A Serial Killer with a Twist

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The rain seems never-ending outside your window; the wind shakes the trees and whistles through the afternoon sky. It’s a typical English summer’s day in other words, and with the outside world not looking particularly appealing, so begins the inevitable search for something to pass the time. Or perhaps it’s just a tactical escape from the Olympics that is required; an excuse to shut yourself in your room for the few weeks. If you long to immerse yourself in another tantalisingly good television series, the choices are seemingly endless. Still, before you close your eyes, leave it up to fate, and point a finger at a randomly constructed list, read on. Dexter delivers entertaining television in more ways than one.

The first season works to transform material from Jeff Lindsey’s novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter to on-screen entertainment, as we are introduced to Dexter Morgan; blood splatter analyst working for Miami Metro PD by day, twisted serial killer by night. Instead of the usual willingness for our perpetrator to be caught, however, the audience sympathises with our protagonist, whose night-time endeavours aren’t just simply brutal murders. Dexter only kills the scum of society; the paedophiles and murderers who are more worthless than the mud caked on the bottom of your shoe. An urge to kill ingrained in him from a very young age, directed in the only way that he can use this unquenchable thirst for good, not for evil. Morally questionable maybe, but it makes for a fascinating series that it would simply be a crime to miss out on.

With a splendid array of characters on show, it isn’t just Dexter that makes the show effortlessly endearing and endlessly explosive. His sister Deborah (Jennifer Carpenter) is the loud and often foul-mouthed rising police star of the show, and the chemistry the two have is simply wonderful. Then there’s Dexter father (James Remar), long deceased but often present in the thoughts and decisions that Dexter makes. Family acts as a central theme in Dexter and as the series progresses the writers cleverly unravel the plot through a series of intricate and never-too-revealing flashbacks; teasing the viewer with questions that hold you in a spiders-web of suspense. If that wasn’t enough, there’s the hard-hitting, cold, calculating character of Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez); a woman that will stop at nothing to achieve her aspirations. Throw into the mixing pot Vince Masuka (C. S. Lee), a forensics expert with a crude joke never too far away from his tongue, and you have a recipe for a brilliant display of different personalities.

Conflicted between admiration for the work he is witnessing and the need to stop whoever it is before it’s too late, Dexter is forced to delve into a closet of skeletons long since buried. Dark secrets and a hidden, blood-soaked past are beginning to drift to the surface, and Dexter must have the answers. From the docks of the boat he calls A Slice of Life, to mysterious abandoned warehouses and rooms covered in plastic, pictures hanging on the walls. Follow Dexter on a journey of family and enemies, truth and betrayal, life and death. Move with him as he sharpens his blades and strives to subdue the dark passenger that resides within, while at the same time he is constantly trapped in a battle to stay one step ahead of the game.

It is a series which is utterly compelling, often hilarious, and always entertaining. With cliff-hangers that have you leaning forward in your seat in eager anticipation and revelations that have you involuntarily gasping aloud in surprise, this is one series that you cannot afford to miss. With six seasons already complete and a seventh due after the summer, give it a try; there’s plenty to get your teeth into.

Ben Johnson

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway.

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