I suppose looking in from the outside, it might seem horrifying that our culture has become so obsessed with serial killers that we even have a hit TV show about one who ritualistically murders folks while being the romantic lead as well. Hey, I feel less guilty for liking “Dexter”
than all the rest of you should for watching “American Idol”
. My new hero only murders murderers. “Idol”
has been brutally savaging for years, without a shred of mercy, good taste in music.
But enough of my snobbery. If you read my review
for Season two (so I’m a fan, so sue me) you already know the setup. But I GUESS I’ll go over the basics again. Dexter
is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police department. He has a single mom girlfriend named Rita
) and a sister (Jennifer Carpenter
) who is an officer herself. In his spare time, he uses the department’s resources to track down murderers who have gotten through cracks in the system, and murders them in turn. Then he washes up and goes home to play with Rita
’s kids. He is the last guy anyone who knows him would ever suspect is deeply and darkly driven to murder consistently, and that’s because he’s very good at what he does. This is also why Beau
In season three, the series introduces a close friend for Dex
, a first for the series. The always amazing Jimmy Smits
plays Assistant DA Miguel Prado
, a big name around town who attaches himself to Dex
when he stumbles across Dexter
killing the fugitive he believes killed his brother. Only Dex
killed his brother. Now Miguel
wants to be taken under Dexter
’s wing and taught how to kill the scumbags the legal system lets go. Even though Dexter
is immensely pleased to have a friend and even a protégé, Miguel
isn’t exactly what he presents himself to be. As Dexter
’s daydream conversations with his dead father (James Remar
) warn him, he may have created a monster he can’t control.
I was worried about this season because I felt that season two, as entertaining as it was, suffered from some very irritating female characters. This has been the weak point for the show since the beginning; it’s because the women are all written as either irrational or crazy. This time around Dex
’s sister is toned down a little and most importantly, the Rita
and her kids stories take place more in the background. At the beginning of the season we discover that Rita
is pregnant with Dexter
’s baby and Dexter
doesn’t have a clue what to do. Eventually, he figures out the right way to propose marriage and then to deal with the stress of dealing with a hormone-stressed fiancé with the impending ‘before-I-start-to-show’
rush wedding. Even through all of this, the creators of the show chose wisely to keep Rita
, when she’s freaking, regulated to the background.
The strength of this season lies in the relationship between Dexter
, which gets edge of your seat towards the end. It’s hard not to like Miguel
and root for their friendship but in the end, you know that Dex
is meant to be alone and if it comes down to a showdown between the two men, you know who your money is on. Like in the two seasons before it, this is really about Dexter
learning and evolving what he does/is and he learns it this time through his complex and eventually troubled relationship with Miguel
So, to be clear, if you’re going to pick just ONE murderous anti-hero show that’s still on the air right now to watch, I’m going to have to insist it be “Dexter”
. This season proved that the writers are on the right track and I can only imagine what next season will hold when it starts on September 27th on Showtime. I mean, he’s gonna have a baby. Or as I saw in the ads for it littering comic-con this year...
If any show can pull it off, it’s this one.
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