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Dexter - Season Two (DVD)
Member Name: ms_memory
Dexter - Season Two (DVD)
Advantages: Thoroughly gripping, exciting, funny drama
Disadvantages: A certain actress who's more gruesome than the murder scenes themselves
** I always try to avoid putting spoilers in DVD reviews. However, this review contains some information about Dexter Season One, so if you've not seen the first season and plan to, then you probably shouldn't read any further! Oh, and this is a programme-only review **
** Synopsis **
Dexter's back! Florida's favourite serial-killer-serial-killer is still a Miami Metro police forensics expert by day and a dark avenger by night, cleaning up the city's trash with his bag of surgical instruments and reams of duct tape. Season Two (made in 2007) carries straight on from Season One.
With the Ice Truck Killer case still a recent and painful memory for the Miami Metro Police, and especially for Dexter and his policewoman sister Deb, another large-scale murder investigation is launched after divers discover a cache of dismembered bodies on the ocean floor off the Miami coast, which are all attributable to the same killer, nicknamed the Bay Harbor Butcher. This time the case is so high-profile that the FBI are called in to assist, and Dexter finds himself increasingly out of his depth, making his troubles in Season One seem a mere trifle. This time it looks as if it's just a matter of time before our hero's murderous secret will be revealed. As if that weren't bad enough, Dex has relationship problems, two stalkers and even more shocking family secrets to contend with. Meanwhile Deb is haunted by her brush with death in Season One but manages to take her mind off it by concentrating on her burgeoning career and, of course, new men.
** My opinion **
If I start by saying that I watched all 12 1-hour episodes in less than a week, I think that will convey just how gripping this series is. This is one of the cleverest, most thrilling crime dramas I have seen in a long time, and Season Two had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
I didn't think the plot could be more exciting than that of Season One, but the writers managed to make this season even more shocking and full of twists, while not forgetting to add a large dose of humour to the mix (this mainly stems from the sharp contrast between Dexter's public and private lives). The action is a little less routine than Season One, which had Dexter killing someone is almost every episode in the same ritualistic way - this time round he is forced to be a little more inventive as new events require his to act more quickly and think on his feet. Every episode brings new dangers with it and the tension is almost unbearable at some points - after some episodes I was literally unable to sleep until I had seen the next one.
Michael C Hall continues to pull off the all-important pivotal role with absolute virtuosity and the camaraderie and chemistry with his actor colleagues, particularly Jennifer Carpenter (who plays Debs) and David Zayas (who plays Detective Angel Batista) is plain to see. I was also pleased to see a new young actor playing Dexter's girlfriend Rita's son Cody; since her children are in every episode it's good to have child actors that aren't completely wooden. I was also greatly impressed by the performances of Erik King (Sgt. Doakes) and Lauren Velez (Lt. Laguerta), who are very believable in their roles. The addition of Special Agent Lundy, a detective called in to lead the Bay Harbour Butcher investigation, is a good way to keep the Miami Metro police's team dynamic fresh, and it also adds a twist on the station's internal politics, which form heir own sub-plot.
So were there any bad points? Well, yes. The plot really is far-fetched, and while I don't mind that too much, there were a few moments where I thought the characters wouldn't really behave in that way e.g. not locking their cars, being careless with keys/ weapons etc. - some things seemed a little contrived. These aren't big things on their own but when considered as a whole they weaken the tightness of the writing, in my opinion. The actress who plays Rita looked as though she might have had too much facial surgery since the previous season, which I found quite distracting, especially when she had one eyebrow way higher than the other on an immobile forehead. It confused me as she looked worn out and sad in most scenes, even when she wasn't supposed to be.
By far he worst thing about this series was the addition of the British actress Jaime Murray, playing the enigmatic character of Lila. While she's not supposed to be a very sympathetic character, I found Murray's gruesome portrayal (accent wavering between Lady Diana and Lily Allen, constant pouting, faux-dramatic pauses, heavy breathing and talking through her teeth) so off-putting that I almost considered stopping watching it early into the series.
I'm glad I persevered, though. In spite of the few annoyances mentioned above, I think this is a brilliantly clever, witty and entertaining series, with some of America's best current television actors.
Summary: A little far-fetched, but fantastically entertaining
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