Dexter: Season 6 (DVD)

I was a big fan of Michael C. Hall when he was in "Six Feet Under." As David Fisher, the homosexual brother to Nate (Peter Krause), he brought an enormous amount of depth to the character. When I heard he was going to be starring in a new series for Showtime, I couldn't wait for the eventual DVD release (I don’t have Showtime!!). Even more intriguing was the fact that in this new series, "Dexter", he was going to play a serial killer. But not just any serial killer…. he is an expert on blood spatter patterns for Miami's finest by day, and killer of killers by night.

The premise of "Dexter" was a fascinating one, sure to elicit interesting conversations and differences of opinion between those who watched it. I'll give you a good example. The series promoted the character as one who has a need to fulfill a bloodlust, yet channels it to do 'good' by ridding our society of those murderers who slip through the cracks of the criminal justice system.

He kills killers of children, women and the innocent. There is no doubt that those he sends to the great beyond are deserving of their fate. And there lies the dichotomy. Should we applaud someone who acts as a vigilante and kills those who kill? Personally, I do. As long as there is 100% certainties of their guilt… 'off' them.

I now that sounds harsh, but think about it realistically. If you have some guy (or woman for that matter) killing children and getting away with it, wouldn't you rather have that person DEAD, than continuing to run around killing more children? It makes perfect sense to me. It's the same as legal execution; the only difference is the lack of lawyers involved.

That said, "Dexter" took this train of thought and turned it on its ear. Dexter wasn't just a guy that killed killers. He was deep down and empty shell of a person trying to find meaning in his life. He spends his days working and hanging with friends and family, playing the part of a normal everyday Joe. That's the key right there, he's playing the part of the normal Joe. His feelings don’t exist, they are simply a mask. The only thing that makes him ‘feel’ anything is blood… or rather the spilling of it. He channels that into both his day job, and his nights.

My wife and I made it through the original 12 episodes of "Dexter" when they were released on DVD a few years back in two days. Not so much because we had the time, but because the show was so damn good. Taking the lead, Michael C. Hall ran with it and was barely recognizable from his role on "Six Feet Under." A character like Dexter needed to be multi-dimensional in order to make the show work, and Hall was amazingly adept at delivering this. At any given time, you know that Dexter is showing one face on the outside while wearing his real face underneath and you see this in almost every frame he's in. Plus, the first season's powerful story arc took him to places psychologically that no one, least of all a psychotic, should go. There was an actual development of the character that you saw from episode to episode, and Hall was able to show these changes with little more than a glance or quiet line delivery.

The other thing I really enjoyed about the series was that the other characters populating Dexter's world were given the opportunity to tell their stories within his. You became as emotionally attached to these other characters as much as Dexter… wasn't. Leading the way was Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan, Dexter's step-sister. She is also a member of the Miami Police, having only recently found her way into the homicide department. Debra lives in the shadow of her deceased father (James Remar), who was a hero in the police department, as well as the one man who understood Dexter best, knew his secrets and taught him how to channel them. Carpenter is excellent in the role and the rapport between her and Hall is perfect in that sibling sort of way, even when they don’t see eye to eye.

I was also very pleased to see Julie Benz in the series as Rita, the 'damaged' woman whom Dexter has a relationship with. Or rather puts up the pretense of having a relationship with in order to appear normal. Rita is the mother of two children and unfortunately the wife of a convicted, wife beating crack addict. At the show's beginning he is still in jail, but was released during the first season. That story arc, which ran in conjunction with the show's main one, made for a powerful addition to the show's dynamic. Plus the events of that plot became pivotal to the second season.

The 2nd season of “Dexter” topped the first, a feat that I did not consider a simple one. The storyline and the great possibility of Dexter’s nocturnal proclivities being discovered were at the edge of every episode. Once again we were drawn totally into Dexter’s world and blown away by the superb writing and acting. Watching Dexter as he danced around someone even more psychotic than he was wonderful, and the fact that the season did not leave off on a cliffhanger was a breath of fresh air.

In the 3rd season, the writers once again topped themselves with a season full of revelations and innovations. Dexter had become even closer to Rita and her kids, which creates yet another dichotomy of feelings as I watch. I know that he is certifiably insane, and whether or not I agree with his secret activities (I still do) I am both happy for him that he may become the focal point of a family that really needs someone… but worried about the aftermath if his secrets come out. But that season took this ‘relationship’ even further as both Dexter and Rita face the possibility of there being a product of their affections. (Read between the lines.) Not to mention that Dexter might have found his first true friend in the form of Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado, played brilliantly by Jimmy Smits (the guy should have gotten an Emmy). He accidentally learned of Dexter’s secret, though not ALL of them, and his reaction is far from what you might expect. This third season was intensely written and a sure sign that the fourth season should not be any less.

As this review has already gone on too long, I will only breeze through the 4th and 5th seasons, though both deserve to be written about extensively. The 4th season gave us John Lithgow, who has the ability to play ANY role, killer or comic, and pull it off perfectly. As the Trinity Killer, he is at his creepiest and I love every minute of screen time he gets. His interactions with Dexter are amazing, leaving all other aspects of the season behind. Not to say the rest of the season isn’t good, as a matter of fact it is great. Dexter is now a daddy, is losing more sleep than ever and has to deal with his sister’s increasingly screwed up life. It is an incredibly strong season, but it is not for the faint of heart. And no matter how much preparation you think you have for what happens… trust me… you don’t.

The 5th introduced us to Lumen Pierce (Julia Stiles), a woman who barely escapes the clutches of a serial killer and now carries the need for vengeance. She and Dexter strike an interesting bargain as the hunt for this new killer begins.  I’m not a very big fan of Stiles, but she was superb in her role in this season.

And now… finally… the release of the 6th season.  Easily the most powerful and shocking season to date. Dexter is pitted against the Doomsday Killer, played with an earnest sense of both passion and pathos by Colin Hanks. It is a highly disturbing role and one that I never expected from this fine actor. He is aided, or rather led, by his college professor, played brilliantly by Edwards James Olmos. There are so many subplots threading through this season, even one that re-introduces us to the Trinity Killer, in manner of fashion. Every episode is a nail-biter, and it closes with the second single most shocking ‘cliff-hanger’ ever.  

The 6th Season DVD set comes complete with all 12 episodes, as well as interviews with most of the major cast. They also include some episodes from another show “House of Lies” and e-bridge technology that allows you to access episodes of “Californication” and “The Borgias.”  Though I have to admit the use this technology still evades me. It has been available on other sets, but I am still unsure of how to access them. But since they are only linking me to episodes from other shows, I’d rather forgo the technology and just check out the home releases of those shows.

"Dexter" is an excellent show, a dark comedy of gigantic proportions. Expertly written and acted, I highly recommend it to anyone (except kids…)

Episodes:

Those Kinds of Things

Once Upon a Time…

Smokey and the Bandit

A Horse of a Different Color

The Angel of Death

Just Let Go

Nebraska

Sins of Omission

Get Gellar

Ricochet Rabbit

Talk to the Hand

This is the Way the World Ends

 

Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, James Remar, Lauren Velez, Colin Hanks, Edward James Olmos

Extras: Interviews with Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, Lauren Velez, C.S. Lee, Colin Hanks, and Desmond Harrington; First Two Episodes of “House of Lies”; First Two Episodes of the Fifth Season of “Californication” (via E-Bridge Technology); First Two Episodes of the Second Season of “The Borgias” (via E-Bridge Technology)

Studio: Paramount

Release Date: 8/14/2012

MPAA Rating: NR

http://www.paramount.com/homeentertainment

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