A vigilante serial killer as ethics educator? An exploration of Dexter as a tool for moral education in the professional domain

ME van Ommen, S Dr. Daalmans, GWM Weijers, A Eden, RNH de Leeuw, Moniek Buijzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to inform the discussion over the proposed merit of morally ambiguous dramas as a tool in moral education in the professional domain, by providing insight into student groups' moral evaluations of Dexter. In-depth interviews (N = 61) were conducted among a diverse sample of law and (developmental) psychology students. The results demonstrate differences in moral evaluations, according to the degree of 'professional' experience. Remarkably, law students follow the unlawful reasoning of vigilante killer Dexter instead of their own moral make-up; yet slowly develop a professional, strict procedural, point-of-view during their education. Conversely (developmental) psychology students ground moral evaluations instantly in professionalism, but proceed from an idealistic to a more realistic and nuanced point-of-view. To fully reach its potential as a launch pad for discussing professional predicaments, we recommend that Dexter is incorporated later in the curriculum after both student groups have had more experience in the field.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)378-395
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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