Friday, February 11, 2011

Dexter's Morning Routine

Dexter Morgan (played by the eerie Michael C. Hall) is a ‘blood splatter analyst’ for Miami PD. Why is he so great at his job? Simply, Dexter is a calculated, (seemingly) emotionless, and creepy serial murderer (ironically Dexter sticks to a moral code of his deceased adopted father). It’s an absolutely fantastic show and I recommend it to all (you’ll watch one episode on Netflix and then BAM! [Emeril] you’ll be hooked forever). But I do not want to write broadly on the show of Dexter in this post because of the complexities that run throughout Showtime’s great hit.

Instead I want to focus solely on the video posted here; “Dexter’s Morning Routine”.

It starts off bluntly with Dexter murdering (a skill Dexter is more than adept at doing) a mosquito. But in every kill that Dexter has in the show is premeditated and Dexter stalks his ‘prey’ and covers his tracks like no other. This juxtaposition of killing the mosquito and Dexter’s normal careful murders show the difference between the two types of murders.

Then the show’s name (written in the shows namesake and Dexter’s obsession-Blood) appears before the viewer leading into the morning routine items. We see Dexter cut himself shaving (further referring to blood- a central theme in the show), meticulously (and professionally) slice some meat, crack an egg, grind up coffee beans, cut and squeeze a fruit, floss, tie his boots, put on a fresh white tee, lock up and then casually stole off to live a ‘normal’ life (giving one hell of a petrifying grin at the end of it all). (Also the disturbing music playing throughout the intro just sets a daunting tone for the show).

As Austin Powers said it best, “Whoopty-Doo… What does it all mean Basil?” Why on Earth would the director of a show just show a man going through his normal daily routines? Well, I believe it is used to show the everyday vulgarity of life and the analogous features of daily life to serial murder technique. Everything Dexter does in the morning correlates with his late-night murderous activities. You can easily throw any of the morning routine pieces it into any of the scenes where Dexter executes someone. The floss and boot shoestrings look like rope or duct tape to strangle or subdue a person. Dexter putting the shirt on correlates with him putting a mask on during his kills. When he presses the tissue on his face the blood is soaked up in the tissue just like when he cleans up after a murder. Every scene can be represented in a different homicidal light.

Overall this video gives you a brief introduction into the life of Dexter Morgan by showing his daily routine. But there is a hidden message under all of this and a central theme in the show is exhibited. Everybody you know performs murderous-looking acts every day, so that happy-go-lucky neighbor of ours that’s always smiling just might also be the person who has a kill-count in the hundreds… just like Dexter.



  1. Another interesting thing that I've just thought about now that you've mentioned Dexter (which I also agree is an absurdly good show) is the fact that the introductory credits sequence hints at dexter's meticulousness, a trait that is evident even when he's living a "normal" life. Arguably, one can say that this obsession with detail is the very thing that keeps his secrets undercover and increases his potency as a vigilante.

  2. I just finished the first season on Netflix in a week- I love Dexter.

    Here's an in-depth analytical piece on the Art of the Title Sequence, and an interview with the creative director Eric Williams:

    I agree that this title sequence is a ritual that perfectly correlates with Dexter's nocturnal activities. As a sociopath, he adheres strictly to all of his rituals and the Code. Everything in his life needs to be meticulously planned. His morning routine is a perfect way to introduce Dexter: he seems like a completely normal guy on the surface, but there are murderous undercurrents in the way he performs each of those mundane acts.

  3. No doubt that the title sequence was thought out very carefully by the producers. Every action that Dexter does in this 1 minute and 54 second clip could be construed as "violent." Lets just look at a list of adjectives of things Dexter does in this scene:


    The opening sequence of Dexter sets the tone for the entire series. Dexter is an obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive, meticulous, and brilliant human being. He uses his "skill set" to get away with hundreds of gruesome murders. The opening sequence is perfect, and it helps to make Dexter one of the best shows on television.

  4. I agree with everyone. Its quite obvious that the whole opening scene is alluding to his murderous ways and how they are engrained in who he is. He is calculating and thoughtful which is very apparent in this scene. I especially liked the different ways the scene alluded to his killing lifestyle. everything from splattering ketchup to cutting an orange. They all add up and show us how twisted he really is.

  5. I love this opening sequence to Dexter too. I'm sure it was inspired by a similar opening sequence in American Psycho, where drips of red liquid on the screen which seems like blood dripping actually is ketchup being poured in a fancy restaurant.

  6. The thing that fascinates me the most about the intro has to be the cinematography. The shots are close up and intimate and give these mundane actions an almost sinister feeling. He's not cracking an egg, he's destroying it. He's not juicing an an orange, he's murdering it.


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