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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 August 2014
If I describe this excellent series it will sound worse than it is so please do not be put off from trying it.

Dexter, a forensic `blood splatter analyst' for the Miami Police, is a secret `controlled sociopath'.

A sociopath is a person with a currently untreatable mental condition whereby they have no conscience, remorse or sympathy to restrain selfish, destructive or violent impulses.

It is of course easy for someone like that to become a criminal and many do.

However, many others, the controlled sociopaths like Dexter, while realising they are different, learn to live mostly unnoticed among us, mimicking our behaviour so as not to stand out. Such people are restrained in their conduct not by any solid sense of morality or sympathy for others, but by learning that life is easier if they work within society's laws and morality; or at least, to seem to do so enough not to be caught.

In Dexter's case his adoptive father, a policeman, recognised early on that Dexter was a sociopath, but instead of disowning him taught him to direct his more violent and destructive impulses in a way that is, arguably, better both for Dexter and for society than if he had become a straight criminal. By night he secretly tracks down and eliminates murderers, rapists and such like he encounters in his day job as a scientist with the Miami Police Department who are clearly guilty but who cannot be convicted under the law with all its procedural safeguards.

I know that probably sounds terrible, but, as I have said, it will sound worse than it is so please do not be put off from trying Dexter. You may well find you like him; indeed while you might not expect to like a serial killer, Dexter is actually easier to like than the hero of `Breaking Bad' with which this series is often compared.

Particularly good among the cast are Julie Benz as Dexter's shy and vulnerable girlfriend (here playing a very different character from her other best known role as Darla the vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel) and Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter's policewoman sister Debra [wrong spelling of the name in my opinion but let that pass]. Both are attached to Dexter but neither knows about his darker, secret life. Like many sociopaths, knowing most people could not take the truth about him, hiding in plain sight has become second nature to Dexter.

Anyone who becomes interested in the subject of controlled sociopaths may want to check out Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight by ME Thomas (a pseudonym) and her blog socipathworld.com. She is a former assistant professor of law who is a diagnosed controlled sociopath herself. She said that this first Season of Dexter while not quite 100% accurate is was so close she suspected there was a sociopath among the script writers (she suggested if one of the writers had a CV that looked 'too perfect' it would probably be them). She thought later Seasons became somewhat less accurate as a portrayal of a sociopath but that it was still a good programme.

The novel on which this series is based, Jeff Lindsay's 'Darkly Dreaming Dexter' is also really good.
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on 16 April 2009
I had heard of Dexter when it was shown on FX on Sky and was wondering if they would have it on normal tv which they did on ITV 1. But due to really late times at night, I fell asleep during many of the epsodies which really annoyed me. So on my birthday, I went to get it and had finally finished it last night savouring every single one. Dexter is a serial killer with a heart, caring for his foul-mouthed but sweet foster sister and being the boyfriend of a beaten woman with two kids that he really adores. But behind the scenes, he kills only the bad people and tries to be semi normal around Doakes who is very suspious of him. With a shocking serial killer called The Ice Truck Killer, Dexter dosent' realise that this person is going to be hugely involved in his life and everything that he holds dear could be in total danger. It's excellent, twisted, shocking at times, gory, sexy and just good fun. Every epsoide has some dark laughs and brilliant pefomances from the stars inculding Michael C Hall who was outstanding in Six Feet Under. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a series with twists and turns only to be warned that it's qutie gory and you may eat a lot because he surely does! A perfect buy.
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on 4 September 2008
Here we go again. Another CSI clone. Haven't we seen this all before? Well actually, not quite. There is nothing quite like Dexter.

Dexter Morgan (played by the outstanding Michael C. Hall) is a blood splatter analyst. Dexter is also a serial killer, or occasional killer, who kills the criminals who escape justic by administering some of his own.

Dexter was a troubled boy, adopted as a toddler and gaining a sister, (played by the fiery Jennifer Carpenter) with whom he now works along side, and brought up by an honest cop, who realised that Dexter was no ordinary thinking boy. Using knowledge and techniques shown to him by his father, Dexter has forged a 'career' as a very tidy and neat monster, as well as being a brilliant forensic analyst.

