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Does Dexter have feelings?

  • Avatar of Amerr23

    Amerr23

    [1]Oct 4, 2008
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    I know in episode one we are told that he has absolutely no feelings at all. However, a lots happened since than. He cried when he killed his brother. He was devasted when he realized that he killed his father.

    Do you think those emotions were temporary? Or that those two events will cause him to further start feeling 'human' emotions?

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  • Avatar of Funkynawaks

    Funkynawaks

    [2]Oct 4, 2008
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    Well it kinda seems that they are developing him to have more feelings, if not only a little. I think it would be a good idea as it would make the character a bit more interesting as he struggles with the whole idea. A killer with a conscience. The question also interested in is if the writers are ever gonna have Rita find out and what her reaction would be.
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  • Avatar of amaryllis88

    amaryllis88

    [3]Oct 4, 2008
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    I'm going to base my answer on having had the experience of watching too many cop drama, csi-ish, and investigative shows:
    On Criminal Minds, there was this serial killer Frank (who played Lundy on Dexter last season, how ironic, I know ) and I think the writers put him under the whole "sociopath" category, where if he has feelings for a little bit, it's only temporary, and they're not really true feelings, that normal people would have, behaviorally speaking of course, maybe the guy can mold himself into what others are expecting of him, if he can think it ahead of time.

    However with Dexter, it's kind of hard to see him a killer w/ a conscience, he did mention about straying from the Code when he killed Miguel Prado's younger brother, not knowing whether he was truly innocent or not. I think with the people being a constant in his life like Deb, and Rita, he may evolve into having actual feelings, I guess only time will tell, and what the writers have in mind as well.

    Although I'm also curious as to how Jimmy Smits' character is going to either help or hinder with Dexter's evolution.
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    pompaTG

    [4]Oct 6, 2008
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    For someone who supposedly have no feelings, Dexter show a lot of signs of actually having some. Personally, I think it's to make him more amiable to the viewers. Otherwise he would creep out a lot of people whom the producers want to follow the show.

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  • Avatar of AgulaDX2

    AgulaDX2

    [5]Oct 9, 2008
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    At the series start, Dexter doesn't really have "human feelings" other than negative ones. His only positive feeling is for his sister Debra and his adoptive father, Harry.

    From the beginning Dexter is trying his best to fake being a real human being, with real or genuine emotions that are positive. His Dark Passenger's hunger is really the only emotion Dexter feels.

    Throughout the first season and second season, Dexter has developed more of the other human feelings, through his relationships with his co-workers, Rita, and Rita's kids.

    So to answer the question, yes, Dexter does have feelings, only his darker side of feelings are the ones he identifies with....the positive feelings are more dormant and he is slowly developing those types of feelings.

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  • Avatar of Hungry_Homer111

    Hungry_Homer111

    [6]Oct 10, 2008
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    AgulaDX2 wrote:

    At the series start, Dexter doesn't really have "human feelings" other than negative ones. His only positive feeling is for his sister Debra and his adoptive father, Harry.

    From the beginning Dexter is trying his best to fake being a real human being, with real or genuine emotions that are positive. His Dark Passenger's hunger is really the only emotion Dexter feels.

    Throughout the first season and second season, Dexter has developed more of the other human feelings, through his relationships with his co-workers, Rita, and Rita's kids.

    So to answer the question, yes, Dexter does have feelings, only his darker side of feelings are the ones he identifies with....the positive feelings are more dormant and he is slowly developing those types of feelings.



    Exactly. He had become cold, emotionless early on in his life, probably due to the trauma he experienced as a kid, which ended up causing his killer instinct, which Harry taught him to use for good. It wasn't until the Ice Truck Killer came along, and brought back the memories of his mom's death that he had some real emotions. After that, he's had some more emotions emerge, such as his growing feelings for Rita and her kids, and he's had to deal with it. He doesn't know how to deal with it since he's never actually experienced them before. And that's a big part of why I love the show and his character, the changing state of his emotions and non-emotions, and how he tries to deal with them.
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  • Avatar of ascaffo

    ascaffo

    [7]Oct 14, 2008
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    Hungry_Homer111 wrote:
    AgulaDX2 wrote:

    At the series start, Dexter doesn't really have "human feelings" other than negative ones. His only positive feeling is for his sister Debra and his adoptive father, Harry.

