Blog Post

New CBS series celebrates serial murder

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer (Jan. 31, 2008) Parents worried about too much violence on television need to make sure their children stay away from CBS on Sunday evenings at 10:00 p.m. Beginning on Feb. 17, the station will air Dexter, a series whose “hero” is a serial killer who stalks and kills his victims after tranquilizing them and stabbing or dismembering them. The series, which originally aired on Showtime, will supposedly be edited for television, but this is no comfort to media watchdogs. “The biggest problem with the series is something no amount of editing can get around,” Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council (PTC), said in a press release. “The series compels viewers to empathize with a serial killer, to root for him to prevail, to hope he doesn’t get discovered. Dexter introduces audiences to the depths of depravity and indifference as it chronicles the main character’s troubled quest for vigilante justice by celebrating graphic and premeditated murder.” The PTC has formally asked CBS to cancel the broadcast which features the murder of seven victims during the course of the 12-episode series. According to the PTC, the show’s killer always uses the same procedure, which is to tranquilize the victim, then allow them to wake up and find themselves naked and bound to a table with plastic wrap. He slices the victim’s cheek with a scalpel and keeps drops of their blood on glass slides as souvenirs. After explaining why he’s going to kill them, he either stabs and then dismembers them, or dismembers them while still alive. The fact that Dexter only kills the “bad guys” seems to placate its creators and sponsors. According to L. Brent Bozell III, president and founder of the Media Research Council, the author of the novels on which the program is based, Jeff Lindsay, joked to TV critics that “the idea just popped into my head that serial murder isn't always a bad thing.” Bozell reports that this disturbing attitude was also found in Showtime boss Robert Greenblatt who called the series “A complex and fascinating look at serial killers, which, up to this point, have been marginalized and made two-dimensional.” CBS executives are expressing the same sordid excitement about the debut of Dexter. “Dexter is a high-quality, compelling series that will be new and original programming for most CBS viewers,” said Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment in a press release. “It’s also a great match with our existing lineup, affording us the opportunity to promote this critically decorated series in CBS’s top-rated crime dramas.” Airing Dexter on CBS is the result of the writers strike which has forced networks to look to cable for programming. Consequently, much more risque shows are likely to make the leap from cable to broadcast television. Dexter, which is loaded with extreme violence, nudity and foul language, is the perfect example of why this trend is sounding alarms. “The PTC has documented a pattern of adult-themed content migrating from premium cable to syndication on broadcast TV,” Winter said. “And we are seeing a migration of graphic broadcast  TV content from the 10 p.m. hour to earlier and earlier times in the day. “But Dexter is undoubtedly the worst example of this disturbing trend. This is the first time that such a graphic program has gone from premium cable straight to prime-time broadcast television. While parental responsibility is always the key component of a family’s healthy media diet, CBS must grasp the magnitude of the harmful role it will be playing by airing such a violent and disturbing program on its broadcast network.” Calling this series a celebration of murder, the PTC is putting CBS, its affiliates, and every potential sponsor of Dexter on notice. “Parents will not tolerate this type of disturbing content on the public airwaves,” Winter said. “We are asking our members, our grassroots chapters and other concerned citizens across the country to contact their local affiliates and ask them to reconsider their plan to air this show. CBS needs to realize that this disturbing program is wholly inappropriate for the broadcast medium.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. Help us evangelize the culture. Consider becoming a Ministry Partner. Visit for more information.