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The Scientist and the Serial Killer

By Morrie Mullins


From The Psychology of Dexter

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This is one essay from the anthology The Psychology of Dexter

Millions of us are fascinated by unlikely hero Dexter Morgan—a character who constantly makes us question what being “normal” really means. What makes Dexter tick? And what makes a show about a serial killer so appealing to those of us at home?

In The Psychology of Dexter 17 psychologists and devoted Dexter fans take on the show’s psychological complexities, analyzing not just the title character but also his family, coworkers, and even his viewers.

  • What can we learn about Dexter from the way he captures, kills, and disposes of his victims?
  • We know Dexter is a psychopath . . . don’t we? Without the Code of Harry, would Dexter have ever killed at all?
  • What do Deb’s daddy issues tell us about Dexter—and about Harry?
  • Was Rita a victim or a manipulator?
  • Can Jungian theory explain our fascination with Dexter? And do we need to be worried about our own Dark Passengers?

Think you know Dexter? The Psychology of Dexter will make you think again.

About the Editor

Bella DePaulo (PhD, Harvard) is the author of Behind the Door of Deceit: Understanding the Biggest Liars in Our Lives and Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She has published more than 100 scholarly articles. DePaulo’s work on deception has been described in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, the New Yorker, and many other publications. Dr. DePaulo has appeared as an expert on deception on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, the BBC, and other television outlets. She has also lectured nationally and internationally.


Jared DeFife, PhD; Lisa Firestone, PhD; Joshua L. Gowin; Marisa Mauro, PsyD; Matthew E. Jacovina; Matthew A. Bezdek; Jeffrey E. Foy; William G. Wenzel; Richard J. Gerrig, PhD; Morrie Mullins, PhD; Melissa Burkley, PhD; Edward Burkley, PhD; Wind Goodfriend, PhD; Chase Barrick; David Barber-Callaghan; Nigel Barber, PhD; Tamara McClintock Greenberg, PsyD; Adi Jaffe; Paul Wilson, PhD; Stephen D. Livingston; Jeremy Clyman; and Christopher Ryan, PhD

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About the Author

Morrie  Mullins

Morrie Mullins, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Xavier University in Cincinnati. When he’s not doing academic research on personnel selection and mentoring students, he’s probably writing fiction, immersing himself in pop culture, or spending time with his wife and dogs. His definition of “work-nonwork balance” involves having enough time and energy to work on his stories and watch TV after he gets home. Contrary to what his students may believe, he is emphatically not the biggest Star Wars geek in twelve systems.

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