The Dexter Code

I love “Dexter”.  It has always, in my mind, taken the over saturated concept of the Police Procedural and turned it on its head.  For those of you not in the know (who very well f*cking should be) “Dex” is about a crime lab technician who is secretly a serial killer; he is a genuine psychopath whose father trained him to only kill really bad people.  Built around that concept is a fantastic ensemble cast, including Dexter’s profane sister (Jenifer Carpenter), his hilariously pervy lab partner Vince (C.S. Lee) and several well-rounded police characters. The show has fantastic writing that always balances tension, humor and humanity in ways that can still surprise you, even in the fifth season.

That being said, I’m starting to notice a pattern developing that seems to be consistent with every single season (so far).  Major spoilers ahead for those who aren’t caught up,but if you are a Dex fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Every season seems to center around Dexter forming a new relationship with someone; another  psychopath with whom he deludes himself into thinking he can reveal his true nature to. The general arc of the season peaks with him realizing how bad this person is, and ends with Dex getting rid of them. Season 1: Ice Truck Killer; 2) Crazy British Rehab Bitch; 3) District Attorney Jimmy Smits; 4) Trinity; and, in this season, Julia Stiles’ character is starting to nicely fit into this paradigm.

Along with this, there is always some Main Bad Guy that the Miami Metro Police are after. Sometimes it’s Dex’s buddy, but it’s always someone.  Here we go: Season 1) Ice Truck Killer 2) Dexter himself 3)The Skinner 4) Trinity, and in season five, we got the La Muerta gang, decapitating people.

And, lastly, there is Dexter’s sis, Deb.  Every season she seems to get into a romantic/sexual relationship with someone who ends up f*cking her up, emotionally.  In Season one, she actually got engaged to the Ice Truck Killer.  In season two, she dated older FBI Special Agent Lundy who dropped her ass as soon as his Miami case was solved. Season three, her man was captured and tortured by the skinner, causing her to blame herself.  Season four, she gets back with Lundy (who she truly loves) only to see him murdered before her eyes.  Lastly, this year, she’s banging Quinn.  He is, by far, the closest thing she’s had to a normal guy, but he is out to get her brother; I don’t think it’s gonna end well.

In short:

(Dexter+Crazy F*cker)x(Deb/Shitty Relationship) / Main Villain Hunt = X

X= Good Season anyway

I hate to  seem like I’m picking on the show, because I do love it. But it is starting seem like the writers always use that formula when writing a new season. It is actually to their credit that, five seasons in, I’m just now noticing this; and it really doesn’t matter, because it’s that good anyway.

Tonight’s ball-out fantastic episode is proof of that. Tense, thrillingly plotted, and having the usual episode-ending Dexter monologue being inter-cut with Masuka miming auto-erotic asphyxiation was an all-time comedic high for the show.  I’m GIFing that as soon as I can. Expect to see it here frequently.

One response to “The Dexter Code

  1. Dexter is one of my favorite shows on television right now, last season was so compelling and I missed it for days after it was over. It’s true, there’s definitely a Dexter formula, which you’ve laid out nicely. But when I think about it, the show is based on a series of novels, so I can see how it originated. And I suppose like a good genre thriller, it’s not about changing the medium, it’s about riveting us despite having a pretty good idea how things will generally pan out.

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