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GreenCine Movie Talk
By popular demand, a forum devoted to Mr. Philo T. Farnsworth's remarkable invention.

Dexter VS Death Note
Topic by: hamano
Posted: October 12, 2006 - 9:18 AM PDT
Last Reply: October 12, 2006 - 9:18 AM PDT

author topic: Dexter VS Death Note
post #1  on October 12, 2006 - 9:18 AM PDT  
I'm enjoying both these shows right now. There are some close similarities between the two. Death Note has a pretty big following due to the success of a live action movie version and a manga series. The anime version that started this fall is so far very entertaining, but the story is grossly simple. The author tries to make it more challenging by introducing ever more rules that govern the use of the Death Note and also the behaviors of the Shinigami (Death Gods, Grim Reapers, what have you) and the humans who use the Death Note. Can the readers follow all the rules? Will the rules trip up one of the characters? Can the rules be reverse engineered by the cops to uncover the truth?

Dexter is a live action show on Showtime cable about a serial killer who works for the police as a blood splatter analyst. He only goes after other killers, so morally his place in his universe is very similar to Light, the protagonist of Death Note. Dexter is not on a holy crusade or anything, and he seems to understand that his mission is really to satisfy his urges, and that his administration of vigilante justice is more or less just an excuse. The show cleverly gets the viewer to like Dexter very much. After all, he goes after bad guys and he helps his little sister (a police officer) and his girlfriend (the survivor of terrible domestic abuse, with two children). He's a great anti-hero. He's been taught how to kill and cover his tracks by his late adoptive father, who was a respected police detective frustrated by his inability to go after certain criminals, especially the man who was responsible for murdering his partner. The father (played by character actor James Remar) often appears in flashbacks, and has a nice crusty/creepy-dad feel to him that Lance Henriksen did so well in shows like Millennium.

Dexter is enjoying being pitted against a serial murderer called the Ice Truck Killer who leaves behind dismembered corpses of prostitutes and deliberate clues. The Ice Truck Killer drains the victims' blood and freeze-dries them before cutting them apart, leaving behind neat, bloodless parts wrapped in brown paper and twine like something from the butcher store. The Killer is also aware of Dexter and leaves "souvenirs" just for him, and thus sets up a "game" between the two.

The genius vs. genius "cat and mouse game" plot is as old as Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty but they're being used very well in Dexter and Deathnote. It's fascinating that these shows appeared concurrently on opposite sides of the world. There have been other successful shows that have this genius vs. genius arc or subplot, like CSI and Profiler. In Deathnote we're starting to see the battle from both sides, as the super-detective "L" faces off against Light. In Dexter the identity of the Killer is still a mystery, although at this point I suspect the younger sister Debra. But she's so obvious she's probably a red herring.

Dexter official site
Death Note ANN page

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