The Brain of Dexter Morgan: the Science of Psychopathy in Showtime’s Season 8 of Dexter

  • Colleen BerryessaEmail author
  • Taylor Goodspeed


This article identifies and discusses on the ways in which biological influences to psychopathy are thematically portrayed in the eighth season of Dexter to describe Dexter’s psychopathy, particularly focusing on fatalism and the inevitability of succumbing to one’s “biological self.” This paper, utilizing traditional content analysis, focuses on seven qualitative themes surrounding “biological fatalism” and psychopathy in this final season of Dexter. As lay theories of psychopathy are thought to originate from the media’s conceptualization of the disorder, such thematic portrayals serve to potential affect lay understandings of psychopathy and correspondingly, how the disorder is treated and perceived in the criminal justice process as a modern psychopathy-related “CSI Effect.” The conclusion focuses on the messages that this final season of Dexter sends to the lay public about the biological influences to psychopathy and how this may create implications for the criminal justice system.


Dexter Psychopathy Neuroscience Criminal justice 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

12103_2019_9470_MOESM1_ESM.doc (160 kb)
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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminal JusticeRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA
  2. 2.University of Pennsylvania Law School, Class of 2017PhiladelphiaUSA

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