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Dexter - The First Season (DVD)
Member Name: magenta23
Dexter - The First Season (DVD)
Date: 18/10/09, updated on 18/10/09 (51 review reads)
Advantages: Amazing cast, plot(s), look..it's all great!
I was first drawn to Dexter, by the actor playing the lead, Michael C Hall whom I had liked when he starred in another of my favourite shows, Six Feet Under. Not content with the darkness if Six Feet Under, which is set in a funeral home, this time he stars as Dexter Morgan, a serial killer and blood spatter analyst.
Sounds a bit obscure doesn't it? Let's write a 12 episode series about the life of a blood spatter analyst. (Actually, they were based on the books by Jeff Lindsay, but still!) Well not really, for ages forensics have been a really big part of police type dramas both in the UK and Amercian programmes. I guess people who love things like Waking the Dead, or indeed Six Feet Under will like Dexter.
Dexter is set in Miami and follows Dexter at work for the Miami Police Dept Homicide Unit and off duty but often the two areas of his life cross over. Dexter had a troubled childhood that we learn more about, as does he, as series one progresses. His past experiences have turned him into a blood thirsty killer, but this isn't slasher type stuff. Dexter is organised and picks his victims very carefully, making sure the people he uses to quench his thirst for killing deserve it anyway. He's not the only killer in town though, at work his job is to help catch the other murderers, buy analysing the mess they leave behind. One such killer is the basis of the all the twists and turns in the story of this compelling first series, the 'Ice Truck' killer.
I won't expose why the killer is called this I'll let you watch. It's very hard to review this with out giving any of the game away. As an audience we unravel this case along with the characters in it and it's very hard not to try and work out what is going to happen next, thrillingly though, I never did and spent a vast amount of time watching this series, particularly towards the end with my mouth wide open in surprise at what had just been revealed. Not though, at the cleverness of the script, no, but at the cleverness at the antics of the killer. I got so involved in this, these people seemed real!!
The way the show is designed, I guess is the best word to use, is unusual. At first I have to admit, I wasn't sure I liked it. We watch the lives of Dexter, his sister, colleagues, girlfriend and indeed enemies like we do with many films and TV programmes, but we are also in the mind of Dexter who voices over his thoughts throughout. When you get into it a little it's easy to see why this is done and how it works. It makes the audience understand Dexter and be on his side, after all the serial killer in most films that have one, is the bad guy. If we as an audience didn't understand Dexter we wouldn't like him and it's crucial for the show to work for him to be our hero, not villain.
I guess this did work on me but I found myself willing him not to do things, because I liked him, knowing all that it was the things that he does that makes him the character I like in the first place. It's a clever way the show is done and hooks you in so as an audience you're with Dexter all the way making it really compelling viewing.
The cast, lead, as I've mentioned, by Michael C Hall as Dexter, are just superb. I'd not known any except him before, but have seen a few of them in other things since. Jennifer Carpenter (Michael C Hall's real life wife) plays Dexter's adopted sister Debra Morgan, my favourite character in the show. She's feisty bright and beautiful and desperate to get on in her job despite some opposition. Her love and admiration of Dexter, makes for a warming but at the same time uncomfortable relationship in the series, if only she knew what he was! Likewise with Dexter's girlfriend, Rita played by Julie Benz. She's the opposite of Debra, naïve girly and venerable, maybe that's why Dexter bonds with her. We see a little of his softer side with her, but not enough and it will be interesting to see how this relationship develops in further series. Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Velez who I've recently spotted in another favourite, Ugly Betty), Angel Batista (David Zayas) and James Doakes (Erik King) make up Dexter and Debra's colleagues in the police dept and work well as a great bunch to watch. Maybe a few 'good cop bad cop' clichés, but maybe it wouldn't work so well with out them.
Dexter is now amazingly into it's fourth series at the time of writing this review, it seems like only yesterday it was launched. I have some catching up to do! I just really hope after all those episodes it won't lose the bum on the edge of your seat magic for this amazing first series.
I really can't recommend this enough. Though, it's not for the faint hearted. It contains a lot of blood, but if you can stand that, it will reward you with a plot with so many twists and turns you'll get dizzy.
The first series box set is available for £12.99.
Summary: One of the best shows I've seen in a long time