This show about a serial killer knocking off serial killers seems to start every season bent on following the previous year’s format, before slitting open your expectations and showing you their guts.
So, in his third season, Dexter (the ever-exemplary, ever-chilling Michael C Hall) gets a new best friend (Jimmy Smits’ Miguel Prado) to share his secret with, providing a freshly squeegeed window into our own dark enjoyment of his cod-heroics.
Smits was last seen playing America’s first Hispanic President on utopian politics powerhouse The West Wing and he avoids TV typecasting by following that up with a turn as a morally bankrupt assistant DA with a growing taste for swift terminal justice.
And it’s that relationship between the two killers that flavours season three most strongly. Dexter’s friendship with Prado represents a violation of the dead dad code (kill those who deserve it, stay hidden).
Yet the series is clever enough for us to share Dexter’s deluded hope that maybe he has finally found an ally to share his burden, his mission. When Hall and Smits eventually butt heads as the friendship strains, their exchanges crackle with malignant, psychopathic chemistry.
The genius of this show lies in the unwillingness of producers, writers and actors to allow complacency, a facet explored in the sofa chat ‘Inside The Writers’ Room’ as the showrunners discuss the character.
“Dexter’s evolution is towards his own humanity but when he finally embraces that, it’s the end of the series,” says co-exec producer Melissa Rosenberg.
Luckily for them, Hall always keeps Dexter just appealing enough without blunting his steely edge, with this year’s dance with humanity including his beckoning marriage to Rita (Julie Benz) and fatherhood.
Can a serial killer have a family? It’s a question the show doesn’t shy away from and one that develops even further in season four...
Unfortunately, most of the 35 minutes of interviews on this release seem to have been conducted at the very beginning of the season so the cast don’t have much insight to share.
The brief documentary about how they make sunny LA look like sunny Miami (involving a surprising level of special effects) is more revealing, but the trivia profiles are, well, trivial.
Extras on the DVDs for cable shows don’t often reflect the quality of the series, but it would be nice if for once they tried to do something more... killer.
This moral murderer is still the hero, and a potentially one-note show keeps getting better with each peel back of Dexter’s brain.