First, the intro to Dexter is super cool with his morning routine and all the obvious references to murdering someone. Check out the intro in the video above.
Then, I missed Dexter when it came on. It was Showtime that in 2006 started showing the series that would last until 2013. With a questionable continuation in 2022. Anyway, I missed the series even though I was aware of it and was very attracted by the premise. In 2013 I was going to New York and panicked a bit the night before about what to bring for entertainment. WiFi wasn’t as available as it is today and I definitely wouldn’t have it in my dingy kyffle on the East side. I ended up taking a chance and dumping all seasons of Dexter onto my laptop. The result was watching all the seasons in eleven days. Let me say, there were wonderful late and bloody nights with Dexter in New York that spring. When the series ended, Dexter had murdered 135 people and I went home to Sweden again.
The awards for Dexter came pouring in
The series is exceptionally good and manages, like very few other series, to combine suspense, drama, horror and humor in a creative way. Dexter was also critically acclaimed and one of the most beloved and iconic shows on television. Today, Dexter has reached some sort of cult status. During its eight seasons, it received many awards and nominations, including several Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. The series was also an international success and was broadcast in over 180 countries. It was the first series on the Showtime network to reach over 4 million viewers, and ratings steadily increased throughout the series. Reviews were mostly positive, and the series was regularly praised for its writing, performances, and dark themes. Dexter was even ranked by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Best TV Shows of All Time in 2010.
The plot revolves around the main character Dexter Morgan, a successful blood trace analyst at the Miami Metro Police Department, who lives a double life as a serial killer. (For the tech geek, it may be mentioned that Dexter often uses a Nikon DSLR camera and a 105mm Micro Nikkor lens rigged with a Nikon R1 twin macro flash kit). Orphaned at the age of eight after his mother was murdered, Dexter was taken into the care of a police officer, Harry Morgan, who trained him in the art of “killing only those who deserve it”. Using this code, Dexter hunts and kills criminals who have escaped the punishment of the law while struggling to manage his insidious urges.
The series focuses on Dexter’s ability to navigate his professional and personal life while trying to hide his murderous side from those closest to him. Along with Dexter, the series also features a number of other characters such as his sister who also works for the police, his adoptive father and his colleagues at the police. Other characters are his victims, their family members, and those who hunt him. Especially his sister Debra, who also doesn’t know about his secret double life, complicates his life. Dexter and Debra’s relationship is….special.
The casting was perfect
One of the strongest points of Dexter is the acting. Michael C. Hall gives an excellent performance as Dexter, conveying a complexity in the character’s emotions and actions. He is as convincing as the charming, socially withdrawn Dexter as he is as the chilling serial killer. I get a little dizzy when I think that Marvel’s Jeremy Renner was originally intended to play the role of Dexter. And not nice dizziness then. In addition to Hall, the other actors are also strong in their roles, especially Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter’s sister Debra (privately, Michael and Jennifer were married to each other during 2008-2010) and James Remar as Dexter’s adoptive father Harry. Their relationships with Dexter add important emotional complexity to the series and help make the character more human. After all, this is a serial killer we’re talking about. Sure yes, Debra swears a lot. In the eight seasons, she says fuck 996 times. Check count yourself.
In addition to world-class acting performances, the plot has a drive that helps build tension, with many twists and surprises. If you like that kind of thing. I do it. If one were to hypothetically criticize something, it could be that the action tends to be somewhat repetitive. Basically every season features a main bad guy that Dexter is chasing. However, the many interesting side stories and complications make it work. Shit, in the first season, Dexter and his wife Rita watch the movie Terms of Endearment with actor John Lithgow. In season four, Lithgow then appears as a character in the series. Another cool thing is when the Doublemeat Palace restaurant comes up at one point. Doublemeat Palace is a fictional restaurant chain from Buffy the vampire slayer.
Can you kill with humor?
There is also a good balance between dark humor and seriousness in Dexter. Dexter is a dark character and his actions are often horrific, but the show also has a unique ability to make it fun to watch. This makes it easier to identify with Dexter, even if he does unpleasant things. His boat, which he often uses to dump dismembered people into the sea, is named the slice of life. A recurring theme is Dexter’s inner intense emotional and psychological battles as he struggles to balance both lives and keep his secrets safe. The series is not for everyone, but if you are interested in morality, justice and the darker side of humanity packaged in a unique and creative story, it is pure self-harming behavior not to be moved to Dexter and his dark world. Can’t watch all the seasons? In any case, watch until the last episode of season four. Then Dexter peaks, although later seasons are also worth watching. Unfortunately, Dexter is mostly filmed in California and not Miami where it takes place.
Fun fact: Dexter often uses different aliases when he does different things. He sometimes borrows the names of them from the books of author Brett Easton Ellis. Patrick Bateman is one of the names he uses.
Man of recaps has done a really good recap of the eight seasons in the video below.