Reviewed by: JimmyO
Michael C. Hall
What's it about
Dexter Morgan is a forensics expert for the Miami police department. He also happens to be a serial killer who preys on those who prey on others.
Is it good movie?
Michael C. Hall is one of the best actors working in television. From his wonderful work as David Fisher on Six Feet Under to his take on Dexter Morgan, the character based on the series of novels by Jeff Lindsey. At one moment he is devoid of anything resembling humanity, while the next he wears the façade very well. But what really stands out here is the man he portrays. This is a murderer, a cold and calculated killer who is just as brutal to his victims as they are to theirs. You see, Dexter is a serial killer who kills other deviants. Early on, when his father realizes what he is, he is taught that if he can't control the murderous feelings, he should use them on somebody that "deserves" it. A great idea, one which I never would have imagined I'd see on a weekly series. But Showtime seems to be playing to the horror crowd with this and Masters of Horror, yet Dexter is not a gore laden horror series, far from it. The kills on the series are few and far between but they create enough of an impact to shock those who would be offended by a show where the hero is a serial killer. In fact, nothing you see here is much more shocking than what you would see on CSI, but this show stands out because we are asked to root for Dex. Whenever a moral dilemma comes up on most television series, the characters will usually do the right thing. Yet, this is about someone who thrives on killing, he is what he hunts. And that is why it remains interesting.
Aside from Mr. Hall, we also get some strong performances from Julie Benz as Rita, Dexter's girlfriend. Much unlike what she did on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, she is a victim who was violently abused by her husband. And now she is involved in another unhealthy relationship, while both Dex and her have issues with intimacy, they are decidedly for very different reasons. I also enjoy the work of Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter's foster sister, who is also a cop but is not treated with the same respect as her brother and she seems to be trying to walk in her police officer foster dad’s shoes. A couple other stand-outs include Erik King as Sergeant Doakes, the only one on the police force to think our man Dexter is a bit odd. And Devon Grey as a teenage Dexter trying to figure out his psychotic tendencies with a strangely helpful father played beautifully by James Remar. This is a wonderfully cast series and it includes a couple horror fan favorites on the episode entitled “Popping Cherry”, I’m talking Amanda Wyss from Nightmare on Elm Street and Denise Crosby from Pet Semetary. This is a horror lover’s dream, with smarts.
This is the kind of television show that gets my ass up to grab the remote control to turn the TV on. I am not a big fan of the medium as of late aside from one or two other shows. It’s not that it is all bad, it just doesn’t grab me. Dexter does, because aside from the casting, there is some fantastic writing going on here. The constant voiceover narrative describing Dex’s view of humanity, of his girlfriend and all those that surround his life is intriguing… this is strong writing. There is something truly satisfying when an episodic can make you question your morality, and the whole principle of when is something justified and when it is not. And along with some great writing, this monster is directed with style and not in a quick cut, MTV fashion. The camera work tells the story and still manages to give us insight into Dearly Dreaming Dexter. We become part of his life, see things through his eyes and develop a sense of understanding for the flawed, gruesome world he lives in.
Video / Audio
Dexter may be the smartest show on television. Thank you Showtime for creating a world where we can look through the eye’s of a murderer. And thank you Michael C. Hall for making another flawed human being destructive, insecure and fascinating. This is not another David Fisher character, far from it. But it is an honest to goodness fictional character that is flesh and blood, although usually it's somebody else's blood. This is a bold show that is not afraid to make dark a light situation. The ensemble cast and the fine writing and directing make me want to order Showtime… or just wait for the DVD to come out. Either way, Dexter loves his work and so will you.