When we last left Miami’s most notorious TV serial killer, he’d just plunged a knife into the chest of one of his latest kill when his sister, Debra, also his police lieutenant, caught him in the act. Holy shit, what a cliffhanger, huh? The producers of Dexter left fans of Showtime’s critical acclaimed cult series wondering how anything would be the same for Dexter and the people he cares about. Would his sis throw the cuffs on him and send him away for life? Would he kill her to cover his tracks? Neither of those options was viable, seeing as there wouldn’t be a series if Dexter went to jail, or he offed the one person who loves him more than his toddler son. The logical thing to do was to have Dexter lie his way out of it, or have Debra accept his actions and help him cover up his crime. Both things happen by the end of the first hour on season 7. What proceeds after that sets the events in motion for the 8th and final season of the show, which begins airing in June.
Dexter fans knew this day was coming, that Dexter would eventually get found out by Debra. With Deb suddenly an accomplice to her brother’s sickness, the show takes a very interesting turn. Whereas most of Dexter’s confidants throug the years have been fellow serial killers themselves, or, as in the case of Julia Stiles during season five, the victim of a killer who is seeking revenge, the audience gets to watch as a ”sane” person grapples with who Dexter really is. Debra’s tortured choices throughout these twelve episodes is dramatic and heart wrenching. As the season progresses, and the walls close in on Dex (thanks to an investigation within the police department), we’re left wondering whether Debra will protect her brother, or do what’s best – what’s right- and put him away.
I haven’t always been a fan of Dexter. Something about the glorification of a serial killer has always disturbed me, even if his prey was the dregs of humanity. And let’s face it, ever since Dexter had his son, the writers haven’t found a logical way to deal with the boy. For example, during this season, Dexter decides to live with Debra for a period, yet his son isn’t in any of these scenes or even mentioned. It’s a dilemma every television series runs into when children are introduced into the storylines. Perhaps it seemed like a good idea at the time, but for this series, it has never worked.
I’ve often felt that Dexter was two different shows: One a typical procedural, the other a fascinating, albeit disturbing, look into the mind of a killer. Season 7 is much more atisfying because it pulls together the two aspects of the show much better. When one of Miami PD’s own is gunned down, his death becomes priority number one. This search for his killer carries over through the first part of the season and is a nice story arc. Later, Dexter falls for a woman who could be as deadly as he is, certainly as devious. Meanwhile, the case of the Bay Harbor Butcher (actually Dexter) is reopened, leading to the chilling conclusion of this season.
In years past I’ve been content to wait until Dexter came out on DVD to catch up on past episodes. This year, when Showtime begins the final run of shows, I’ll be wishing I subscribed to the network because the anticipation of how Dexter (the series and the character) is going to be, uh, killer.