Semiotic interpretation of Dexter Television Show

Dexter is a television show that was produced in 2006. Episode one of season one is an investigation of the Ice Truck Killer. Dexter is a serial killer introduced in the first episode. The serial killer targets prostitutes. Once he kills them, he leaves their bodies severed and bloodless. Dexter has a foster sister known as Debra Morgan. She is a vice squad officer who aspires to work in the homicide department. Dexter also has a girlfriend called Rita Bennett. Rita wants Dexter to have an intimate relationship with her. A semiotic interpretation of episode one will be done in this paper.

Dexter is a forensic blood splatter analyst and works in Miami Police Department. There are values and norms that come up in the first episode of Dexter Season one. Even though the episode is about serial killer and investigation of deaths taking place, there are values that come from the message of this episode. It is evident that Killing is culturally denounced and is viewed as a bad thing. This is why Dexter’s foster father teaches him how to kill but tells him never to get caught. It is evident that killing is a crime and is not allowed in the society.  There is also the value of love displayed from Dexter’s message. Parental love has contributed to Dexter being who he is the society. Dexter was orphaned when he was a little child. He lost his parents and the way this happened traumatizes his memory. He is distanced from people. His foster father, Harry noticed this distance with people. Dexter started killing animals. Dexter had homicidal incidences. Due to the love that Harry had for him, he decided to help Dexter channel his desires.

He teaches Dexter to hide actions from police investigations. He also tells him that he must kill those who escape the law. Dexter have a Code and rule one is that he should never be caught. The other rule is to kill those he knows without doubts are killers.  Harry shows his love for Dexter by training him to become a serial killer. Even though this is evil and unacceptable in the society, his love for his adopted son makes him teach him to become who he is now. The love of orphaned children is displayed in this movie. Through flashbacks, the boy spends time with her foster father talking about his dreams.  The message is about killing and blood.

The show represents a theme of recurring image of blood. The first image shown in the show is Dexter killing a mosquito. The mosquito is about to feast on his skin. It leaves a blood splat on his skin. Dexter is happy after killing the mosquito. The episode begins with a title Dexter with the color of blood and also accompanied by blood splatters. All along one thinks that the show will be about blood. Dexter cuts himself and does not seem to feel any pain. The viewer may expect to see Dexter cutting people and squeezing their blood. On the contrary, Dexter uses the image of an orange. He cuts the orange perfectly and into equal parts. He applies pressure to squeeze the bloody red contents from the orange. This leaves him with a bloody liquid.  This image is contradicting the message. It is true that the message is about death and blood. However, the use of the orange image can confuse the viewer.  This is a metaphor that represents Dexter’s victims. Cutting them like the orange satisfies his cravings and then disposes the bodies.  There is also the choice of the non-diegetic music that is used to accompany the images. This choice is contradicting in terms of typical codes and conventions for a murder mystery Television programme.  The music that is played in this television program is joyful and bouncy. This contradicts the message of murder. The music does not relate to horror or crime that take place in Dexter show.

Dexter is a show that has a wide range of audience.  The show is unique and has different genres which include crime drama, action and comedy. The target audience includes young people and middle aged adults.  The show has action and suspense and can be appropriate for the young people who are hardened and love watching crime dramas. It also has romance that makes the show intriguing and those who love melodrama watch the show. However, audiences of all kinds love the show and do watch it.  The show being an open narrative, it keeps it audience tuned in because it its loose ends are present.  The seasons leave the audience in suspense and one yearn to watch the next season.

Dexter as a show creates a sense of sympathy for the serial killer. The agenda of this show is to display culture of Miami. This is a form of educating the audience who has no idea of the culture. The co workers at the police station are Latinos. Their race is represented in a positive way.  The other cultural agenda is on women and work. Most cultures think that women are not strong enough to carry out some duties. Deborah who is Dexter’s sister is a cop. She is hardworking and strong both physically and mentally.  She is professional and is able to work as the male cops do.  In another instance, there is a cultural-political agenda of the show.  This is concerned with the justice system.  The police and detectives are competent but criminals are not apprehended as a result of politics and rules of the justice system.  Criminals manage to escape the law but later become Dexter’s victims.

Dexter show is viewed as a horror program whereby serial killing takes place. in the first instance, the audience may think that Dexter is a disturbed child who lost his parents in a tragedy. Most people fear death and may think of Dexter as an evil character. However the surface meaning of this show is on humanity.  When season one is introduced, one may think that it is going to be horror. However, it keeps n attracting the audience.  One feels the need to learn more about this serial killer. Dexter is however a different person. He is friendly and able to connect with the audience. He says that there are no secrets in life but hidden truths that lie beneath the surface.  Humans have different experiences in life. There are god and evils that human beings expose.  There is no human society where evil and good does not exist. Dexter television show provides an example of such a society where evil and good is displayed. It educates people on what happens in their societies on a day to day basis.

Work Cited

YouTube. Dexter Season 1. Retrieved August 12, 2014 from