    From the beginning Dexter is trying his best to fake being a real human being, with real or genuine emotions that are positive. His Dark Passenger's hunger is really the only emotion Dexter feels.

    Throughout the first season and second season, Dexter has developed more of the other human feelings, through his relationships with his co-workers, Rita, and Rita's kids.

    So to answer the question, yes, Dexter does have feelings, only his darker side of feelings are the ones he identifies with....the positive feelings are more dormant and he is slowly developing those types of feelings.

    Exactly. He had become cold, emotionless early on in his life, probably due to the trauma he experienced as a kid, which ended up causing his killer instinct, which Harry taught him to use for good. It wasn't until the Ice Truck Killer came along, and brought back the memories of his mom's death that he had some real emotions. After that, he's had some more emotions emerge, such as his growing feelings for Rita and her kids, and he's had to deal with it. He doesn't know how to deal with it since he's never actually experienced them before. And that's a big part of why I love the show and his character, the changing state of his emotions and non-emotions, and how he tries to deal with them.

    I agree totally. I think that Dexter is basically a character study. He is constantly evolving. Plus, since he found out the truth about Harry's death, he has to rethink his life- and that includes his feelings.

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  • Avatar of GiverSSJ

    GiverSSJ

    [8]Oct 14, 2008
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    AgulaDX2 wrote:

    At the series start, Dexter doesn't really have "human feelings" other than negative ones. His only positive feeling is for his sister Debra and his adoptive father, Harry.

    From the beginning Dexter is trying his best to fake being a real human being, with real or genuine emotions that are positive. His Dark Passenger's hunger is really the only emotion Dexter feels.

    Throughout the first season and second season, Dexter has developed more of the other human feelings, through his relationships with his co-workers, Rita, and Rita's kids.

    So to answer the question, yes, Dexter does have feelings, only his darker side of feelings are the ones he identifies with....the positive feelings are more dormant and he is slowly developing those types of feelings.



    Well written.
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  • Avatar of pro_odeh

    pro_odeh

    [9]Oct 16, 2008
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    This has been discussed from the time the series started. Those who have read the books clearly state that Dexter never developed any true feelings, he just kept on faking the whole time. Although in the series I get a feeling that the writers are trying to make Dexter more "humane" but still they have his killing side.

    What might make it a little clearer is to think of Dexter's "feelings" more like instincts. And I think was portrayed very well in the last episode "The lion sleeps tonight". Dexter is the hunter, the lion. He has an urge and a need to kill. Now, in the second season he had a dialogue with one of his victims saying that he didn't NEED to kill him. It was actually a funny scene, because the guy thought Dex wouldn't kill him after all. Anyway, that was a little digression. But the point is, over time Dexter has managed to control his killer instincts a little more. And that is why, I believe, that we have this evolving of the code in this season. He was using the code to be able to kill, help people, and still not get caught. Before he needed the code to direct his instincts towards someone who deserved it, and prevent him from hurting his family and "friends". But now that he is in control the code never serves that function any more, he is his own master now.

    But over to the development of these instincts. In the first season he didn't have any sexual drive, but that changed with Lila. But it was still a dark and brutal thing, not "making love", which shows that it's more a sexual instinct than love. Also, when it comes to Rita and the kids I would describe his behaviour and "feelings" and an instinct to protect his "lioness and cubs". I don't think Dexter has the abilety to love (at least not of now, although this was alluded to in the end of the second season), but he is developing characteristics that we familiarize with feelings, although in Dexter's case I would say these are just instincts rather than feelings. His family is his territory, and no one can trespass. We see that happening with both Paul and the pedophile, although his protective instinct is growing since he in the latter case killed the guy.

    This is also clearly seen in the whole baby issue. And I think the writers did a great job comparing Dexter's thoughts on this with the normal humans in the series. All the others react as we would do, whole Dexter evaluates logical reasons for or against being a father thinking of his self preservation above all. But the instinct to protect his family has grown so much that he is willing to father the child.

    I think the writers have done this very well. Sort of teasing us with a human side of Dex, but then in the end show us how radically different he really is.

