Dexter: The Second Season (Blu-ray)
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Own it on Blu-ray
Created by: Jeff Lindsay and James Manos, Jr.
Stars: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez, David Zayas, C.S. Lee, James Remar, Erik King
MPAA Rating: Unrated
For years, HBO was the undisputed king of original programming on cable with hit shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood and Sex and the City. But all of those shows have come to an end and in recent years HBO has struggled to find new hits. Meanwhile, Showtime has been closing the gap on them with its own hit shows, like The United States of Tara, Weeds and Dexter.
Dexter is definitely the most intriguing show in Showtime’s lineup. It’s the story of a serial killer named Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) who lived by his own twisted moral code. Morgan only kills people who he deems evil, using a complex vetting process to decide whether or not they deserve to die. Once he has selected his next victim, he wraps him/her in cellophane and forces the person to confront his/her transgressions before he ends their life.
In season one of the show, we learn that Morgan was adopted by a Miami police officer named Harry Morgan (James Remar). Harry recognized the blood lust in his adopted son, so he came up with the set of rules Dexter uses when selecting his victims (which Dexter dubs the “Code of Harry”). At the start of the show, Harry has passed away, but through a series of flashbacks we see him guiding a young Dexter along his path.
For the most part, Dexter lives a normal life. Dexter and his sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) both follow in their father’s footsteps and work for the Miami Metro Police Department; Debra is a cop and Dexter is a blood spatter analyst. Dexter also has a serious girlfriend, Rita Bennett (Julie Benz), who he dates in order to appear normal, even though he doesn’t feel much for her at the beginning of the series. Rita has two children and an ex-husband who is in jail at the start of season two.
No one in Dexter’s life is aware of his extracurricular activities, not even his sister. Harry was the only person who knew Dexter’s true nature. Most people see him as a nice, quiet guy. The only person who even suspects that there is something dark below the surface is his coworker Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King).
As season two of the show begins, Doakes begins following Dexter in an attempt to figure out what secrets he is keeping. Our protagonist is aware that Doakes has been following him, so for a month he has been unable to satisfy his desire to kill. Making matters worse, the bodies of Dexter’s former victims are inadvertently discovered out in the ocean and an FBI Agent named Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) is brought in to investigate the murders.
Problems also begin to arise between Dexter and Rita. Her ex-husband was a drug addict, so Rita begins to suspect that Dexter is also using drugs, since he has a tendency to disappear late at night without telling her where he’s going. Deciding that a heroin addiction is easier to explain than serial killing, Dexter tells Rita that she is right and she forces him to go to Narcotics Anonymous, where he meets Lila (Jaime Murray), a former meth addict and arsonist. Lila is immediately drawn to him.
Overall, season two is an interesting chapter in the Dexter saga. I wasn’t a huge fan of Lila and the direction they take her storyline with Dexter, but everything else in the season more than makes up for that. Having the FBI and the Miami PD investigating his crimes added a great wrinkle to the show and Dexter’s conflict with Doakes is really entertaining as it unfolds. There are a few classic scenes of Dexter outsmarting Doakes that are just a pure joy to watch.
Watching the series on Blu-ray allows you to appreciate all of the rich colors of the show (including, of course, the deep red blood) and the Miami skyline in particular really pops in high def. The show also has one of the best opening sequences on television (Dexter is simply completing a series of mundane tasks, but it’s shot in such a way to make things like flossing and cooking breakfast look incredibly disturbing), which looks really amazing in high def.
The three-disc set also comes with several bonus features. There is a mini-game called “Tools of the Trade” that involves correctly identifying the weapons Dexter uses on his victims. There are also several “BD Live” special features, which require an Internet connection to access. The BD Live features include a “Blood Founatins” featurette, podcasts and the first two episodes of another great Showtime show, The United States of Tara.
I highly recommend picking up Dexter: The Second Season, although you probably should pick up season one if you haven’t already seen it. For those of you who have already watched all three seasons on Showtime, I still recommend picking up this box set since, like Dexter himself, you never know when you’ll get the urge … to watch these episodes again.
Written by Joel Murphy. Dexter: The Complete Second Season is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.