While the Dexter books series takes a strange, supernatural turn, the Showtime show is about sociopath and serial killer Dexter Morgan. Premiering in October 2006, the 12 episodes of the first season aired. The first season of the show quickly established the characters, motives, and template for the series. Dexter is the rare case for a show to grow every year. As people started to change how they consumed television, binging on seasons at a time from boxsets or Netflix, Dexter rose in popularity. With a strong story out the gates, it’s easy to see why the show became so beloved.
Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is very much an anti-hero. He kills people. Driven by this compulsion, this ‘dark passenger’, Dexter kidnaps, kills, and dismembers. As a baby, his mother was brutally murdered in front of him, permanently damaging his psyche. Adopted and raised by the cop who saved him, Harry, he’s given a code to follow. Harry could see the darkness in him, so he trained Dexter how to kill without being caught, and with purpose. Now Dexter works for Miami-Dade Police Department as a blood spatter analyst. Using his resources, Dexter finds people who slip through the cracks of the justice system, and murders them.
This need is what drives, and often causes problems in his life. His sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), works at the station as a police officer, and doesn’t suspect anything suspicious about her brother. None of the officers do, save for Sgt James Doakes. The man knows something is off about Dexter, and hounds him whenever possible.
Introducing the concept of a villain per season, Dexter enters a battle of wits with a murderer known as ‘The Ice Truck Killer.” He targets prostitutes and leaves their bodies severed and bleed dry. That, and he’s leaving messages for Dexter.
This first season really does a good job establishing the status quo. Dexter narrates every episode, giving viewers insight to his thinking. As the show opens, we learn who he his, and how he works. Going back to watch the first episode now, it’s a little gruesome and off putting. The show does a good job of convincing the audience to cheer for Dexter throughout it’s run, typically not showing Dexter dismembering his kills afterwards. The first episode showed him bring his prey into the ‘kill room’, covered with artifacts of his sins. The man raped and murdered children. Dexter had their corpses hung about, along with photos from when they lived. That is seriously a lot of work, and incredibly grotesque. Something like that wasn’t seen on the show again.
As the season progresses, Dexter learns the reasons why he’s driven to kill, and the identity of the Ice Truck Killer. In what becomes a recurring theme for the show, this big bad affects and has ties to Dexter, personally.
The show is entering it’s final season in the summer of 2013 with number 8. Looking at each season individually, the show’s had more hits than misses, but bouncing on the extremes of both. Look for posts about the other seven seasons in the coming weeks.
Wow can Debra curse.