I got this DVD for christmas and what a season it is. Having watched Dexter since the first season was aired on ITV, I have been hooked. Fans of the show will know what I mean as Dexter is such an addictive show to watch. This is the first season I have seen straight on DVD and not on TV. As such, you naturally lose some of the suspense as you don't have to wait for the next episode to air.
Now, season 4 is very strong. It has different airs and graces compared to others but this is natural as I think we have to agree that each season of Dexter has its own distinctive feel, which is what keeps it so fresh. This season sees the arrival of a new serial killer, dubbed the Trinity Killer, played by the virtuosic John Lithgow. Lithgow is undoubtedly the star of the season and you will soon find that he illuminates (or should I say darkens) every single scene he is in. He is perhaps the creepiest character ever seen in the show and he even freaks Dexter out! Personally, I think Lithgow's performance makes the show here. Dexter seems to have lost his slick and cunning style we are so used to. This is no reflection on Michael C Hall as he is merely playing his part to perfection as the guy juggling too many balls. Lithgow oozes with cool, disturbia, violence, sympathy and evil all in equal proportions. Perhaps the finest performance by an actor in Dexter history.
I will not reveal any plot twists, as the show relies on them so much, but all I will say is that be prepared for some shocks and twists and turns as per usual with Dexter. The first few episodes are dominated by Dexter trying to balance his new family life with his job and his habit. I thought the baby would feature more heavily in the season but actually it is Astor and Cody who provide the most interest out of the children. There are some logistical changes due to Dexter's need to be at home with Rita all the time (I won't reveal them).
In terms of the other characters, again being careful not to reveal too much, Debra Morgan is given some great material to work with and is featured heavily. Also, I am thankful that she grew her hair back as I think it suits her better. Batista and LaGuerta are a bit wooden in this season and don't seem to be as involved in the main action although they still provide relief from the tension in other stories. Quinn. who arrive in season 3, is developed further in this season and, I think I can say this, is starting to slowly become Dexter's new Sargeant Doakes. Masuka is still providing his crude commentary throughout you will be glad to hear.
I am a Dexter fan who thought, truth be told, that season 3 was the weakest. I thought Miguel Prado was a welcome addition to the team but I thought it did not match up to the first and second seasons. It was only when season 3 got towards the end, ie when Prado became a killer Dexter was trailing, that the show caught fire. Dexter is at its best, for me, when there is a rival killer on the loose which puts Dexter under pressure and you get the whole admiration/hatred dilemma that faced him with the Ice Truck Killer. The 'man hunt' situation is when the show gets really gripping and that was what was missing for me in season 3 but, with Trinity on the loose, season 4 has that vibe again.
As I said, each Dexter season has a distinct feel about it. Comparably, this season is most similar to the first so if you love the first (personally season 2 is my favourite) then you will love this season. The presence of Trinity (though not Dexter's brother) gives the show that tension when you have the rivalling man hunts of the same man pursued by Dexter and his own homicide department. As always, Dexter has to pursue the killer whilst putting his colleagues and sister into an opposite direction. This is when the show is at its best and, with family demands, Dexter is finding this as hard as possible. The juggling act required of him means that Dexter is far more emotionally expressive in this season and loses it at times. There are many dramatic moments in this season and it is truly fantastic. Watch it. You must.