One of Showtime's series of recent hits (see also: "Californication" & "Weeds"), "Dexter" (uh, not to be confused with the animated series) is a dark dramatic (with touches of black comedy) series from the network starring Michael C. Hall ("Six Feet Under") as Dexter Morgan, a man oprhaned at a young age and deeply troubled.
As an adult, Dexter works as a forensics expert for the Miami Police Department, trying to piece together clues and tracking down criminals. However, Dexter has an entirely different job at night: he is a killer, tracking down criminals who have managed to slip through the fingers of justice - and disposing of them.
Dexter was trained as a child by the man who was his adoptive father, Miami Police Officer Harry Morgan (James Remar). Taught how to appear normal (the series offers flashbacks throughout the , he does things like go bowling and take on a girlfriend - Rita Bennett (Julie Benz), who remains psychologically damaged herself, due to the dark events of her past. The two maintain the appearance of a relationship, and Dexter is nice to her two children.
While the second season of the series dealt with Dexter's difficulty in trying to keep his other side a secret - especially from fellow officer Doakes (Erik King), a visiting FBI agent (Keith Carradine) and the beautiful and mysterious Lila (Jaime Murray). The first season followed Dexter as he tried to work with the department to catch the Ice Truck Killer, who has been draining the blood from victims. While Dexter remains "uniquely suited" to understanding and catching the Ice Truck Killer, there's also the reverse, too: Dexter starts to realize that the Killer understands his mentality, as well, and while there are other aspects to the season, a main focus is the cat-and-mouse (or cat vs. cat?) game between the two.
"Dexter" remains an engaging show due to a few different elements, including a bold visual style and dark, eerie atmosphere thanks to the production crew, including cinematographer Romeo Tirone, production designer Anthony Cowley and others. Hall's performance is also superb from season one onwards, as he gives the character depth and smoothly portrays both the normal, everyguy Dexter that has friends at work, as well as the darker Dexter that lies just underneath the surface. It's no surprise that Hall has been nominated for both an Emmy and Golden Globe for the performance. King, Carpenter, Benz and others also offer strong supporting efforts.
1. 1- 1 1 Oct 06 Dexter
When blood spatter analyst Dexter isn't out solving murders, he spends his time as a serial killer who eliminates those who do bad things, but his world is shaken when another killer starts a series of highly stylized murders in Miami.
2. 1- 2 8 Oct 06 Crocodile
While trying to decide his next victim, Dexter's world is thrown into turmoil when the other serial killer in town, dubbed the Ice Truck Killer, has secretly contacted Dexter to let him know that he knows what Dexter is doing, too.
3. 1- 3 15 Oct 06 Popping Cherry
While stalking a recently released convict who may kill again, Dexter has to deal with the latest crime of the Ice Truck Killer.
4. 1- 4 22 Oct 06 Let's Give the Boy a Hand
The Ice Truck Killer starts leaving pictures from Dexter's childhood at the crime scenes.
5. 1- 5 29 Oct 06 Love American Style
The Homicide division is abuzz after the Ice Truck Killer's latest victim is found alive, while Dexter stalks a human trafficker.
6. 1- 6 5 Nov 06 Return to Sender
The Ice Truck Killer leaves Dexter a surprise at the latest crime scene, putting Dexter in the crosshairs of his own homicide division.
7. 1- 7 12 Nov 06 Circle of Friends
The Ice Truck Killer's ID is revealed, but something about it doesn't sit right with Dexter.
8. 1- 8 19 Nov 06 Shrink Wrap
When the suicide of a high-profile woman reveals a strange pattern of murders, Dexter stalks a killer unlike those he has faced before.
9. 1- 9 26 Nov 06 Father Knows Best
Rita, Debra and Rudy join Dexter for a weekend away when Dexter finds out that his father, who Dexter thought had died 30 years ago, has just recently passed away and left him everything - including his house.
10. 1-10 3 Dec 06 Seeing Red
The Ice Truck Killer leaves Dexter a horrifying crime scene, forcing him to confront the demons from his past.
11. 1-11 10 Dec 06 Truth Be Told
The Ice Truck Killer kidnaps someone close to Dexter, forcing Dexter to play a deadly game of hide-and-seek.
12. 1-12 17 Dec 06 Born Free
Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer have a final confrontation.
VIDEO: The show is presented by Paramount/Showtime in 1.78:1 (1080p/AVC). The presentation quality is a very nice jump over the quality offered by the DVD sets. While there were a few slightly softer moments and fine object detail is a bit short of fantastic, the picture otherwise looked quite crisp and clear. A few minor instances of artifacting and the occasional trace of pixelation were spotted, but the presentation otherwise looked pristine. Colors vary somewhat; while most of the colors are bold and bright (as one might expect from a Miami-set series), there are stretches of more subdued tones. Overall, this was certainly an above-average high-def presentation of the series.
SOUND: The show is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The show's audio quality is perfectly acceptable, with clear dialogue and music. Surround use is limited to some minor ambience and reinforcement of the show's effective score.
EXTRAS: Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, Lauren Velez and Erik King offer a commentary for "Return to Sender", while "Born Free" offers comments from producers Sara Colleton, Clyde Phillips and Daniel Cerone. The commentary with the actors remains lively, as the bunch seems to be having a good time chatting about working together and sharing the behind-the-scenes stories for several scenes. The commentary from the producers goes into more detail about the technical aspects of the series, chatting about production difficulties, wrapping up the season, the reaction to the series, visual style and more.
"The Academy of Blood", "Witnessed in Blood", a podcast by Michael C. Hall, the first episode of the third season of "Dexter" and the first two episodes of "The United States of Tara" are available via BD-Live-enabled players.
Final Thoughts: "Dexter" is a top-notch drama/thriller, lead by Hall's impressive effort. The Blu-Ray edition of the first season offers superb image quality, good audio quality and a pretty nice assortment of extras. Recommended.