Given the jaw-dropping highs of season four of Dexter
, which ended with one of the best finales of a TV show in recent memories, it’s somewhat inevitable that expectations would be set unreasonably high for season five of the show. And certainly, if you’re looking for the kind of rug pulls and sheer tension of season four, then you might conclude that season five falls just a teeny bit short.
But only just. For the creative team behind Dexter are no fools, and with season five, they’ve taken their show about a serial killer who just happens to be on the police payroll to some continually interesting places.
The masterstroke with regards season five of the show is the introduction of a new character. In this case, it’s Lumen Pierce, playing by the terrific Julia Stiles. Unsurprisingly, Stiles attracted awards-attention for her work here, and it’s her character who witnesses the actions of Dexter, and the ramifications unfold from there.
It’s still Michael C Hall’s amazing portrayal of Dexter Morgan that grounds the show, though, and he combines likeability and menace with worrying skill. It’s this combination that makes Dexter such a wonderfully tricky show to watch at times, and also adds an unpredictability that helps make this one of the best dramas on television.
Dexter season five wisely tries not to be better than season four, rather different, and it’s a strategic choice that pays off handsomely. It also leaves things in an interesting place for season six, and for the further adventures of television’s most compelling serial killer. In this case, that has to be a good thing. --Jon Foster