TV Review - Dexter: Season 7

Dexter is caught by his sister
in the season 7 premiere of "Dexter"
A lot of people had a problem with the past two seasons of Dexter, especially last season, which had a twist that some didn't appreciate. I still found it compelling and well-written. The past two seasons were supposed to be life-changing for Dexter because Dexter became a father. If I had any criticism of the show, it would be that having a son seemed to have no effect on Dexter. Aside from being a slight inconvenience every now and then, having a son has made little difference in Dexter's life. For those who don't know, Dexter is a serial killer who only kills criminals, mostly other serial killers. Dexter also works at the Miami Metro Police Department with his sister and boss, Lieutenant Debra Morgan. While having a baby hasn't changed him, what happens this season, possibly the penultimate season, might do the trick. Pretty much every season since the first, Dexter has kept hidden his secret life as a serial killer, but every season, even in the first, someone has always learned the truth about who he is, and pretty much every season that someone ends up dead by the end of the year. The only exception was Lumen, played by Julia Stiles, but her character was eliminated in other ways. Last season, Dexter had to track and murder the Doomsday Killer who not only tried to take Dexter out but also all in Miami Metro. Dexter accomplishes this, but not before Debra catches him and learns the secret he and their father, Harry, have been hiding since Dexter was a teenager. Debra learns her brother is a serial killer. The question is if Debra is going to end up dead like all the others who have learned Dexter's secret or will this be what finally changes Dexter for the better.

What I Like about the show this season is that it's folding back on itself and is rewarding long-time viewers of the show by pulling on threads that go back and run through all of the past seasons, even back to the first. I won't say that this show is like Fringe where if you haven't been watching the past few seasons, you'll be lost jumping into Dexter now. Yet, watching the past few seasons, specifically the first, is extremely helpful. It's borderline a prerequisite, but still the initial episodes of this seventh season are good in a vacuum, if only for the performance of Jennifer Carpenter who plays Debra or "Deb." If this season is going to work, it's going to work only if you buy Deb's reactions and behavior. Even if you haven't seen her arc last season, what she did and revealed, Carpenter's performance is still effective. Just her stares at Dexter in certain scenes alone are quite powerful and moving.

Dexter continues to be the best police procedural on television, while dealing with the now evolving brother-sister relationship at its core. Its aesthetic continues to be one that is compelling. As it handles very dark and demented issues, it utilizes the bright and colorful locations of Miami, and Los Angeles, to excellent contrast. Despite other great procedurals like Law & Order and CSI, Dexter will concentrate on one case, spread out over a dozen episodes or so, whereas Law & Order will have its cops make an arrest and the court adjudicate those arrested all in one episode. Yet, the pacing of Dexter never feels slower. There's so much great character moments and rich individual revelations that always keep the show thrilling and the viewer on the edge of his or her seat.

The one case that is being spread out this season involves the murder of a cop by a Ukraine mobster. Dexter gets in the middle and causes even bigger problems. That, and a reoccurring character from last season, along with the issues with his sister are putting pressure on Dexter that he's never had before. Emmy nominee Michael C. Hall handles it all with his usual level of greatness. This is probably going to shape up to be the best season ever. Maybe second best being that the first season is still so monumentally excellent!

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-MA.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Airs Sundays at 9PM on Showtime.

Comments

  1. this show has had a hard time following up Season 4, and the final image it gave us, in general. And while I didn't have a huge problem with Season 5 and the character of Lumen like some fans did, I didn't like the way she conveniently left the show, leaving Dexter miraculously healed; guilt over Rita's death assuaged. Likewise, last year's 12-episode journey of "I'm afraid I'll raise my son to be a monster/I guess it's enough to just love my son" also felt like it was leaving us with no permanent or meaningful change to the series. But that all changed at the very last scene of the Season 6 finale when Deb caught Dexter in the act of stabbing Travis, freeing up the writers' room to dig in like never before.Season 7 was filled with surprises galore, and I can only hope that the next year's final run gives us as much macabre glory.

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