Dexter: Season Three
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Dexter: Season Three

Blu-ray

DVD

A few years ago I was chatting with a friend about the then new television lineup. I had just begun watching a new drama on Showtime that completely blew me away. When I told my friend about the new series his initial reaction was one of disbelief. You see the hero of the show is a serial killer. The series, of course, is ‘Dexter’ and as it prepares to enter its fourth season remains one of the most exciting, fresh and well crafted series on TV. It is generally true that serial killers typically re used as a plot device to introduce a believable sort of monster into the story. Supernatural killers like ‘Freddie’ or ‘Jason ‘are great to scare an audience on a visceral level but it requires an ability to suspend disbelief for the viewers to get into the premise. Serial killers have been around in real life for ages and have been a popular evil archetype since ‘Jack the Ripper’ roamed the dark streets of London over a century ago. The fact that such heinous creatures really exist is enough to make anyone shudder in fright. That was how serial killers were always depicted until Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) came along. If you happened to pass him on the street on day you might exchange smiles thinking him to be a pleasant young man with a nice, sunny personality; you would be incorrect. Make no mistake about it Dexter is a psychopath; incapable of any human emotion. When he kills it is no more to him than when a normal person swats a mosquito. The one possible redemptive aspect about Dexter his internal code of conduct, the Code of Harry’ which facilitates his emulation of normal social behavior and ensures all of his kills benefit society. In order to make such a dark an unusual premise work the series has to assemble the greatest talent possible on both sides of the camera. Fortunately for people who appreciate quality this series excels in this arena. Now the third season is out on both Blu-ray and standard DVD.

The show is based on the Dexter series of novels by Jeff Lindsay and it should be noted for fans of the books the story lines on TV are inspired by the literary works but do not follow them to the letter. In this case it’s acceptable since the spirit of the premise comes across loud and clear. Dexter is, to all outward appearance a clean cut, nice guy. He works as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami-Dade Police force. Working in the same department is his adoptive sister Debbie (Jennifer Carpenter). She is work hard towards earning her detective’s gold shield and is known for chain smoking, hard drinking, cursing young woman with extremely bad taste in men. As this season starts Debbie is trying to clean up her by quitting all her vices with the possible exception of her foul choice of vocabulary. This season opens shortly after the conclusion of the previous one. Dexter is unable to have real emotions but it does seem that life is beginning to look up for him. He has a stable relationship with his girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz). The sex has been incredible lately and Dexter is seen as a father figure by Rita’s kids; Astor (Christina Robinson) and Cody (Preston Bailey). The author of the code that guides Dexter is his adoptive father Harry (James Remar). He was a police officer who when he discovered Dexter’s deadly proclivities decided it would be more successful to redirect the serial killer impulses rather than attempting a cure. Dexter id reaching the point of questioning the code of Harry having found out the father he practically worshiped was having an affair with Dexter’s biological mother. This rebellion of against the code is brought to the fore when a routine kill goes horribly wrong. Dexter was going after a drug dealer who got away with the brutal murder of two young women. While there Dexter stumbled across another man killing him. This is the first time Dexter killed outside the parameters of the code. It turns out that his victim was the brother of an aggressive and popular assistant district attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits). Prado begins to insinuate himself into Dexter’s life eventually discovering his secret. Worse than that he becomes insistent on becoming Dexter’s apprentice and partner in dispatching criminals he can’t touch in the courtroom.

The series typically balances a season arch theme with secondary plot lines that are interwoven throughout the season is the father-son relationship. As Dexter struggles with his late father he watches Rita’s son bonding with him as father figure. This is intensified as Dexter discovers Rita is pregnant and he proposes to her. Dexter also is forced to move on from being Harry’s devoted student to Prado’s mentor. Unfortunately, the lawyer has a tendency towards being reckless and impulsive basically playing out the teen rebellion that Dexter never had the chance to experience. The old debate of nature versus nurture becomes a concern as Dexter worries about just what traits he will pass down to his child. In all this season is riveting, leaving you clamoring for more.

If at all possible get this season set in Blu-ray. The details in the video are simply incredible and help to bring out the nuances of the amazing performance of Mr. Hall. He has such a remarkable control over his facial expressions that in high def you can watch as the muscles of his face adjust as Dexter puts on his human facial disguise. The Dolby HD lossless audio is fantastic; this is especially noticeable with the Cuban incidental music heavy on the bass and pounding percussion. This is one of the most captivating and intriguing series to come along in a very long time.

Posted 08/01/09

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