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, he does things like go bowling and take on a girlfriend - Rita Bennett (Julie Benz), who remains psychologically damaged herself. The two maintain the appearance of a relationship, and Dexter is nice to her two children. Shortly after the season opens, Rita and Dexter start to have a rift in their relationship when she starts questioning what he's doing at night - and his only reaction is to lie and say he's an addict - she forces him to go into a treatment program, but things slowly start to take a turn for the worse when Dexter wanders into the path of the beautiful and mysterious Lila (Jaime Murray) at his first meeting.
The second season starts with Dexter under pressure. While he's worked his way into the Miami department and gained the confidence of most of his peers, there's just one: Doakes (Erik King) who believes that Dex is hiding something and starts to trail him. Making matters even worse for Dexter is the arrival of the FBI - lead by Agent Lundy (Keith Carradine) - who've come to town due to the discovery of some of Dexter's work. Dexter's police officer sister (Jennifer Carpenter) is also working the case.
"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 exceptional, as he gives the character depth and smoothly portrays both the normal, everyguy Dexter that has friends at work and 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.
13. 2- 1 30 Sep 07 It's Alive!
- Dexter now finds himself unable to carry out his usual work again, restrained by feelings he cannot understand. He goes after another victim, but the results are a disaster. Meanwhile, Debra returns to work, but shows signs she may not be able to resume duty just yet.
14. 2- 2 7 Oct 07 Waiting to Exhale
- Dexter persues the gangster Little Chino, trying to regain his instincts. However, the tables get turned when Dexter becomes pursued. Debra loses control on the job and Agent Lundy (Keith Carradine) arrives in Miami to take on the case of the city's newly discovered serial killer.
15. 2- 3 14 Oct 07 An Inconvenient Lie
- Dexter stalks his latest victim - a used-car salesman. Dexter has problems at home when his inability to lie to Rita about his activities makes her think that he's a drug addict and she tells him to get into a 12-step program or she'll leave him. However, in the program he meets the mysterious Lila.
16. 2- 4 21 Oct 07 See-Through
- Dexter gets an NA sponsor to please Rita, but Rita isn't happy when that sponsor turns out to be Lila. Dexter also has to figure a way to throw FBI Agent Lundy off his trail.
17. 2- 5 28 Oct 07 The Dark Defender
- Dexter discovers the man who killed his mother is still alive. When he tells this to Lila, she suggests he face the man.
18. 2- 6 4 Nov 07 Dex, Lies, and Videotape
- Dexter isn't pleased to discover a copycat has started copying his efforts in Miami. As Dexter sets out to stop the imposter, he finds himself drawn into the arms of Lila.
19. 2- 7 11 Nov 07 That Night, A Forest Grew
- A written manifesto from the killer sends the Special Task Force in charge into chaos. While Dexter tries to keep Agent Lundy off the trail, Lila's influence becomes a negative in Dexter's personal life.
20. 2- 8 18 Nov 07 Morning Comes
- After a fire at Lila's, Dexter finds her becoming more attached to him than he's comfortable with.
21. 2- 9 25 Nov 07 Resistance Is Futile
- After Dexter tries to distance himself from Lila, he discovers that she is not so willing to let go. Meanwhile, Lundy's hunt starts to make Dexter nervous as he tries to stay one step ahead. However, Dexter's worst enemy is the one who discovers his secret first.
22. 2-10 2 Dec 07 There's Something About Harry
- Dexter finds himself with the upper hand after Doakes tracks him to his latest work. However, when Doakes reveals a secret about Harry's past, Dexter's world comes crumbling down. Rita starts letting Dexter back into her life.
23. 2-11 9 Dec 07 Left Turn Ahead
- As Lundy's noose starts to tighten, Dexter finds himself scrambling. Lila tries to blackmail Dexter into loving her.
- Season two ends with Lundy and the FBI settling the case once and for all. However, it's not all over for Dexter.
VIDEO: "Dexter" is presented in 1.78:1 (1080p/AVC) by Showtime. The HD presentation is definitely a very nice upgrade over the DVD edition of the same season. Sharpness and detail are improved, as the picture remained more precise, boasting a pleasing level of clarity during both scenes taking place in the bright Miami exteriors or in dimly-lit interiors. Colors look bolder and tighter, with the rich colors of Miami looking well-saturated and warm. Black level appears rock-solid, and flesh tones appear spot-on. Aside from a touch of noise, "Dexter" looks sleek and spotless on this excellent Blu-Ray presentation.
SOUND: The show is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Surround use is limited to some minor ambience and reinforcement of the show's effective score. Audio quality is improved slightly on the Blu-Ray, with the score sounding a tad deeper and fuller.
EXTRAS: For those who have BD-Live capability, the extras are available. The extras include: the first two episodes of "The United States of Tara", "Dexter" podcasts, the "Blood Fountains" featurette, "Dark Defender" series. There is an interactive game also included, but the majority of the extras are only accessible via BD-Live.
Final Thoughts: "Dexter" is a top-notch drama/thriller, lead by Hall's impressive effort. The show's second season remains engaging, with continued strong performances from the superb ensemble cast and solid writing. The Blu-Ray doesn't bring much in the way of extras to the table, but audio/video quality is