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December 22, 2014

Dexter -- An early look

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Aug 22nd 2006 10:06AM

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan

The Premise: Michael C. Hall (of Six Feet Under fame) plays Dexter Morgan, a forensic investigator and blood-spatter analyst for the Miami-Dade Police Department. But that's only his day job. Beneath his chipper attitude is a dark secret, one that harbors his disgust for those who do wrong. When he isn't investigating a murder for the boys in blue, Dexter takes matters into his own hands. An efficient killer, he hunts down and brutally murders the horrible people (child molesters, rapists, other serial killers) that actually deserve to die. When he isn't chopping up his latest victim, Dex deals with the rest of his mundane life: mentoring a sister who's also a cop, fending off sexual advances from his boss, and trying to figure out a girlfriend who he doesn't really want to sleep with.

My Thoughts: 9 out of 10. This show is legit, well-worth watching. The only reason I'm holding back that last star is because the screener DVD I received only had the pilot episode and I suppose it's possible that the show could go downhill after that. But I wouldn't bet on it. For those of you still cursing out Showtime for canceling Huff, and I'm one of them, believe me when I say that Dexter may well make up for it and then some.

I suppose the one thing I'm going to have trouble adjusting to is Michael C. Hall in a new role. I'm so used to seeing him as David Fisher, so that if I close my eyes, that's the character I see. A gay funeral director. Not a slick sociopath wielding a knife. That being said, I know after a few episodes viewers will adjust just fine. Hall is spectacular in this role as he moves in an out of personas, from lovable co-worker, to nervous lover, to stone-faced killer. He's good. One scene in particular jumps to mind as Dexter moves through a crime scene and describes the blood patterns as if he were giving you a tour through The Louvre. It's disturbing that you find yourself enthralled with his grotesque explanations, but you do.

The supporting cast is very well assembled, and that reminded me a lot of Huff, in the sense that the minor characters stole a few scenes from Dexter. Look for some great performances from David Zayas as Detective Angel Batista and from Eric King as Sergeant Doakes. Showtime definitely knows what they're doing when it comes to the supporting role department.

The cinematography and lighting grabbed me too. Daylight scenes were very CSI: Miami-ish, but not quite as orange. Scenes at night were heavily diluted in blacks, whites, and reds. But I'm sure you can imagine what happens at night, so those shades are par for the course.

Also worth noting were the handful of flashback scenes, to Dexter as a child. I think audiences will really find themselves attached to the character as they see him interacting with his foster father. But that's the whole point according to Showtime President Robert Greenblatt: "Dexter is the unusual exploration into the mind of a sociopathic killer - whom, in spite of his vigilante justice, the audience will find incredibly sympathetic and charismatic."

Another thing that has me excited is the source material. The show is based on the title character in two novels by Jeff Lindsay, Dearly Devoted Dexter and Darkly Dreaming Dexter. With two books to pull ideas from, the writers and producers of Dexter will hopefully be able to craft some pretty intense episodes, especially once original ideas are thrown into the mix.

Dexter premieres on Showtime on Sunday, October 1st.

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Sharon

Showtime had a free preview weekend, and I watched Dexter -- having seen all of the 'critics call it the best show on TV this fall' advertisements.

Wow. My husband and I were shocked and appalled. A TV show about a serial killer. The 'TV critics' who think this is great must be real sick puppies.

Not worth the price (free) I paid to watch it. (And Weeds was also terrible and raunchy and tacky -- the free sample of Showtime convinced me that I am far too civilized to ever consider subscribing to Showtime.)

October 10 2006 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

I just saw the show premiere and the writing, acting, and cinematography are brilliant. They even managed to capture the Miami scene quite convincingly (I'm in South Beach).
My only regret is that some of the violence is pretty extreme, so my wife can't enjoy it with me. Hall is amazing at creating a serial killer that the viewer kind of wants to identify with, while at the same time being freaked by his alien nature.
The flashbacks to his childhood are very powerful and compelling in explaining his current life, while still keeping him mostly a mystery.

It is interesting to see his life as a metaphor for the current political scene, where the US is drawn into doing many of the things that we have defined our enemies by. Battlestar Galactica is also good that way, with equally good writing IMHO.

October 07 2006 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nancy Walker

Integrity disclaimer: I have not read the above-mentioned books, I am unfamiliar with this actor, I do not subscribe to Showtime and I will not be watching this show. However, I do ride the NYC subways where the ads for this series are currently being displayed. A scruffy guy stares quizzically into the camera and a dead person's arm with bloody fingernails is either draped over his shoulder or "cutely" caresses his face as though it were the scruffy guy's own arm/hand. These graphics are disturbing precisely because they are so nonchalant. Fellow travelers told me that they thought the posters were gross and that they couldn't look at them. Some confessed to having to leave the subway car in order to avoid them. When I was told what the premise for the show was, I have to admit that I was appalled. Vigilante or no, why would I want to root for a hero who is a serial killer in his "free time"? Way to go, Showtime-- you're 21st century proof that H.L. Mencken was right: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." It will probably be a hit.

October 07 2006 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat

The terrible thing that happened in Colorodo is far from the Miami lights and dark story of Dexter. We should look at how our own country takes the lives of others, not only within prison walls, but overseas. I see this show as a platform for discussing issues of morality and justice, and we all know we need it.

October 04 2006 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

After waiting anxiously for "Dexter" and being a huge fan of Six Feet Under, I was extremely disappointed with the writing and the acting, at least in the pilot. It had none of the delicious dark humor that Six Feet Under had (in the first few seasons) and the writing left nothing for us to connect-the-dots of the plot. Everything was overdone and obvious. It was as if the writers purpously went overboard to make sure we understood every tiny nuance of the show. I am about as big a Michael C. Hall fan as you can get, but he seemed to overact in this show. His facial expressions were overdone and maybe I just kept thinking about his character in Six Feet, but I was really super let down. Too bad, I was looking forward to Dexter...I will give it one more episode to produce a show aiming for a higher average audience IQ.

October 04 2006 at 12:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
praev

To #5. Did you READ the show's premise? Dexter is killing murderers, rapists, other "bad" people. It doesn't glamorize serial killers who prey on the innocent. You're comparison to Dexter and rapists is completely not applicable to the show's premise. It's a show about vigilante justice. There exists a debatable moral gray area of killing the killers. Though I agree that it does walk a fine line. BUT there exists a gray area, its not as black and white as you paint it to be. LEARN2Read before you judge.

October 02 2006 at 2:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Irene

of course, the horribleness of glamorizing a serial killer in the first place, and the immorality of the concept, doesn't seem to be play a part of any of your discussions. Who made Showtime God and the final word on who "deserves to die" anyway? The IQ of this country is sinking fast...I know! What about a show, on Showtime or HBO of course, about a "confused" rapist who decides to relieve his frustration about his misunderstood past by taking a group of girls in a small high school in Colorado hostage....stop being sheep and think, people!!! A life not reflected upon is not worth living...or is doomed to being broadcast on cable, at least.

September 28 2006 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steph

This is excellent! I adored the first two books, and was looking for more. Will this show be eventualy broadcast in Australia? I can only hope. If not, I hope it will be made into some kind of DVD collection.

August 29 2006 at 7:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew

This is my most anticipated show. It makes up for HBO not really having anything new.

August 24 2006 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kesey

Way to work some amazon referral money in there for yourself.

August 23 2006 at 8:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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