Orphaned at age three, when his mother was brutally murdered by a man with a chainsaw, and harboring a traumatic secret, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) was adopted by Miami policeman Harry Morgan (James Remar), who recognized the boy's homicidal, psychopathic tendencies and taught him to channel his gruesome passion for killing in a "constructive" way—by killing only heinous criminals (such as child molesters, mob assassins, rapists, serial killers of the innocent, etc.) who had slipped through the justice system. To satisfy his interest in blood and to facilitate his own crimes, Dexter works as a forensic technician specializing in bloodstain pattern analysis, for the Miami Metro Police Department (based on the real-life Miami-Dade Police Department). Although his drive to kill is unflinching, he is able to simulate, and in some cases feel, normal emotions and maintain his appearance as a socially responsible human being. Dexter is extremely cautious in his kills – e.g., he wears gloves and uses plastic-wrapped kill rooms, carefully cleans up afterward, and disposes of bodies in the ocean – to reduce the chances of detection.