Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TV Watch: "Dexter"

I tried to start watching this show when it first came out a couple of years ago, and I just couldn't stay with it after about 2-3 episodes. I don't mind something "dark", but this one was just too dark for me.

But my daughters talked about it and liked it, and historically I have really enjoyed the production of cable series such as "The Sopranos", "Deadwood", "The Tudors", "Entourage", "Brotherhood", and "Carnivale" just to name a few. So I decided to give the show another shot, catching up through a Comcast "OnDemand" feature, and I'm glad that I did.

An incredible acting turn by star Michael C. Hall as the title character serial killer Dexter Morgan. He is a serial killer with a twist: he only kills other serial killers.

The exposure to Dexter's current personal life, the emotional forces behind his own familial development, and this fact that he only kills truly evil individuals actually make a serial killer sympathetic, if you can imagine that.

Not only is Dexter a serial killer, but he is also by day a civilian blood splatter analyst for the Miami police.


His close ties to the department allow him insight into not only the murders that he has committed and the investigation of those, allowing him to stay one step ahead of law enforcement, but also introduce him to the killers who he will ultimately decide to hunt himself.

Working with the Miami police is not Dexter's only tie-in with them, as it turns out that law enforcement is a family tradition. His father, played by Harry Remar, is a deceased Miami cop who had a major role in Dexter's development into what he has now become. Harry accompanies Dexter along his personal and professional life now as a sort of spiritual guide, constantly popping up to offer him advice or warnings.

Not to stop there, Jennifer Carpenter plays his sister Deborah, also now a Miami Metro police officer. She has been working hard to earn her Detective shield, while always playing the dutiful, loving, loyal big sister to Dexter. The irony of this dedicated cop trying to become a detective while the person closest to her is a serial killer, something going on right under her nose and which she has no clue about, is never lost on us.

Julie Benz is gorgeous as Dexter's girlfriend Rita, and they struggle to develop a relationship around his busy work and murder schedule. Dexter has always had difficulty in personal relationships, as you might imagine, but finally appears to have found his soul mate in Rita, who has no idea that she is in love with a murderer.

There is a tremendous supporting cast around them, as each season develops a main nemesis for Dexter in the form of another main serial killer that he is tracking down and dealing with, often with difficulty. If you haven't caught on to Dexter's off-beat charm, give it a shot, you won't regret inviting this killer into your home.

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