Sunday, November 05, 2006

TV: Dexter

• Showtime's new drama has a killer hook.

Genres: Serial killer, detective, drama, crime scenes
Logistics: Showtime, 9 p.m. (Central) Sundays
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, Julie Benz, Erik King, David Zayaz, James Remar
Verdict: &&&&

You can't beat the concept: Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter expert for the Miami Police Department, moonlights as a serial killer who slices and dices other killers — people who deserve to die. That's how his late father (James Remar), a good policeman himself, taught young Dexter to control his dark urges and channel them for good. Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under) brings just the right combination of handsome, smart politeness and ambiguity to the role, making Dexter something of a kindred spirit to that other great dignified villain, Hannibal Lecter. When Dexter's dark mind yields hunches about crime scenes, he feeds tips to his sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter of The Exorcism of Emily Rose), a green Miami cop who's anxious to blaze the trail in homicide. Through the first three episodes, it is apparent that the ice truck killer story arc, which comprises the main plot of the very good source material, Jeff Lindsey's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, will serve as the season's backdrop while various subplots (a cop killing, Dexter's feigned love life) provide padding. Dexter senses a connection with the ice truck killer and struggles to hide his playful interest from his sister and coworkers as it becomes clear that the killer is teasing him. That's on top of his daily struggle to mimic human emotions. Episode two meandered a bit with the cop killing and a double date with Dexter's sister, but episode three was the best yet as Dexter revisits his first father-approved kills, including an evil nurse, and tracks a potential new victim. Showtime has just given the nod to a second series of episodes, and it will be interesting to see if season two follows the arc of the second novel, Dearly Devoted Dexter. Either way, I can't wait to see who'll be next to get the knives and Saran Wrap treatment.

// Related // Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsey

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