CBS is broadcasting an edited version of Dexter on Sunday nights (a happenstance created by the writer’s strike and the need to fill programming hours.) The edits were largely due to language (a couple of the supporting characters swear like sailors sometimes), for time, and for some of the more grisly bits (though, that said, the murders on the show are not always especially graphic…some of the stuff is no worse than what you might see on any given episode of CSI) but I was interested to see the difference.
Luckily I had received the season 1 DVD set of Dexter for Christmas and I took the occasion to finally sit down and watch all 12 episodes. Dexter is a stylish, black comic little gem of a series and Hall (late of the darkly comic Six Feet Under) is excellent as the titular character, a sociopath (though perhaps not as disconnected from his feelings as he so often claims to be) whose murderous impulses have been channeled into a “good” outlet by his late adoptive father, a policeman who recognized his son for what he was and taught Dexter a code that keeps him from killing the innocent.
Everyone in and around Dexter is damaged in their own ways…this includes his sister Deb (a police officer), his girlfriend (a skittish victim of spousal abuse), his nakedly ambitious boss, and an affable cop…and no one (save for one perpetually angry cop) seems to notice that there is something off about him. The series veers toward soap opera off and on but they pull back from that particular precipice almost every time.
Season 1’s overarching plot includes the hunt for Dexter’s opposite number, a macabre serial murdered who is dubbed the “Ice Truck Killer”, and while the identity of the killer is telegraphed fairly early on the eventual resolution of the conflict is ultimately satisfying. Dexter is probably not everyone’s cup of tea…the “hero” is a serial killer after all…but I found it oddly compelling and I look forward to season 2.