Dexter is an amazing show. The premise is simple yet fascinating: a serial killer who kills other serial killers. Sort like an alpha male’s alpha male; an avenging angel’s wrath meant to bring justice to those criminals who slipped through the cracks of the justice system. The plot thickens when the viewer learns that our subject works as a blood splatter analyst for the police department and the morale code he chooses his kills by he learned from his father, a legendary policeman. I would go on with some of the fascinating tid-bits concerning this show but if I said anymore it would be spoiler territory. And trust me- on this show you do not want the best ruined for you. The pacing is great and always has something new in store.
One of the best pieces of praise which I can heap upon Dexter is how well each season is constructed. It may just be that the show is based off of a series of books (“Darkly Dreaming Dexter”) but every season comes with a new task which Dexter revolves his actions around. This kind of sub-plot is not told directly. The viewer must infer it. But underneath the veil one can clearly tell that each season has a plot anchor revolving around Dexter trying to better himself, to have a normal life while satisfying his murderous urges; these constructs tend to revolve around family: fatherhood, being a boyfriend, pleasing his sister, raising children and so on. Intertwined with a season antagonist (which may, or may not, be a foe at first) these sub-plots contribute towards a penultimate series finale which will not be fully understood unless these subtle components are perceived.
Other than how the story is told, the characters themselves are beautifully constructed. Though at the beginning of some seasons certain developments feel very forced and artificial, like they were only there to push the story in new directions, most of the time each character-major and minor- have believable actions and personalities which breathe life into what could have easily been a stilted stereotype. From episode one to the finale of season eight (the final season), the characters are dynamic creations who come to represent something more than a creative placeholder meant to move the plot forward or provide some bouts of comic relief. They evolve and enhance the story in unexpected ways while filling the protagonist with an interesting sense of progression when critically seen retrogressively.
This being said the show has very little in the way of missteps. Season seven slows down a bit. By this I mean the plots become a bit more redundant; Dexter’s interpersonal relations tired very quickly and it seemed as though the writers were running out of content. But even this must be seen in the context of season seven acting as a bridge, a sort of interlude, to season eight. So while the content can feel a bit stilted if you go into marathon mode, over all the pacing and content is packing a punch no matter where you start from.
So I cannot recommend Dexter enough for anyone who has a hankering for crime television. It is about murder and murderers, yes. But it is a tale of an anti-hero who, in our dark age of violence, takes on the kind of cape which is expectant of a psychopathic superhero. Built with compassion and directed with zeal, Dexter is a top program right up there with the best of the TV best. Is the content dark? You bet! But that is the best part… trust me.