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Dexter: Time Served

How Much Time Would Dexter Do?

By Kevin T. Fisher     August 22, 2013

The final season of Dexter is upon us. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and some people have really gone out with a bang regarding their final season celebrations. One thing a lot of people have wondered is just how the show will end? Will he get caught? Arrested?
Even if you don’t watch Dexter there’s a good chance you’ve heard of it or know what it’s about. The long short of it is that a serial killer named Dexter Morgan fulfills his need to murder while maintaining a sane, stable public image. He accomplishes this by working within law enforcement as a forensics specialist and adhering to a strict code: no innocents and no getting caught.
The man’s been doing this now for eight seasons on SHOWTIME. That’s 96 episodes, almost all of which involved him committing a murder – and those are just the murders you SEE in the show. Obviously, Dexter, were he to get caught, would be in jail for the rest of his life...were he to get caught.
However, just how long would that be, if you were to tally that all up? How many life sentences are we talking about? Let’s look at Dexter by the numbers.
Dexter, love’em or hate’em, the fact remains that he is a murderer. He kills people and, according to some diehard fans, he’s killed well over 100 people during the course of the show; 20 or 30 more if you count the books. These aren’t self-defense kills or accidents, either – these are 100+ premeditated murders where he stalks and targets his prey before kidnapping and ritualistically murdering them.
In Florida, the state where Dexter is set, first degree murder – willful and premeditated – carries with it a life sentence. And forget about parole – it was abolished in 1983. So, ostensibly, that’s over 100 life sentences Dexter would be serving – he’d never see the outside of a jail cell again.
It might not seem like justice for those of us privy to the mind behind Dexter. Most of us know that he’s a killer with a code and he, essentially, does what the law won’t do. He eliminates real-deal bad guys who skirt justice either through a corrupt ruling, prison overpopulation, or mistrial. Bad guys like:
Mary, the nurse who was poisoning her patients.
Brian Moser, the ice-truck killer.
Lila, the serial arsonist
It can be argued that, were it not for Dexter, these people would have gone on killing long before their reigns of terror were brought to an end. If he were foolish enough and privy to the greatest legal team in the universe, he could attempt to confess to vigilantism. Of course, the justice system still tends to frown heavily on those who take the law into their own hands. Not to mention that any judge part of any so-called “broken system” would throw out this appeal in an instant – makes them look bad. Plus, vigilantism doesn’t cover the murder of law enforcement officers.
In season 7, Maria LaGuerta, a police captain and colleague, was killed and, in season 2, Doakes, a police sergeant, was also murdered. What these two have in common is that they both got too close to Dexter’s work and, while Dexter might not have been the one to directly end their lives, he still put them in positions that facilitated their murders.
The other thing about Florida law, with regards to premeditated murder, is that it also carries another punishment: the death penalty. And, in the end, despite all the perceived good Dexter thought he was doing, he would have been vilified in both the eyes of the media and the jury – hounded all the way to the chair.


Dexter would spend the rest of his life in jail and that’s if he avoided execution. Unless...of course, he managed to escape. :)

Follow Kevin T. Fischer on Twitter @KevinTFischer. Follow Mania on Facebook and Twitter. If work has you blocked out, download our app on iTunes for your iPhone and iPad.


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MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 8/22/2013 8:50:42 AM

 A couple of life sentences if not the death penalty. It is Florida.

ddiaz28 8/22/2013 9:18:51 AM

I think he'd go to prison, get a book deal, tell his story, become famous and have a large cult following. 

jrok78 8/22/2013 9:33:28 AM

Agree Ddiaz. I think he would probably get his story optioned for a Showtime original series.

DarkXid 8/22/2013 11:22:34 AM

 C'mon a real serial killer would get a series on HBO.  

CalamityJohnson 8/22/2013 2:22:15 PM

he would not get the death penalty as he didn't kill police officers or children. The fact that his victims were all heinous do-eviler's he would have been tossed into life in prison in some mod security joint on the coast

BunyonSnipe 8/22/2013 2:48:45 PM

No Police Officers?


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Okay so he didn't exactly kill La Guerta and Doakes, but their deaths were his fault, he would get the death penalty for sure!

But there would be some sectors of the law enforcement community that take him as some sort of saint like figure, a sort of martyr for 'the cause'..

blankczech 8/22/2013 8:02:46 PM

 Not all of the people Dexter killed were heinous evil doers...some like Hannah's old man were just creeps.

Dex would definitely get caught.  Too many people know his secret . Athletes who use PED's will tell you, that people can't keep secrets.

In real life If they caught a guy like Dexter and were able to link him to 100 premeditated murders he'd definitely get the death penalty.  Our society doesn't allow individuals to play god.  If it was my call I wouldn't kill him (death is too quick and easy).  I'd put him in a straight jacket, keep him in a psychotropic drug stupor, and lock him in a padded room for the rest of his life...the guy is criminally insane.

Not following BunyonSnipes insinuation that law enforcement people would think Dex was a Saint. I have never met a law enforcement person who liked a vigilante. Some I know aren't even fond of private investigators, bounty hunters and private security people / guards.

I'm still predicting an ambiguous ending.  Something will happen that will leave us wondering if Dex died or got away...I really don't think Showtime can give us a defintive ending since Jeff Lindsay hasn't written the last book yet.

I'm also wondering what's going to happen to Deb...she's a cop killer (there's no way to glorify that)



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