The serial killer who uses his powers of psychopathy to catch criminals is finally going to get a conclusion to his story. Yes, after seven twisted seasons, the Showtime hit Dexter is going to end in its eighth. At least, that’s what the channel announced in May this year, I won’t put it past them to change their minds.
The Story So Far
From the very beginning of Season 1 we’re introduced to Dexter Morgan’s interesting double life: by day, he is a blood spatter analyst, working for Miami Metro Police Department; by night, he’s preying on unsuspecting killers to satiate his dark urges. He doesn’t believe he has emotions, and fakes being normal in all his social interactions. The only person he shows any genuine affection for, however minute, is his foster sister Deb.
We’re shown about Dexter’s dark origins through flashbacks in season 1. As a kid he saw his mother get brutally murdered. He was adopted by Harry Morgan, the police officer investigating the crime. As he gets older, he exhibits emotional detachment, and several sociopathic tendencies. Creeped out by his serial killery behavior, his foster father decides to help Dexter channel his deviant energy for the forces of good. He teaches him how to be a better killer, and only kill criminals because no one cares if a rapist goes missing. Yes, he turns his puppy-killing son into a criminal-killing ninja, because therapy is for pussies.
The big bad for season 1 is Dexter’s own estranged brother, who also witnessed their mother’s death, and also turned out to be a serial killer. “Watching your mom die” is the “radioactive spider” of this universe. When it comes to choose between Deb and his brother, Dexter chooses Deb, killing his demented brother for good.
In season 2 he meets an even formidable opponent in Sergeant James Doakes, a hot headed officer working at Miami Metro PD who is able to see through Dexter’s bullshit for who he is. He gets an unfortunate and contrived death, and I think the series dropped in quality after his departure. He also had the best line in the show.
The most shocking twist of the show happens in season 4, when Dexter finds his wife murdered by the Trinity killer, leaving his son in a pool of blood, just like he was when his mother was killed. John Lithgow is easily the most chilling killer to have appeared on the show.
Season 5 and Season 7 introduced a couple of love interests for Dexter, which didn’t always work. Anyway, the next big thing that shook up the status quo and brought the show one step closer to its end was the ending of season 6, in which Deb catches Dexter during one of his rituals. Then, Season 7 follows her finding out about Dexter’s second job, and coming to terms with it. Dexter’s biggest enemy this time is captain Maria Laguerta, who has suspicions over Dexter because of Doakes’ death, and plans to bring him to justice. Dexter manages to get her on one of his “kill rooms”, but just as he is about to finish her, Deb comes barging in with a gun. Laguerta asks her to kill Dex, while Dexter calmly says, “Do what you gotta do.” Deb shoots Laguerta.
The first episode, titled “A Beautiful Day”, will air on June 30 this year. The series finale will air on September 22.
Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall.
Debra fucking Morgan, played by Jennifer fucking Carpenter.
Joey Quinn, played by Desmond Harrington.
Vince Masuka, played by C. S. Lee.
Angel Batista, played by David Zayas.
Harry Morgan, played by James Remar.
Jamie Batista, played by Aimee Garcia.
Hannah McKay, played by Yvonne Strahovski.
Deputy Chief Tom Matthews, played by Geoff Pierson.
Evelyn Vogel, played by Charlotte Rampling. She’s a neuro-psychiatrist specializing in psychopaths. She’ll give profound insights into the mind of a killer, like how they don’t have empathy, and think kittens are cuter dead.
Jacob Elroy, played by Sean Patrick Flanery. He’s an ex-cop who owns a private investigation company in Miami.
Javier Guzman, played by Nick Gomez. He’s a hitman.
Some guy called Cassie, played by One Tree Hill’s Bethany Joy Lenz.
Showtime CEO Matthew C. Blank, on announcing the end of the show, said:
When it debuted in 2006, Dexter redefined the genre, by taking the anti-hero to new heights and pushing the boundaries of the television landscape, “Dexter paved the way for the next generation of award-winning hit Showtime series, and its cultural impact will be felt for years to come.
Showrunner Scott Buck talked about various aspects of the coming season to EW. On what to expect from Dexter this season, he said:
Dexter is a character who has evolved so much over the years that’s he’s almost unrecognizable to who he was in the beginning when he was in the brain of a psychopath. We’ve gradually seen him evolve and become more human. As that’s happened, the show itself has become more real because we’re seeing it through Dexter’s eyes. The trick of the show is that he’s a likable serial killer. But we don’t ever want our audience to forget that he is a serial killer and I think we take him on that final journey this season. This is the person you’ve been loving all these years, but this is ultimately what happens with a serial killer.
On the ending:
I think ideally it will make our audience sit back and see Dexter a little more clearly than before. People love him for what he does, there’s a lot of wish fulfillment, I think [the ending] will help you see him more of as an actual person. It feels like the exact ending we should be doing. It will be pretty clear and understandable and should absolutely make sense to everybody watching it.
What’s good about it
This is a unique show with a bold premise that has never been tried before. We’ve had many anti-heroes, but no one tried to make you sympathize with a serial killer. The finality of the proceedings will give everything extra weight. There shouldn’t be much padding with a bunch of extraneous characters no one cares about. Even if you’re not a fan of the show you’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to know how it ended.
What’s Bad About it?
I think the show dipped in quality after season 2. Instead of focusing on the main characters, there were repeated killer-of-the-week plotlines that went nowhere, and soap opera-level relationship drama. I think each season has been worse than the previous, and I don’t expect the show to redeem itself in the final episodes.