Dexter (2006 – 2013)

Drunk on the thirst for blood, the untraditional protagonist that is Dexter Morgan is a loveable rogue whom you will love from the start. Alas, he will encounter various obstacles across the course of time that test your loyalty to Dexter and his to those around him. As a viewer you are thrown into the front seat of this dramatic, murderous, lustful and hilarious car crash.

Sprung into the mind of a killer. You instantly sympathise and put yourself into the blood soaked shoes of Dexter; finding yourself on the edge of your seat, or bed if you watched this on Netflix like I did. Netflix and chill? More like Netflix and kill.

Dexter (Played by Michael C. Hall), a blood-spatter analyst for Miami Metro police uses his profession as a source of finding the bad, the twisted and the ugly. Adopted from birth and born into blood, he is headed down an inevitable dark path. Accompanied by other characters such as Batista (David Zayas), a love-ridden Cuban who replenishes the happiness in the audience’s hearts and restores a narrational balance. Another main character who has an ever-changing relationship with the audience is Deb, sister of Dexter. Who is placed within the narrative as a catalyst in the murder chase and causes a lot of frustration to Dexter and audience on more than one occasion.

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From Left: Joey (Quinn), Harry, Deb, Dexter, Angel (Batista) and Vince (Masuka)

These are what I would describe as the triangular character support the story needs to remain standing and move forward. Throughout the course of time, many characters come and go, some more important and frequently than other but if anything, we are presented with too many characters for us to handle. Leading to “Who’s that again?”, “What is it they did?” and my personal favourite “Do we like them now? I can’t remember.”

Initially I had expected to get very bored with what seemed to be presented as a very structured murder drama. How wrong I was! Each series takes a darker, twisted and more complex dive into the mind of a modern killer. Presenting the audience with the problems a killer can face in the real world and in his mind.

We are given are further insight into the life and mind of a killer due to the fact it is narrated by Dexter, allowing us to understand his thoughts and side with him despite his actions being morally and legally wrong. Or are they? Dexter bases his murderous plots on a ‘code’ which only allows him to kill those who bring wrongness into the world. Effectively making him a justifiable world-cleansing machine.

Still not convinced? Well a numerous selection of flashbacks drip-fed to you will soon see to that. Varying from infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, each segment presents the audience with fresh information and offers the viewer an in-depth contextual background. These continue all the way until the end of Dexter’s story. For me this was one of the strongest aspects of the entire seven year campaign, as it showed the intellectual and clearly thought out writing of James Manos Jr.

So, through the complexity of the addiction-fuelling narrative, the audience becomes hooked. Dexter often closes on an anger-infusing cliffhanger that makes me thankful that I did not have to wait a week or sometimes a year to find out what happened.

The cinematography is both visually impressive and very symbolic, bringing the spectacle that once only cinemas could produce, to the home screen. One shot in particular showed several reflections of Dexter representing the multiple lives he leads and his split personality.  It is cinematics such as these that cause such an audience response from television programs.

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Source: Dexter, Showtime, S4E11

However, much like the cinematic show that was Lost (2004), Dexter lost a lot of credibility amongst fans when the ending was finally revealed. It’s not as if the ending was a poor decision, it’s a hard concept to conclude. Particularly if the fans are to be happy with the ending yet be upset at the same time. In this instance neither is the case. Just anger and bitter disappointment. I spent the entire series trying to guess how it would end, who would survive, how could it possibly be concluded and in the end, it was wrapped up in the only it could have been. Yes, the ending could have been better executed but due to the incredibly contradictory protagonist at hand, meant that the writer and director were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Despite the disappointing ending it is thoroughly enjoyable and I would still highly recommend this series, it will put you through some tedious and tense moments and provide many laughs. Present you with some stunning cinematography and gripping story-lines.

Rating: 4.2/5

 

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6 thoughts on “Dexter (2006 – 2013)

  1. Wow sounds like the quality for you was maintained throughout the whole run of the series. I was a huge fan of Season 1 and stuck through until the end of Season 4. I enjoyed Season 2 a lot because of the character of Lila but I was disappointed about how easily Doakes was dispatched. The show for me just seemed to start repeating itself. Dexter finds himself in a situation he can’t possibly get out of but hey wouldn’t you know it. Season 3 finale is an excellent example of this. But I grant you Season 4’s opener with the car crash really did have me worried, Lithgow is a fantastic actor and I liked a lot of the plot in season 4. That finale was genuinely shocking too, right up there with Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. Suddenly there were serious consequences for Dexter after so many close calls. I heard great things about Julia Stiles in Season 5 but I just got around to seeing the rest. I know all about the finale. I think it makes sense in terms of consequences and that relationship having always been important to Dexter. But it’s too tragic for probably long term fans plus maybe they didn’t like where that relationship went beforehand too. How do you rate the latter seasons?

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    1. Yeah, Doakes is a classic example of a character that you hate to start with and end up liking but by then it’s too late. Yeah there is a lot of repetition in a sense but it is the drama and issues that surround it that kept it interesting for me. I certainly struggled at points to keep attentive as some points of the narrative did get quite dull, normally mid season but the powerful dramatic moments overpower that for me. At least it wasn’t as bad as Lost, same concept of cinematic TV but a lot less ridiculous!

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  2. You’ll certainly come from a more informed position again having put in the hard yards. I missed the last season of Lost. But always happy to read what you think. I suspect you’ll have a lot more fun writing about The Force Awakens though. 🙂

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    1. I can’t wait for that! I have my tickets booked already 🙂 My review will be on here and my twitter so that’s definitely something I’m looking forward to. I appreciate your interest! I have a big queue of games and films to write about at the moment but if I ever get the time to watch Lost I’ll write about it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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