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Dexter and The Shield: bad is good

It’s always a challenge for a writer to make the readers like a character they would hate in real life. Some time ago I watched two TV shows: Dexter and The Shield and I have to admit I wasn’t really interested to at first. Dexter (starring Michael C. Hall) is a serial killer but he’s not so bad after all, he only kills criminals. In The Shield, Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) is a detective, the leader of the Strike Team and he sometimes (not to say often…) uses illegal and brutal methods but then again, only against those who seem well deserving of such treatment. A serial killer and a brutal and corrupted cop, I was reluctant and now I’m addicted. It can be bewildering for some people but are they really that bad?

Some people would say killing serial killers or child molesters is OK, some others may think Mackey is doing right using the same methods the gangs use in the streets. I’m against death penalty and I don’t think corruption is good in any kind of way, so how can I enjoy watching Dexter and The Shield? These shows are definitely good entertainment. Both series succeed in getting you close to the personality of the main characters; Dexter might be a serial killer but he can emulates feelings (or he tries to) and have an apparent normal life, Vic Mackey might be violent but he truly loves his family.

I was talking about these shows with friends and some questions raised about the content of today’s TV shows. Are they a true reflection of our time? Does Dexter have the right to kill people on his own judgement? Does The Shield depict the reality of police corruption? Can entertainment be allowed to show any kind of content without any responsibilities only because it’s considered like entertainment and not a real thing?

The answers may differ a lot from one to another, I realized that during this discussion. Dexter and The Shield story lines are far from two other series I consider like my ‘vintage’ favorites: The Persuaders and The Prisoner but when shows are good, they’re good so we should appreciate them just for what they are.

See you in Portmeirion!

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