Dexter Morgan (Hall) is a forensic lab rat for the Miami-Dade Police. He really knows blood splatter. He should, because he moonlights as a killer. It seems that poor old Dex just can’t help himself. His parents were criminals, and he witnessed his mother’s brutal slashing by a chainsaw gang when he was just a young boy. He was adopted by Harry Morgan (Remar), a police officer. Harry saw the killer instinct in Dexter and taught him how to channel the urges for the sake of good. Dexter adopted Harry’s Code, which means he only kills others that he’s able to prove were killers themselves. His father continues to guide him through his own mind, meaning we get to see Pop even though he’s gone. Working for the police with his officer sister, Debra (Carpenter), Dexter is constantly just on the verge of getting caught. He has to adapt and evolve to avoid capture.
“Most actors toil in obscurity, never stepping into the spotlight. But if you hone your craft, work diligently, you might just find yourself cast in the role of a lifetime.”
Talk about your perfect roles. The first thing that makes Dexter work is its star Michael C. Hall. You might remember Hall from his days on Six Feet Under, where he played the conflicted and very gay funeral director. His deadpan style and somewhat offbeat timing make him a perfect fit for these rather quirky characters. If you thought he was good as David Fisher, you’re simply going to love him as Dexter. It amazes me how different he looks and sounds. It was at first very difficult for me to actually identify him, he gets so completely immersed in character. You’ll find yourself rooting that Dexter doesn’t get caught, if for no other reason than you don’t want the show to end. The other actors and characters are also quite good.
With every goodbye, we welcome in new characters, and this season is no exception. Rita is gone. Actress Julie Benz has left the show to join No Ordinary Family. The season begins with Dexter trying to get over the loss. He eventually discovers that once he gets back to his extracuricular activities he can finally cope. There are new challenges, however. Debra’s partner, Quinn (Harrington) is on to Dexter and has hired a dirty cop played by Peter Weller to dig up the dirt on Dexter. He’s walking quite a tightrope as he’s still pretty much sleeping with Debra.
The new friend for Dexter is Lumen, played by Julia Stiles. She was one of the intended victims of one of Dexter’s projects, and she sees him kill her tormentor. She’s damaged goods, but Dexter feels a kinship for her, and the two begin to track down the rest of her would-be killers. These are guys who torture young women. When they are finally done playing they electrocute them and stuff them in barrels of formaldehyde. Perhaps Dexter has finally found a true soul mate. Unfortunately, the unit is just as close to bringing in the killers. The leader of the killers is a motivational speaker played by Johnny Lee Miller. Meanwhile Debra gets thrown under the bus by the back-stabbing Maria.
Dexter is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It’s all good. The 1080p image is brought to you via a solid AVC/MPEG-4 codec. Have you ever wondered what blood red might look like in the brilliance of high definition? What if there was a lot of it? I don’t mean just gory slaughter scenes. I mean, what if we had the chance to just examine it. Take some time and just take in the color. You won’t have to imagine after you’ve watched this HD presentation. You get pretty much a clean picture with nice bright colors. There’s a lot of dark stuff, so fortunately black levels are pretty solid. Detail is wonderful. This is a near-perfect image that still manages to contain enough subtle blemish to make it quite realistic.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track doesn’t offer a lot of dazzle, but it does the job well enough. The dialog is always perfectly placed. The few musical cues come out just fine. About the best thing you can say for any soundtrack is that it disappears into the experience so that you don’t really think about it. This show is compelling enough that you won’t be asking yourself why the sub doesn’t seem to be pounding in your ears. That’s your heart.
Just previews of other shows.
Dexter has been quite a joy to review over the years. It’s a good example of what a cable show can be. The format takes advantage of the small season element and offers up perfect little chunks that become a good story. There’s no need for filler, and every episode counts. The characters around Dexter change to a small extent, and somehow the show has remained fresh over the five seasons. We’re all looking forward to more. If you see this season on sale at your local video store, there’s only one thing you can do. “Take It.”