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  • Avatar of zahmerica

    zahmerica

    [10]Nov 29, 2008
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    The writers definitely elude to the idea that Dexter has feelings. You could argue that Dexter might just be great at pretending but there have been several occasions where he seemed genuinely protective and emotional. Most sociopaths aren't capable of even the mildest form of emotion. So it's definitely confusing. I would be devastated to see this series end under the notion that Dexter was a brilliant pretender. I would hate to think that the audience could be fooled like that. But I wouldn't be surprised. He probably has instincts, like another poster mentioned, but might not actually love and care for Rita, Deb and the children like we think. That'a real and terrifying possibility. I don't want or need Dexter to be a full-fledged human being. It would just be nice for him to love those who love him. Otherwise, we are really rooting for the wrong person. I wouldn't like Dexter so much if I truly thought he was without emotion. I want to believe that he has feelings. He'll never be normal but his only redeeming quality is that there's a good guy in there somewhere. Imperfect and broken... but GOOD.

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    Ploki_Ikolp

    [11]Nov 29, 2008
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    I think Dexter definitely has feeling, he showed guilt when he was unsure about Oscar's guilt and innocence. It is also clear that he has some sort of feelings for Rita, although I don't think we've ever heard him use the word "love" or even "like" with her, but I don't think he stays with her only because of the convenience, surely it would be more convenient not having to explain to anyone where you have been etc. He showed sadness when he found out Camilla was ill, and when he saw her. It was obvious he has a concience when the discussion about killing Ellen, the lawyer came up. And finally, he showed TRUE happiness when it finally got to him that he's going to be a father.

    I think he is becoming more humane and definitely becoming more sensitive. I think he will carry on killing murderers, because that's what Dexter is about, but with the birth of his child and the upcoming wedding he will become more "functional".

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    wowbobwow38

    [12]Nov 30, 2008
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    The writers have done a great job with Dexter's character development. The Dexter of the series is different from the one of the books, at least based on the descriptions I have seen in this forum. And since the second and thrid season are taking to characters into storylines not based on the books, it stands to reason they are there own entities. Dexter does not look at the world like normal people that's for sure and we have seen even in this season, he still has difficulty accessing normalcy within himself especially with how he devised his proposal to Rita based on someone's testimony. We do see how the people around him affect him and how he does genuinely care about his sister, co-workers and his new family. Even when he was thinking about turning himself in, he did take into consideration on how it would affect the significant others in his life. Dexter has come a long way since we first met him, even though he is a cold person he has warmed up to some extent.
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    clairebbbear

    [13]Nov 30, 2008
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    Firstly, it's important to separate book Dexter from TV Dexter. They are nothing alike. Book Dexter is closer to an accurate portrayal of a sociopath - he is sometimes quite insulting in the way he describes Rita and Deb, doesn't express the same desire to connect with his brother or anyone and views humans as a different species to himself. Perhaps the closest things he has to feelings in the books are towards Astor and Cody, because he sees them as damaged like himself, and is especially interested when Cody also starts showing sociopathic traits.

    TV Dexter does a lot of things that a pure sociopath wouldn't, like being able to be trained, being able to hold back his kill urges, taking time to help others, showing guilt (sometimes), going against his own wishes (sometimes). And, he clearly has some feelings, even though he doesn't realise it.

    The way the writers have described TV Dexter is being like a French coffee press - he has feelings there, but they are pushed to the bottom and only bubble up through the filter occasionally. The primal emotions - fear, rage, disgust, lust - even sociopaths display those, so it shouldn't be surprising that we've seen those from him on several occasions. It's the more advanced, social emotions - happiness, sadness, affection, love, pride, remorse - that we don't see from him as often. But we do see them:

    * he was genuinely upset at having to kill Brian

    * he also seemed hurt at the prospect of losing Rita and the kids in season 2, so much so that he kept going to NA meetings for her even when he didn't want to

    * he appeared to feel genuine remorse for Ellen's death, but perhaps not so much for Oscar (with that it seemed to be more of surprise at what he had done - the remorse only came when he realised who Oscar was and that he could get into trouble)

    * he felt bad enough about Doakes' death, which he contributed to, to attend his funeral

    * he has showed genuine affection for Deb and pride in her achievements, over and over again. Same for the children.

    * he seemed genuinely happy at having found someone to share his kiliing secret with in Miguel, and at not being alone - although that happiness only lasted a few hours before he realised Miguel had disobeyed and betrayed him.

