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DVD Review: Dexter – The Complete Third Season

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Dexter is a Showtime series which is based on the on the Dexter novels by Jeff Lindsay. The series has been on TV for three seasons, and has been renewed for seasons four and five at least. Season four will premiere in late September. Season one adapted the first novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, but the following seasons have had original plots.

Dexter follows Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) whose adoptive father Harry Morgan (James Remar) recognized that Dexter at a young age had the characteristics of a sociopath; he helped Dexter focus these tendencies into a creative outlet by killing people who deserve it. Dexter has a perfect cover – he works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood spatter analyst. Dexter kills those who are guilty but have either gotten off due to loopholes and technicalities or have never been caught. He’s a vigilante taking other serial killers and other scum that the police can’t touch.

The show is dark and twisted but draws you in. Dexter does things that most people only wish they could do. Dexter is usually a step or two ahead of the law — hiding in plain sight by working for the police doesn’t hurt — but he’s had some close calls at being found out over the past seasons. Hall channels a serial killer very well and you’re both rooting for him and watching to see if he’ll slip up and get caught.

Season three gave Dexter a “partner” with Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) who finds out about Dexter when Dexter accidentally kills his brother in the season premiere. Prado is fascinated with Dexter and wants to be like him, so much so that he starts killing those who are slipping through the legal “cracks” as well. Prado is a threat since he knows Dexter’s secret and since the only way for two people to keep a secret is if one is dead – you can guess Prado’s fate, which is both ironic and gruesome. Season three also saw Dexter marry his longtime girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz) and become stepfather to her two children, who adore Dexter. Rita is also pregnant and that storyline will play out in the new season.

It’s also been announced that John Lithgow will be joining the cast as “The Trinity Killer,” a very famous serial killer who likes to kill in threes and gets Dexter’s attention since he’s been evading capture for decades. It will also mark the return of Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) who had a large role in the second season including a romance with Dexter’s sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter). Carradine was great in season two and Lithgow has made a career of playing offbeat characters, so the upcoming conflict between his Trinity character and Dexter should be a series highlight.

As far as the extras go for this set, there’s not much that pertains to Dexter itself. There are short interviews with the series leads, a photo gallery, and excerpts from the novel Dexter by Design. The rest of the extras are considered bonus episodes from other Showtime series as two episodes from The United States of Tara and The Tudors are also included. While this is nice, it would have been better to have more Dexter-centric extras. Maybe an interview with novelist Jeff Lindsay about what he thinks about the series and the adaptation of his books or a commentary with the cast would have been nice.

Since its Showtime where there are no commercials and episode lengths can vary from episode to episode, most likely there are no cut scenes; but if there are, the inclusion of those would have been nice. Two more seasons of Dexter are guaranteed, so hopefully future DVDs will contain more extras.

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