‘Takes life. Seriously.’
Ongoing Series – Showtime U.S. (2006-)
Michael C. Hall / Jennifer Carpenter / Julie Benz / Lauren Vélez / Erik King / David Zayas / James Remar / Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay / Screenplay Jeff Lindsay & James Manos. Jr. / Cinematography Romeo Torone / Producer Daniel Cerone / Initial Director Michael Cuesta
‘Not another bloody Serial Killer’.. well, surprisingly this one’s pretty damned good. There’s been some interesting new creatures emerging from American TV in recent years, Hugh Laurie’s refreshing acerbically sarcastic Dr.House, James Gandolfini’sTony Soprano and now Michael C. Hall’s vigilante ‘serial killer who kills serial killers’ Dexter Morgan. It’s taken a long time to talk the viewing public (and more importantly, the network bosses) into entertaining such dark fare (well, dark for American Tv anyway). The last time we had a series with a villain for a hero was probably the short lived American Gothic, but there’s a clear line of descent down from Demme’s Silence of the Lambs, into Lynch’s Twin Peaks, spawning Mark Frost’s X-Files (sidestepping somewhat with Northern Exposure and Wild Palms) – before mutating into the CSI franchise and neatly coming full circle back to S of the Lambs territory with Dextor. Quite directly in fact.. at the close of S of the Lambs we see Hannibal blending into anonymity among the namless crowds of the murky Bahamas to ‘Have an old friend for dinner’.. cruising through a vice ridden Miami as the series opens, Dexter hardly misses a beat in comparison. The rather lovely twist on matters comes not only with Dexter’s profession as blood pattern analyst with the Miami Police Department, but more to the point with his targeting of other Serial Killers for his victims. Herein lies the secret of the shows success – as with the odd duality in our relationship with Lecter, this Dexter may be a vicious killer, but his victims all pretty much deserve their grim fates.. Dexter merely takes out the ‘garbage’.
‘My name is Dexter. Dexter Morgan. I don’t know what made me the way I am, but whatever it was, left a hollow place inside. People fake alot of human interactions, but I feel like I fake them all..and i fake them very well, and that’s my burden I guess. Well, I blame my foster parents for that. Harry & Doris Morgan did a wonderful job raising me..but they’re both dead now, I didn’t kill them..honest.’
‘Tonight’s the night, and it’s gonna happen again and again.. it has to happen. Nice night. Miami is a great town. I love the cuban food. Pork sandwiches, my favourite. But I’m hungry for something different now.’
The cinematography is a little slick and shiny, but then this is glossy American Tv, so to a certain extent that’s to be expected, but on the whole things work pretty well, and there’s enough grubbiness and distaste thrown into the blend to keep the viewers on their collective toes. The script too has it’s simplistic, almost trite moments.. but Michael C. Hall delivers his internal monologue with a beautiful air of calm plodding, that’s remarkably effective. Dexter’s eager for promotion Cop sister Debra (played by the very appealing Jennifer Carpenter) and recovering rape-victim girlfriend Rita Bennett (a surprisingly demure Julie Benz, who surfaces in the new Rambo) both test and confound his humanity & inhumanity in equal measure, and suspicious cop Sergeant Doakes (Erik King) keeps a dangerous eye on our anti-hero. We get flashback’s to Dexter’s childhood with his loving and accepting stepfather, but the trauma that is hinted at remains ellusive. But as we all know with these matters, the less we know the better, and the day Dexter’s past is explored, marks the death knell of the series. Till then, enjoy the ride.
STILLS & PROMOS