serial killer. He lives by the ‘code’ of his father – never get caught and only kill bad people (amongst other things).

His work is meticulous. He makes sure that the people he kills are all guilty of a crime before he decides to kill them. He does his best not to get caught. The catch is that he does not feel remorse and lacks empathy. He is able to put a straight face right after his ‘adventures’. He is charming, shy and extremely intelligent – much like every psychopath portrayed in the media.

However, when subjected to Hare’s Psychopath Checklist (1991, 2003)- one of the accepted checklistsused to identify psychopaths, Dexter scores poorly. Despite all the terrible things that Dexter has done, I would not identify him as a psychopath. Unlike actual psychopaths, Dexter is capable of maintaining relationships throughout the series. He was very close to his sister and was a good, loyal husband to Rita. He was also academically successful and was able to keep a career for a very long time. His lab reports were mostly of excellent standard and he was considered as an expert in his field. In addition, the voice-overs throughout the show reveals that Dexter kept on analysing his life. He was trying to make sense of almost everything that happened to him. This is unlikely to be the case in real-life psychopaths as most of them seem disinterested in self-reflection and self-awareness.

If you have seen the series, I invite you to try to score him up on this LINK.

So what is he if he’s not a psychopath? I’m not too sure, in all honesty. I think he serves as a reminder that not everyone you meet is who they seem to be. He’s a chilling reminder of what people are capable of and how vigilant we should all be.

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