When attending a crime scene in sunny Miami, Dexter is shocked to be told that there is no blood for him to examine here. With surgical precision, a body has been dismembered and almost presented perfectly, waiting to be discovered. Neatly wrapped body parts leave Dexter with a challenge - to improve his own killing technique and to find the one who becomes known as 'The Ice Truck Killer'.

There are many more twists and turns as the story unfolds and we discover much more about Dexter, and that he is an emotionless character much of the time, and very quiet, almost to the point of becoming an outcast and occasionally exploding in a crescendo of violence. Despite the madness and murder, Dexter has gained respect from most of his collegues whilst hiding the fact that he has a murderous evening and weekend job. Of course there is dark humour to lift the mood slightly, only before letting the viewer plunge back into the hellish psyche of the Miami serial killer division.

Dexter is a meticulously crafted modern television masterpiece, eclipsing our very own 'Waking The Dead' and leaving a bitter sweet taste in the mouth that leaves you wanting so much more.
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on 27 February 2009
Read the book before watching the series and for once, the T.V. version is much better.Dexter is a complicated character played with great panache by Michael C Hall who really brings the character to life on the screen. - The fact that he's "easy on the eye" is an added bonus! While the viewer knows that Dexter is basically a murdering vigilante and what he does is against the law one can't but help liking him and even empathising with his way of thinking and actions.The use of voiceover from Dexter gives the viewer further insights into his character and way of thinking. The cast of secondary characters are also interesting and several story lines weave their way through this excellent series.From the extremely imaginative opening credits - totally in keeping with the flavour of the show - I was completely hooked on this series from the very first episode and can't wait to see how Dexter develops in series 2, currently being shown on T.V. here in the U.K.
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on 10 May 2008
Is it ok to want a serial killer to "win"?

People who watched this on tv must have felt tortured. I watched all 2 seasons within about 5 days while on holiday, and I can't imagine having had the patience to have had it drip-fed just once a week. It is very, very, *very* compelling. It'll get compared to other things (CSI, Criminal Minds, Silence of the Lambs) and the comparisons are justified, because it has all those facets in it, but where this veers off the standard path is its strength.

There are myriad procedural cop shows; plenty of charismatic serial killers; lots and lots of shows which aren't afraid to show bloody gore... but none of them have a serial killer as protagonist - much less one you're rooting for. Michael C Hall is wholly likeable - he has one of those faces - and his performance is excellent, but it's more than that.

Apparently in the States there has been much controversy surrounding the notion that a serial killer would be portrayed as a sympathetic character. It makes sense: serial killers bad. Were this "real life", the fall out for police institutions would be monumental. But, it *isn't* real life. This is television, where the most extraordinary things occur, and for the hour you're watching Dexter, you'll need to suspend your disbelief a little.

He starts off as almost an automaton. Somewhere along the way, there's a shift, and you see that he does actually have feelings. I'm not sure whether that was done in order to make him slightly more palatable and sympathetic, or whether his emotions are gradually released as his story is told. And his story, his history, is a doozy.

The comedy comes from his voice-over narrative. Dry, sardonic, witty. Everyone in the world - barring one Detective Doakes - sees the mask Dexter has built, but we get to see beyond it. We are allowed into the mind of this man: Dexter the blood spatter analyst will laugh at a joke someone has told; Dexter the serial killer tells us in a monotone voice that he understands the idea of laughing, but doesn't get what it's actually for. Dexter, brother and friend, will respond with an enthusiatic "Yeah!"; Dexter the man who kills people, in his oddly hypnotic voice, says no.

Season 1 focuses on the hunt for "The Ice Truck Killer", and it's a twisty turny thing. The final revelation is outrageously preposterous, but by then, you're hooked and willing to believe anything. It's also wonderfully, wonderfully done. The music where you discover the identity of the killer is perhaps the most effective piece of music I've heard on a tv show. Emotive, haunting strings that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Interestingly, this music is played alongside season 2's closing credits, so it must have proved popular. Not surprising, as it really is an exceptionally beautiful composition.

