After the latest Dexter episode I couldn't stop thinking if the main character can actually qualify for a real psychopath, so I found a Hare's elaborated checklist here and unsurprisingly, Dexter scored almost as many points as I did. And unfortunately, neither of us is a psychopath.
Instructions: for each of the 20 characteristics, give a score of 0 if it does not apply, 1 if it applies partially and 2 if it is a perfect match.
He has to get at least 30 points to be diagnosed of psychopathy.
1. Glib and Superficial Charm. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.
Well, that's easy. Dexter is everything, but smooth in his social interactions, and often says or does some awkward things. He's far from being charming, so 0 points.
2. Grandiose Self-Worth. A grossly inflated view of one's abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.
Remember what Vogel said about the murderer on the latest Miami Metro case? He would enjoy if he knew they were talking about him; but Dexter wouldn't, besides, he never seems cocky. He feels different from people that surround him, but not in a good way. This only changes when he's around his victims, then he definitely thinks he is superior to them, but that could be his step-father's influence. Since he was brought up in the house where murderers were always treated with contempt, the attitude would grow on him regardless of his personal traits. I call 0.
3. Need for Stimulation or Proneness to Boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.
This one is tricky, because even though Dexter does work in Miami Metro since like forever and almost never travels or looks for any particular excitement, he does tend to run off from work and his second live gives just enough thrill. I give him 1.
Lying. Can be
moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly,
and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded,
unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.
This one is a 2. He's a liar.
5. Cunning and Manipulative. The use
of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain;
distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous
ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings
and suffering of one's victims.
I'd say 1. He does manipulate or deceives others, but sometimes feels guilty about it.
6. Lack of
Remorse or Guilt. A lack of
feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency
to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unemphatic This item is
usually demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims.
If we're talking about his victims only, then, 2 points, otherwise he feels guilty pretty often.
poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in
spite of signs of open gregariousness.
8. Callousness and Lack of Empathy. A lack of
feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and
intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on
others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability
to begin or complete responsibilities.
0 points, he works, he doesn't take loans or borrow money.
Behavioral Controls. Expressions
of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse;
inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.
This only applies to the last episode, really, where he yelled at his son and nearly killed some stupid driver that cut him off. Normally, he stays in control of his behavior. 0.
Sexual Behavior. A variety
of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate
selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the
same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity
or taking great pride at discussing sexual
exploits or conquests.
0. He claimed to be basically asexual before Rita, and besides her there was what, three more women in like seven years? That's not a lot.
Behavior Problems. A variety
of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism,
bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and
running away from home.
I recall that he was killing animals as a child. I guess this qualifies for 2 points.
13. Lack of
Realistic, Long-Term Goals. An
inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and
goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.
On the one hand, he doesn't have long term plans, but at the same time it's not possible to say that his life has no direction. 1?
14. Impulsive. The
occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or
planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of
deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash,
unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.
1 point. He's not that good at controlling his urges, but most of the time he thinks his murders through, wraps the place in plastic and such...
15. Irresponsibility. Repeated
failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying
bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to
work, failing to honor contractual agreements.
2 points. It always amazed me how he manages to be present at work so little and make Harrison's babysitters work extra hours.
16. Failure to Accept Responsibility for Own Actions. A failure
to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low conscientiousness,
an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility,
and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.
1 point. Though he even invented "the dark passenger" to spare some guilt, when Rita was killed he said "It was me" and felt responsible for her death.
Short-Term Marital Relationships. A lack of
commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable,
commitments in life, including marital.
0 points. It was not the lack of commitment that made some of his relationships short.
problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly
involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a
callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.
We know nothing about that period of time, but he probably was well-behaved. 0.
of Condition Release. A
revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical
violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.
Never happened. 0 points
diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been
arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.
Two points. On top of murders he also commits fraud (forging lab results or hiding evidence), theft and invades homes.
So the total result is 20 points, which is higher than a completely normal person would score, but falls short of 10 points to call Dexter a psychopath. Too bad for Dr. Vogel, huh?