Inside television: Deadly Dexter is the real deal
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 07 November 2013
TV watcher have long since made peace with the fact that not everything that happens on television is an exact replica of real life. TV writers reserve the right to improve on the everyday by making faces prettier, comebacks wittier and stereotypes lazier.
This last one is a particular bugbear for mental health professionals like consultant psychologist Dr Melora Wilson. "In the 10 years I've been in the field, both in Broadmoor, which is maximum security and now in medium security, the number of 'psychopaths' who are true psychopaths who've come through the door isn't that many. They're not a common phenomena."
Except on TV crime shows, of course, where the violent psychopath is a staple. For Dr Melora, one series that almost got a handle on psychopathy was Dexter, the Paramount show about a killer of killers, which releases its final season on DVD on 18 November.
Dr Wilson has compared the behaviour of Dexter Morgan (as played by Michael C Hall) to a list of traits defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, a diagnostic tool devised in the 1970s. "I think some of his internal monologues show that he doesn't really understand the emotions of others or grasp why they feel or care the way that they do. He definitely can lie and manipulate and his actions are clearly irresponsible."
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