All the supporting cast are fantastic. It took until the middle of season 2 to not abjectly despise Dexter's sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) anymore, and have heard many people say the same, so if she irritates you, give her time: she may grow on you. All the others, though, are superb. Two, in particular, deserve special mention. David Zayas as Detective Angel Batista is an absolute joy. If Dexter were to have a friend, Angel would be the person. He's warm, funny, and has the kindness of a puppy. That someone like him would adore Dexter in some ways gives us permission to, also.

Equally, Julie Benz, as Dexter's girlfriend Rita, is especially wonderful. I've seen her dotted about, but in my head she was, and would always be, Darla. Not anymore. Her performance is understated and deep and if there's one person you're rooting for more than Dexter, it's her. Her two children are equally besotted with Dexter, and if kids like someone, you know they're good.

That seems to be the Hollywood rule: if kids - who see everything - like someone, you know that deep down, they're a good person. And perhaps Dexter is. He has a conscience, he doesn't kill innocent people, his pathology is gradually explained (if not justified) and he's been trained to do what he does. He really is, in many ways, a soldier. Indoctrinated from the age of 3 onwards. You'll catch yourself asking that sometimes: is he a good guy?

The season finale goes some way to answering that question, but maybe the answer is arbitrary. It's certainly the question I'm left with, and think about. That and when oh when oh when is season 3 starting.
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on 23 August 2013
Well presented as a box set and as for the content, the show immediately grabbed my attention and hasn't let go since although the end is nearing with season 8 (the final one) being almost over! The running plot line and character development really work together, and you soon have your favourite character. None of them are weak, they're all excellent and they really develop as the seasons go on. Continue watching, you will not regret it as it's hard to find tv shows like these where the quality remains high!

P.s. Breaking bad is also another definite to watch!
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on 10 March 2008
Initially my expectations were low. The premise seemed ludicrous and I assumed the show would be a pale imitation of past productions from HBO. I could not have been more wrong.

Dexter is funny, quirky and engaging. While it may be absurd at times, the show is always engaging. In spite of his murderous tendencies, Dexter is very sympathetic. As well, the other characters are equally compelling. We soon learn that Dexter isn't the only person keeping secrets. No one is exactly who they appear to be. The writing is first rate and the Florida setting is inspired. This production has a highly developed visual sense and will appeal to a broad range of viewers.

Highly recommended.
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on 3 December 2008
In recent years with the emergence of shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, 24, The Shield, Lost, Smallville, Brotherhood, Prison Break i hear about yet another American show thats meant to be outstanding. But Dexter isnt outstanding. Its more than outstanding. Its a show which has simply redefined Police dramas. Its a show which over the 1st 2 seasons has just kept on getting better with each episode, leaving you on a cliffhanger on one episode but never letting you down in the next. Dexter is a magnificent character and someone you instantly like but also scares you at his most gruesome nature. A truly great cast with outstanding storylines, outstanding characters and an unnerving ability to keep you hooked from first episode to last. For anyone who is even thinking about giving this show a miss, GET A GRIP. Now for the most important question, How does America keep producing shows to this quality?
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2007
This is an amazing show!
The narrating, the direction of the show and characters are amazing.
I haven't been this entertained in years! This goes straight to the top of list! It's fresh and doesn't smell of "knock off of C.S.I".
It would highly recommend this, if you love Sopranos, and even though this doesn't deal with the mob at all its still one of the best shows to hit the screen!
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on 30 December 2008
And you thought santa had his list...

Okay so you've got your CSI, NCIS and even Midsomer Murders. Now meet Dexter. Okay so its based on the novels by Jeff Lindsay, but this is orignal programming that is frighteningly addictive (and this is from somone who is sqeemish!). Even on missing the pilot episode and watching from episode 2 I still found myself drawn so far into this. At that time I still had'nt got much of a clue what was going on but still, it was erelvent! I was lucky enough to see Season 2 on FX before its realease on to terrestrial tv and it did not disapoint one bit. Im waiting in anticipation at the release of season 3 here in the UK. Untill them do yourself a favour, by this along with the equally good season 2 and have some faith restored in modern day tv writers!
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