The first season of Dexter was
a unique, quirky show that
had a serial killer who worked for the police as the protagonist. It was very good, though it did sort of feel
like a one-trick pony. After the novelty
of having a murderer as a sympathetic character wears off, what's left? Quite a lot as it turns out.
Dexter Season Two,
which is now
being released on Blu-ray, is even better than the first season with a
story, more subplots and some twists.
The Blu-ray disc looks and sounds just as good as the first
making this a great set to pick up.
Warning: This review
contains spoilers for the first season.
Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall, Six Feet Under) is a
blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police
Department. He examines murder scenes
and determines where the victim and perpetrator where standing and
movements based on the drops of blood that are left.
Dexter has a secret though; he's a serial
Adopted when he was three after he saw his mother butchered
with a chainsaw and then left trapped with her body for days, Dexter
all the early signs of a psychopath. He
had trouble relating to other people's feelings or even feeling
himself, and killed small animals. His
adopted father, Harry (James Remar), was a Miami police officer and
what was wrong with Dexter. Rather than
trying to change Dexter's personality, something that probably wasn't
Harry decides to channel his son's anti-social (to say the least)
tendencies. He shows him how to blend in
with other people, how to fake being normal so that no one will suspect
really is. Harry also instills a moral
code in the immoral child. He convinces
him that he has to resist his urges to kill and only let loose on
deserve it: murderers who are beyond the
law. Harry also trains Dexter in
criminal investigative procedure so that he'll know how to kill without
evidence and to stay off of the police's radar.
Living by the 'Code of Harry' as he calls it has served
Dexter well over the years. He's killed
many murderers and the police don't even know that they have a serial
working in their midst. That changes
when a pair of treasure hunters discover the area in the Atlantic
where Dexter disposes of the bodies he's cut apart.
The police eventually bring up 18 corpses (or
parts of them at least) and the FBI is brought in to help track down
press is calling the Bay Area Butcher.
Dexter didn't leave much evidence for the feds and his
coworkers to find, but that doesn't mean there are no clues. Dexter has more problems than just the task
force however. Sgt. Doakes (Erik
is convinced that the oddly distant Dexter is hiding something,
after he is found at the Ice Truck Killer's hideout (at the end of last
season.) Doakes has started to tail
Dexter, and with a constant shadow it's impossible for him to kill
Another wrinkle in Dexter's life has to do with his girlfriend
Rita (Julie Benz). She becomes convinced
that Dexter is a drug user like her ex-husband.
After all he disappears for hours at a time
and is very secretive. She insists that
he enter a 12-step program, something he's initially reluctant to do
reason. Sharing and opening up just a
little could be very dangerous for Dexter, and going to the meetings
to be the biggest threat to that the killer has ever faced.
The first season of Dexter was very good, but there were
some flaws. The Ice Truck Killer knew so
much about Dexter and his private life that it was hard to swallow it
times. This season the show really hits
its stride. The writers have the
characters all figured out and the overriding story for the season is
scripted. Small throw-away lines in one
episode become very important three or four installments later. The whole season holds together very well,
with one event logically leading to another, sometimes with unexpected
They show also doesn't ignore what happened in the first
season. Dexter's sister Deb (Jennifer
Carpenter, who is married to star Michael C. Hall) is having a lot of
dealing with the fact that her fiancée was a serial killer and
tried to murder
her. She's moved in with Dexter and is
terrified to be alone, something that's both realistic and creates some
than minor difficulties.
These various subplots all intertwine nicely, giving the
show some nail-biting suspense moments and a lot of momentum. Sitting down to watch this season for the
first time, I raced through the episodes hardly noticing the time
by. It's a show you don't want to turn
Esme Pasquale, a female super-star in the ranks of law enforcement
who's personal life starts to unravel. I've known a lot of tough
women in my day and when they run into trouble, yes they can fall
apart, but never publically. The way she would act in front of
the officers who were subordanant to her was very hard to swallow, no
matter how much pain she was experiancing. This isn't a large
part of the show however and doesn't ruin the season.
The only real complaint I have is the characterization of
The 12 episodes that make up the second season of
come on three Blu-ray discs contained in a slightly larger than
case. A page in the middle holds two
discs (one on each side of the page so they aren't overlapping) while
is attached to the right side.
Presented with a 1.78:1 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encoded image, this
set looks very good, just as good as season one. There
is a lot of detail in the picture, and
many times the image just leaps off the screen, especially in the
exterior scenes. The colors are
outstanding, reproducing the lush greens of the Miami setting as well
deep red blood splatters that Dexter analyses with great care. Some of the darker scenes do have a bit of
grain in them, but this was a minor concern.
The show comes with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that works
well for the show. Being mainly dialog
based, there aren't a lot of fancy audio effects but the show does
sound to the rears, mainly background music.
There are also some unexpected sound effects positioned nicely
the room a doorbell ringing behind you for example, that are spare but
As with the first season, the extras are a bit anemic.
Most of the extras that are 'included' have
to be accessed via Blu-ray Live. First
off the early adopters who don't have a Blu-ray Live enabled player are
plain screwed, as are the people who don't have their house networked. Also, I have to wonder how long the content
will be available. I have DVDs that are
going on ten years old that I still enjoy.
In a decade is Showtime still going to be hosting these on-line
extras? I don't think so. The
Blu-ray Live downloadable features include
episodes of another Showtime program The United States of Tara, some podcasts from star Michael C.
Hall, a series of Dark Avenger shorts, and the featurette Blood
In any case there are some bonus materials on the discs
themselves. Well, one item.
A short trivia game Tools of the Trade. *Yawn*.
I was disappointed that the first season only had a couple of
tracks, but this set doesn't even have that.
A real disappointment.
When I first heard of Dexter I
assumed that it was a 'race
to the bottom' exploitation show. I
couldn't have been more wrong, as this second season proves. It's an interesting and entertaining show
that is tightly written and well produced.
Filled with a wonderful cast the show is slightly addictive,
to stop watching after just two or three episodes.
This second season is markedly better than
the first one, and that's saying a lot. Add
to that the wonderful image and effective sound, and you've got a
images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not
represent the image quality on the disc.