Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dexter Character Harry Morgan

Harry Morgan is former police officer who found and adopted Dexter when he was just three years old. He was the first officer at the scene where Dexter’s mother was killed. Harry had a strong moral compass and did everything by the book.

Dealing with homicides on a daily basis, Harry knew the signs and realized quickly that Dexter’s dark past had damaged him. His adopted son had the tendencies of a serial killer and helped guide those urges to do good deeds. To Harry, it was okay if Dexter killed as long as the person deserved to die.

The fault of the love hate relationship that lay between Dexter and Deborah lands on Harry Morgan’s shoulders. He spent most of the time dealing with police related issues even at home and then he took Dexter under his wing, while he ignored Deborah for the most part.

To keep his adopted son from being a cold and calculating murderer, Harry created a code. Dexter would kill only bad people, specifically people who took the lives of innocent victims, he would never get caught, Dexter would find concrete evidence that his victim was guilty, and he would be prepared were just a few of the rules that Dexter needed to learn and follow.

While Dexter is grateful to Harry, he often blames him as he feels that his whole life was being lived the way Harry wanted and not the way he would have liked. From his job to his relationship with Rita, he feels that Harry controls him even from the grave.

All scenes that include Harry Morgan are told from a flashback point of view. Harry and his wife are both long dead by the start of the Dexter series. Not much is known about Harry Morgan’s deceased wife as Harry was the driving force in Dexter’s youth.

In season one of Dexter we learn that Harry died from heart trouble that he had been fighting for a long time. By season two we learn that his real death was hidden deep in the police files and that Harry may have had a closet full of secrets that Dexter was unaware of.

Dexter’s first killing came shortly after Harry almost died. Harry knew a serial killer when he saw one and as he became sicker in the hospital, he admitted to Dexter that one of his nurses was an Angel of Mercy. A serial killer who murders their patients with various drugs, while convince themselves that they are sparing them from future pain. After Dexter kills the nurse, Harry made a good recovery and went home before he died at a later time.

Two questions will always arise when it comes to Harry Morgan’s parenting skills. Did Harry do the right thing by teaching Dexter to be a good serial killer who only takes the lives of bad people? Or should Harry have gotten Dexter the help he needed from a professional?

It is hard to answer the question as most people believe that a serial killer cannot be helped. They would keep killing regardless of the treatment they received. However, one has to wonder how hard Harry tried when it came to giving Dexter a good home. It sometimes felt as though Harry was simply waiting for Dexter to begin showing that he may be a serial killer instead of trying to prevent him from going in that direction to begin with.

Dexter learned from his adopted father that to fit in, all he has to do is pretend. Pretend you care and feel even if you’re empty inside. To be a good serial killer he would have to blend into the background and make sure that he never stands out.

Harry Morgan was a great cop but he may not have been the ideal parent. To some viewers Harry was an enabler. Instead of raising Dexter to know and understand that killing is wrong, he seemed to reinforce that it was ok if you avoided killing certain people, namely innocent ones.

Dexter often told himself that he could not do one activity or another because it would not pass the code of Harry. By season two Dexter realized that Harry had so many dark secrets of his own, that he would not be able to pass the very code he created.

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