TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Dexter TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Bloody drama for adults only -- we mean it!

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 51 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 78 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Although he justifies his murderous behavior as doing a favor to society, Dexter gets off on blood, death, and killing. Enough said.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are secondary characters who are dedicated to serving the public -- the series is set in the homicide division of a police deparment. But the show's namesake is far from a role model. It's easy to buy that Dexter is doing something good, since all of his victims are murderers themselves -- a "code" he lives by. But the bottom line is that Dexter is murderer and a liar -- both of which overshadow his ability to be a good father and brother.


This series is about a killer, so blood (dripping, pooling, clotting) abounds. There are several graphic shots of dead bodies that have been completely decapitated and dismembered. Dexter chops up all of his victims and disposes of them in garbage bags that he dumps in the bay. Other violent acts include shouting, pushing, choking, and strangling. Subjects touched on in the series include rape, pedophilia, domestic violence, and the twisted mind of serial killers.


Several sex scenes, some female nudity.


"F--k" and other curse words fly freely, including "s--t," "tits," "damn," "bastard," and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Illegal drugs are discussed occasionally in relation to crime scenes and police matters.

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Parents need to know that this violent drama -- originally made for pay cable -- also airs on CBS in primetime.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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written byhaha2002 June 9, 2016


honestly in my opinion its not too bad. it all really just depends on how much the child can take. it depends if the kid is mature enough to watch Dexter.
Adult Written byagcardy June 6, 2011

Has Potential But Overall a Huge Disappointment

This show has potential. I am entering the field of psychology and find the overall plot fascinating, from that standpoint. The acting is ok. However, the exces... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 11, 2016

One of best tv shows ever.

Dexter is a tv draama series anonut a serial killer it is not as violent as you might think and Dexter killer only criminals.
Kid, 12 years old August 28, 2011

Amazing Show-- My favorite Drama show

Amazing show, I may be 12, but this show is great. Saying it's inappropriate for anybody under 18 is ridiculous. This show is for Mature people (Thus the T... Continue reading

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"?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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