    Real sociopaths wouldn't probably display those feelings in that way, but Dexter does. As he learns more about himself - as he grows up from the child he was emotionally in season 1 to the emerging adult he is now in season 3 - those feelings are coming out too. But it's very very gradual. And it doesn't help that he has been told by his father that he is incapable of feeling, because he is a sociopath, so he denies having feelings and is unable to recognise them when he does have them. It's taken people like Doakes, the car salesman guy and the shrink to get through to him that he does (but they're all dead now).

    Edited on 11/30/2008 7:59pm
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    hex_fan_999

    [14]Dec 11, 2008
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    I think that Dexter defintly has feelings. He just likes to think he doesn't because if he did he would be upset if people ever found out about him.
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    kary_82

    [15]Dec 30, 2008
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    I think he actually has. Even though he says he's soulless and "empty inside", I think he always *had* feelings, although he was denying this, because having some would be to be "human" and not being able to live with the things he does anymore (we'll see that since the end of season 1).

    Actually it looks like Dexter has more feelings than most of "humans", or at least than most of the people around him... anyway I don't think his acting like a kind and normal person is just a "mental attitude", and he wasn't faking when we saw him crying for his brother or worrying about Debra or Rita.

    Just to make an example, he loved his step-father Harry, and refused to kill innocent people (above all, Doakes)...

    But I'm just ending season 2

    Edited on 12/30/2008 2:47pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of hawksie

    hawksie

    [16]Dec 31, 2008
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    kary_82 wrote:

    I think he actually has. Even though he says he's soulless and "empty inside", I think he always *had* feelings, although he was denying this, because having some would be to be "human" and not being able to live with the things he does anymore (we'll see that since the end of season 1).

    Actually it looks like Dexter has more feelings than most of "humans", or at least than most of the people around him... anyway I don't think his acting like a kind and normal person is just a "mental attitude", and he wasn't faking when we saw him crying for his brother or worrying about Debra or Rita.

    Just to make an example, he loved his step-father Harry, and refused to kill innocent people (above all, Doakes)...

    But I'm just ending season 2



    That's spot on. Dexter has shown himself to have feelings numerous times in the past 3 seasons, he simply tells himself he doesn't and isolates him from the rest of the people in his life. It makes it easier for him to cope with himself.
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    therealcromar

    [17]Jan 12, 2009
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    I think that Dexter has real feelings. I know he constantly tells us he doesn't, but he's full of it. I think he was warped by Harry into thinking that he could turn his "dark passenger" into something that could be given boundaries, something that could exist as a well-defined part of his personality. When he does that he also has convinced himself that his difficulty with human contact means he has no emotions, and he refuses to give that up until he is able to properly deconstruct the myth of Harry. I think that Harry's lessons, while protecting other people from his killer tendencies, hurt Dexter in the long run because it prevented him from any real self-actualization. In short, Harry is his enabler.

    Rita on the other hand is his savior. She is repairing him just as Dexter repaired her. The moment when Dexter realized he loved his son was a huge breakthrough for him. I love analyzing this show, it's really amazing! I agree with another poster in this thread that (unlike the book, though I haven't read it) Dexter in the series is not a true sociopath, but a severly damaged, highly intelligent person who happens to be trained to murder people very efficiently. Tony Soprano by contrast is a true sociopath.

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    thetruesora

    [18]Jan 12, 2009
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    *spoilers for the last episode of season 3* He was also able to bond with Ramone rather than blackmailing him like he was planning to do.
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    aimkhan

    [19]Feb 10, 2009
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    Well during the first seasons I could not find any feelings in Dex. But when he was unable to get finished with the the huge man, at the first attempt, in the second season. I found a lot of feelings when he lost his trophy for a while.

    Anyway the third season is totally about his feelings. He has a lot in his mind. He has affection but only for his prays and the one that come in between him and his family... He likes being with them
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    Splendid_99

    [20]Feb 25, 2009
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    Well, allot of Character development has happened over the years, I mean... At the beggining of Season 1 he says I have no emotions but come on? at the End of Season 1 (SPOILER) he kills his brother and crys... In season 2 when they found the bodies in the ocean his heart started to beat really fast... And with the whole Lila situation where he started yelling and having emotions and with Dokes he was getting angry all the time. And in season 3 he got Rita Pregnant and wanted to get married allot and really wanted Rita at the end of season 3. But who cares right? Dexter is an awesome show and he was really good with emotions in season 2. Can't wait for season 4!!!!

    Can someone tell me... When does it air?

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