Shows featuring a serial killer as the protagonist should not work.
With FCC regulations, there is little chance that a major network would have allowed “Dexter,” with its crazy premise and graphic nature, to air during its primetime lineup.
Thankfully, there are premium channels like Showtime that can take chances with their shows.
“Dexter” has proven to be a deliciously entertaining drama with a superb cast and excellent writing.
The show’s efforts have been rewarded this year with Emmy nominations for Best Drama and for Best Actor for Michael C. Hall’s performance.
Hall is a fantastic character actor who began his career on Broadway.
He caught his big break when he was recommended to Alan Ball for the role of gay funeral director David Fischer on the award-winning “Six Feet Under.”
His five-year run on the show led to a Best Actor nomination.
As the complex, disturbed serial killer Dexter Morgan, Hall brings charisma, charm and unparalleled versatility to the character, which makes the audience hang on his every word and wonder what will happen next.
Traumatized by witnessing the murder of his mother by chainsaw at age 3, Dexter is devoid of any feelings and full of desire to kill. Raised by adoptive father Harry Morgan, who quickly learns of his son’s inclination, Dexter is taught a code by which to live.
The three main rules are to kill only those people guilty of committing heinous crimes, to blend in with other people and to never get caught.
Dexter blends in by working as a forensics expert with the Miami Police Department.
He also has a girlfriend named Rita, a mother of two who was previously involved in an abusive relationship. Deb, Dexter’s foul-mouthed stepsister, also works at the Miami Police Department.
Nobody knows Dexter’s secret as he conducts his own research, kills discreetly and discards his bodies off of his boat into a lake.
In Season 1, Dexter has an aura of invincibility about him until he meets his match in the Ice Truck Killer, a serial killer who has no rules and seems to know of Dexter’s past.
Throughout the season, Dexter and the Miami Police Department work to find the the killer’s identity, leading to a thrilling climax that changes the anti-hero’s life forever.
Season 2 closes all the walls on Dexter’s world as his victims’ bodies are discovered in the lake, and the Miami Police Department begins the search for the Bay Harbor Butcher.
Sergeant Doakes, a man who always was suspicious of Dexter, conducts his own investigation to incriminate Dexter.
Meanwhile, a series of miscommunications between Dexter and Rita leads to their breakup, while a mysterious woman named Lila enters the picture.
The race to make sure he is not discovered paves the way to some of the most incredible drama on TV, with Dexter having to decide who means the most to him and realizing there might be some feelings inside him after all.
Told from Dexter’s perspective, episodes include several voiceovers that provide viewers his thoughts on each situation he encounters.
As messed-up a person as Dexter appears, his sense of humor and deep wounds make viewers root for him.
Season 3 begins this Sunday on Showtime, featuring the debut of Jimmy Smits as District Attorney Miguel Prado.
Having seen the premiere, I can say this show is going to have its best season yet.
With movie-like production values, fantastic writing and dynamic acting from Hall, “Dexter” is the most unique series on TV.
Seasons 1 and 2 are on DVD now.