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The Gospel According to Dexter: Part III

My last two posts on Dexter pointed out two ways in which Dexter is a slave: He is a slave to the needs and appetite of his Dark Passenger which took hold of him when he was born in blood; And he is a slave to the Code of Harry, who taught him to manage his Dark Passenger with exacting precision.

To show how these relate to the Gospel, I will quote Paul, replacing references to sin with Dark Passenger, and references to the law with the Code. (If I were cleverer, I would rewrite the passage in the style of Dexter’s voice-overs.)

“We know that the Code is holy. But I am not. I have been sold to be a slave of the Dark Passenger. I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the Code is good. As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is the Dark Passenger living in me that does them.

“I know there is nothing good in my Dark Passenger. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do. I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is the Dark Passenger living in me.

“… Who will save me from this Dark Passenger that brings death to my body?”

—Romans 7:14-20, 24 NIrV

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The Gospel According to Dexter: Part II

Harry Morgan found young Dexter drenched in his mother’s blood and raised Dexter as his own child. As a homicide detective, Harry knew the earliest signs of homicidal tendencies and recognized them in his foster son. He also knew that many guilty murderers walk free.

When Harry’s admonitions to Dexter to stop killing neighborhood animals proved ineffective, Harry determined to address Dexter’s Dark Passenger with a new plan: Harry taught Dexter to use his need to kill to do the most possible good. Harry believed that murderers who walked away, acquitted by some fluke of the system deserved death. Dexter willingly accommodated Harry’s sense of justice.

After years of training—how to find a victim, how to determine their guilt, how to hunt and stalk them, how to prepare the crime scene and dispose of the body without leaving evidence—Dexter began killing according to the Code of Harry. Many years after Harry’s death, Dexter still adheres to the precise rules.

The rules are the only way to keep his Dark Passenger in check.

As Dexter progresses through life, marries, has children, he begins to see the limits to the code. The code cannot save him from his Dark Passenger, only safely quell its needs. But he cannot free himself and his appetite endangers his family.

Dexter is as much a slave to the code as he is to his Dark Passenger.