Is Dexter Based on a Real Life Serial Killer?

There is something inherently addictive about content on serial killers and psychopaths, which makes us, the audience, eagerly watch any movies or shows made about them. Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), one of the most popular TV serial killers, from the eponymous Showtime series (2006-2013) and its sequel — ‘Dexter: New Blood’ — stands apart from the rest because of his unconventional modus operandi: targeting exclusively other killers.

Dexter is a self-aware psychopath who controls his murderous urges and directs them toward those he regards as deserving with the help of the code of rules his adoptive father Harry imposed on him. This code instructs him to avoid getting caught and ensure his potential victim is a murderer. He is a quintessential anti-villain who happens to be a protagonist, and the audience can’t help but love him. If you are a fan of the shows and want to know whether Dexter is based on a real person, we got you covered.

Is Dexter Based on a True Story?

No, neither ‘Dexter’ nor ‘Dexter: New Blood’ is based on a true story. The original show is the TV adaptation of a series of novels by prolific playwright and crime novelist Jeffry P. Freundlich, who uses the pen name—Jeff Lindsay. The inaugural season of ‘Dexter’ closely follows much of what is on the pages of the first Dexter book, ‘Darkly Dreaming Dexter.’ However, the latter seasons veer toward a different avenue of stories than what the books depict.

‘Dexter: New Blood’ is developed by Clyde Phillips, who served as the showrunner of the first four seasons of the original show before his departure. After the conclusion of ‘Dexter,’ which polarised both critical and public opinions, Hall was asked multiple times whether there was any chance for Dexter’s return in any format. In response, Hall always said that he would not say no. Phillips, who read about these interviews, tried to come up with an idea for a sequel that would be acceptable for both Hall and the fans, without much success.

Later, in July 2019, the President of Entertainment of Showtime, Gary Levine, called Phillips to let him know that the network thinks that the time was right to bring Dexter back and asked him whether he could come up with something. Phillips agreed, and after he was done with the script, he went to see Hall. They spoke for a couple of hours, and Hall subsequently came on board for the sequel. Hall and Phillips agreed that it was important that the latest show would not be the ninth season of ‘Dexter.’

The story of ‘Dexter: New Blood’ is set about a decade after the events of the last sequence of ‘Dexter,’ in which the former forensic blood spatter analyst is seen working as a lumberjack in a town in Oregon. ‘Dexter: New Blood’ is set in the fictional town of Iron Lake, New York, where Dexter seems to be leading a peaceful life until a new predator moves into the vicinity and teenagers start disappearing.

While Dexter is fictional, there is a real-world vigilante-killer whose story bears some similarities to that of Dexter’s. Pedro Rodrigues Filho of Brazil has garnered widespread notoriety for killing at least 71 people (Pedro himself claims that the number is a full 100). Most of his victims were criminals. Among them, many were convicts whom Pedro killed while he was incarcerated. He also reportedly murdered his father after the latter killed his mother. Previously, when he wasn’t even 18-years-old, Pedro hunted down and killed a rival gang leader for killing his pregnant girlfriend.

While there are some similarities, Pedro Rodrigues Filho AKA “Killer Petey” most likely didn’t serve as inspiration for Dexter. Thus, after taking everything into account, we can reiterate that Although ‘Dexter’ is not based on a true story and the eponymous character isn’t a real person, it’s completely understandable if someone thinks otherwise.

Read More: Where Is Dexter: New Blood Filmed?