A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this violent drama -- originally made for pay cable -- also airs on CBS in primetime. Its "hero" is a serial killer, it's extremely dark and violent, and it's not intended for kids or teens in any way. CBS has bleeped out the profanity but left the story untouched. Blood is shown so often that it's almost a secondary character, and the protagonist is probably one of the worst role models a kid could have. Expect to see graphic close-ups of severed arms, legs, and heads. And running a close second to the bloody visuals is the psychological mayhem that comes with taking a peek inside the twisted mind of a killer.
What's the story?
As the macabre titular character of DEXTER (which is based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay), Michael C. Hall plays a man who metes out his own brand of vigilante justice on pedophiles, thieves, murderers, and the like by tracking them down and brutally killing them -- in the vein of Hammurabi's "eye for an eye" code -- which his adoptive father instilled in him when he saw the evil that was in his son. But the real catch is Dexter Morgan's day job: He's a blood-splatter expert for the Miami Police Department, which further assists him in his clean technique of taking care of his own victims. Of course, the other people in Dexter's life are clueless about his sick hobby.
Is it any good?
Dexter has a provocative premise and succeeds at being original by using blood and violence as a morbid punch line. But unlike American Psycho on the big screen (starring Christian Bale), fans of the series are drawn to the likability of Dexter himself. Hall delivers again (much like his character in the hit HBO series Six Feet Under) and leaves viewers wondering, "is what Dexter's doing really so wrong?"
Every character is well formed, and each season delivers enough twists, humor, scares, and cliff-hanging moments that fans keep coming back for more of a good (albeit bloody) thing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that killing another human being, no matter what your motives might be, is 100 percent wrong. But is committing a less-drastic act that you know to be illegal ever OK if the person you're committing it against is a bad seed?
How far is too far when it comes to revenge? Is there a point when your actions become just as reprehensible as the people and bad deeds you're targeting? Do the ends ever justify the means?
Why do we sometimes root for the bad guys? Is Dexter a "bad guy"?
For kids who love thrills
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.