I never thought I would root for a serial killer. But then, no serial killers I’ve ever come across are as lovable as Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). After the astounding, hard to beat first season, Dexter continues to make an impression on viewers by not going through the typical “sophomore slump.” Season two is every bit as good as the first, perhaps even better.
After wrapping up the story of the Ice Truck Killer at the end of season one, the second season opens with a shocking discovery: an underwater graveyard containing dozens of dismembered bodies buried in large, black trash bags. For those already familiar with Dexter, you know what this means. The hunter has become the hunted, and Dexter has to evade the able detective work of his friends at the Miami police department, friends that include his sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter). To complicate matters for our unorthodox hero, serial killer experts are sent from the FBI to help the Miami police track down the so-called Bay Harbor Butcher, and Dexter continues to be harassed by Sergeant James Doakes (Erik King). Over the course of the season, Dexter works feverishly to stay ahead of his pursuers in what turns out to be a rather clever and crafty “cat and cat” game.
In addition to the complications of his “professional” life, Dexter’s personal life is also thrown into turmoil. His sometimes erratic behavior causes his girlfriend, Rita (Julie Benz), to become worried, and Dexter is able to get around telling her the truth about himself by telling her he struggles with drug addiction. This prompts Rita to insist that Dexter enter a 12-step recovery program if he wants to keep their relationship going, not knowing, of course, that doing so would bring Lila (Jaime Murray) into both their lives.
The love triangle that ensues serves as the vehicle for the immense amount of character development that takes place in this second season and is what makes this season as good as, if not better, than the first. In the first season, the audience is constantly reminded that Dexter is a cold, unfeeling man and enjoys being with Rita because she’s every bit as damaged as he is, and therefore cannot see him for who he really is. Lila, however, can see right through Dexter and is able to draw out Dexter’s deeply buried emotions and help him cultivate them. Along the way he discovers new information about who he is, where he came from, and reaches the unsettling truth that his adoptive father, Harry (James Remar), might not deserve the pedestal that Dexter has placed him atop of.
This all works together to provide a memorable season with a complex, rather unexpected conclusion. Dexter is a wonderful show that is absolutely worth checking out. With so much puerile trash out there today, an intelligent and creative show such as this is truly refreshing.
The Blu-ray set is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p. The picture quality is excellent, and the blu-ray version really makes the bright and vibrant colors of Miami sizzle on the screen. The audio is also done very well, presented in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. The sound is very clear and sharp.
There aren’t many special features on the disc, and those that are there are only BD Live, so you will have to have a player capable of the BD Live functionality in order to watch them. There are two episodes of another Showtime show, The United States of Tara, a featurette entitled “Blood Fountains,” a bunch of cast interviews, and a few commercial-type “Dark Defender” videos. All in all, the special features really aren’t worth one’s time, although a few of the interviews are pretty interesting.