The last season of Dexter is upon us. I heard on the news that this will definitely be its last season.
For those who haven’t ever seen it, Dexter is a blood spatter analyst for Miami Metro Homicide by day, and by night (or otherwise) is a serial killer with a “code.”
At the age of three, Dexter’s mother was horribly and brutally murdered in front of him and, he feels, it has made him into the man he is. Blood sets his teeth on edge. He feels a NEED to kill. Adopted by a cop (Harry), Dexter is raised with his adoptive sister Debra but away from his biological brother Brian. Harry recognizes the darkness in Dexter and helps him to develop the code by which he lives and kills. Only those killers who have slipped through the cracks of the legal system, or who were acquitted only because of loopholes in the system are targeted by Dexter. He must properly “vet” the victim and be absolutely certain of that person’s guilt before he puts them on his kill table.
For as sinister as it may sound, Dexter is a likeable lab geek. He’s a bit odd. He is clearly obsessive-compulsive. He is neat. He is often funny in his geekiness. His self-talk is the most endearing part of him.
Dexter’s sister, Debra, is a foul-mouthed Miami cop working in vice, angling for a way to move over to Homicide. Debra-isms make her absolutely loveable for Dexter and for the viewing audience. When asked if she would “do” a certain cop she responds with “I’d rather put out a camp fire with my face.” When Dexter tells her his girlfriend is pregnant, Deb responds with “A baby? A motherfucking rolly-poly, chubby, cheeked, shit machine? Are you kidding me?” I believe that Debra’s purpose in the show is to provide comic relief to keep the viewer from going too deep into Dexter’s darkness.
I also believe that Dexter embodies some of our deepest, darkest thoughts. We find ourselves disliking characters in the show and thinking (or saying aloud), “Oh Dexter, you really need to put that asshole on your killing table!” But Dexter doesn’t kill just for the sake of killing and, as much as the viewers might want to see another character die by Dexter’s hand, we learn that maybe Dexter is a better human being than we are after all.
I have always likened Dexter to a modern day Pinocchio — he yearns to be human and, in the past 7 seasons we have watched him finally try to break the surface of humanity. He loves his son. At one point, he breaks down and prays (out of desperation) when his son has a bad case of appendicitis. We love Dexter — we can’t help ourselves.
My favorite season by far was the fourth — with the Trinity Killer (excellently played by John Lithgow) — in order of favorites, why and key protagonist:
- Season 4 — best developed plot and characters. We begin to see the humanity in Dexter (Arthur Mitchell, The Trinity Killer)
- Season 5 — Dexter finds more humanity in himself while helping Lumen. Lumen “sees” him and is not repulsed by him (Jordan Chase, Stan Liddy, Joey Quinn)
- Season 1 — we first meet Dexter and grow to love him quickly (Ice Truck Killer/Brian Moser)
- Season 2 — the manhunt is on for the Bay Harbor Butcher who is really Dexter (Sgt. Doakes, Lila “pardon my tits”Tournay)
- Season 3 — Dexter finds he is capable of a close friendship and opens himself up a little to his friend (The Skinner/George King, Miguel Prado)
- Season 6 — Dexter is picking up the pieces of his lost love after Lumen leaves, and keeping himself busy. (Doomsday Killer/Travis Marshall)
- Season 7 — Really didn’t like the direction this story has taken in this season. Debra finds out about Dexter and somehow the “innocence” of their brother/sister relationship seems irreparably harmed. BIG surprise at the end, though. (Isaak Sirko, Maria LaGuerta) Note: Isaak Sirko is a protagonist throughout the season but ends up not being a protagonist to Dexter.
I hate that Showtime runs these series for such short durations. Their most popular series are almost always the shortest lived. Queer as Folk lasted all of 5 seasons (it had “run its course” and they had touched on all the issues that they could). The L Word lasted 5 full seasons and then 6 episodes’ worth of a sixth season. A promised spinoff never surfaced. By the end of season 6 of Dexter, Showtime was threatening to pull the plug because they didn’t want to pay the major characters what they were worth but fan outrage, I believe, played a huge role in settling that little drama.
Of course, we can’t blame Showtime entirely. It’s possible that Michael C. Hall and his cast mates may need to move on, and out of the darkness in which they live while they’re working on Dexter.
I won’t make any predictions because my sister hasn’t finished watching seasons 5-7 (hurry up, will ya Tam?) other than to say that I think one of two things will happen:
1) Dexter will either get caught or killed and Deb will be left to raise Harrison; or
2) Dexter will finally rid himself of his Dark Passenger, realizing he had the power to do so all along.