Monday, 6 September 2010

Everything you already know about Dexter

About a year behind, Dexter has finally appeared back on British telly. You probably know all about it. In fact, you've probably seen a lot more of it than I have. So this post will only serve as a reminder. Alternatively, start watching it right now. Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter expert with the Miami police, kills people in his spare time. But as Arnold Schwarzenegger once said in some film or other - 'Yes, but they were all bad'. Dexter tracks down criminals that have escaped the law and kills them in a routine that involves a lot of plastic sheets and knives. It makes him feel better. The real triumph of the show is how it balances this dark subject with humour. Dexter's calm, organised world is disturbed by people. Troublesome, annoying people who crowd around him with their problems, expecting him to care because he's their 'brother' or 'husband'. But he doesn't understand what they're talking about and just nods along. He's a strangely likable psychopath, who seems perfectly nice apart from all the killing. His inner monologue is delivered in dry monotone, and every fake piece of emotion comes with a wink at the audience. And as he expertly keeps his two worlds separate, one will always infringe on the other. In the fourth season his murder-ritual is disrupted by sleepless nights with a new baby - he falls asleep and drops carefully chopped limbs all over the floor.

Even though the first season didn't really grab me, Dexter has been compelling television ever since. Under less skilled cast and crew, this would be a horrible and nasty examination of a serial killer. Instead it's equal parts funny and disturbing, ironic and a bit scary. It's holding all these elements as it walks a tightrope, always ready to fall off but never losing its footing. It's quite good. But like I said, you already know this.


  1. The Arnie quote is from "True Lies" I think - a great piece of silliness.

  2. Can't do Dexter, and I think Michael Hall (six feet under) and Julie Benz (Buffy and Angel) are both wonderful.