By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Bloody drama for adults only -- we mean it!
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several sex scenes, some female nudity.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"F--k" and other curse words fly freely, including "s--t," "tits," "damn," "bastard," and "bitch."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Illegal drugs are discussed occasionally in relation to crime scenes and police matters.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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Parents need to know that this violent drama -- originally made for pay cable -- also airs on CBS in primetime.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.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 53 parent reviews
I don't understand why parents say its so bad?
Report this review
My Review Age 16+
Report this review
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"?
- Premiere date: October 1, 2006
- Cast: Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, Michael C. Hall
- Networks: CBS, Showtime
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: June 4, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Thriller Books for Teens
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.See how we rate