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Blu-ray Review: Dexter – The Third Season

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The lovable serial killer is back for his third go-round in Dexter: The Third Season. After the rather shocking conclusion to season two, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) gets somewhat of a fresh start since the only people who knew about his dark secret are, shall we say, no longer with us. The season starts out with a bang — Dexter kills someone accidentally without properly vetting him according to the code.

This first victim is revealed to be the brother of Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), which turns the Miami police department into a circus as the prominent Prado family demands answers and retribution. Prado’s involvement in the investigation leads to an unlikely friendship between him and Dexter, a friendship which bucks against all of Dexter’s instincts and the lessons he learned from his father. As the season plays out, Dexter must decide whether he can successfully become a normal member of human society — one with friends, meaningful relationships, even children — or whether he should largely remain a recluse for fear of being found out for what he truly is.

The success or failure of this season lies in whether or not the viewer likes the character of Miguel Prado. I honestly did not care for the entire arc involving him, so this season is the weakest of the three seasons that have aired, in my opinion. However, that’s not to say that if you do not like Prado, then the season is not worth watching. There are many reasons that Dexter is one of the best shows on television, and one of those reasons is that even if there is a weak point in a season, there is plenty more intrigue to keep one’s interest.

As has been the case in the first two seasons, we learn a lot more about Dexter’s deceased father, Harry (James Remar). Dexter starts to see that Harry might not have been the hero on a pedestal that Dexter has for so long believed him to be. Because of this, Dexter questions many of his father’s teachings, seeking to adapt the “Code of Harry” more to his liking, especially in trying to make a friend in Miguel Prado. Even if one does not like Prado’s character, watching the existential struggles that Dexter goes through in light of his relationship with Prado makes the season well worth watching.

Further complicating things for the Dark Defender is his relationship with Rita (Julie Benz). Early on, Dexter finds out that he is going to be a father. This revelation really messes with Dexter’s head as he wrestles with unending thoughts of how he would be as a father, how he could raise a child who never knew about the dark secret, and, worst of all, wondering if the child will turn out to be like him. This season boasts the greatest amount of character development, thus far, in Rita as she becomes a much stronger person and more mature as a character and a fixture in Dexter’s life.

The rest of the cast conducts business as usual, providing their own plot twists, such as Laguerta’s (Lauren Vélez) previous relationship with the Prados, and comic relief. And then there’s Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), Dexter’s sister, whom the writers never really seem to know what to do with, other than involving her with guys she shouldn’t be with.

All things considered, this season of Dexter is definitely worth catching, though it’s the weakest of the three existing seasons. Even so, Dexter is still more intelligent and refreshing than 99% of the drivel that ends up on television.

Video/Audio

Like previous seasons, this Blu-ray set is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p with bright and vibrant colors and an excellent picture quality. The audio, presented in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, is also quite clear and sharp.

Special Features

Also like previous Blu-ray versions of the Dexter series, this set is dreadfully devoid of special features.  In fact, no special features exist on the discs themselves (not even episode commentaries). The special features that the set boasts can only be accessed through BD-Live and include excerpts from the novel Dexter by Design, interviews with series stars Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, and others, two episodes of The United States of Tera and two episodes of The Tudors.

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