Monday, February 18, 2008

'Dexter' Delivers a Prime Cut

By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer

“Tonight’s the night … and it’s going to happen again and again.”

And boy is it.

At least for the next 12 weeks or so.

Dexter made its debut on CBS Sunday night, and if it weren’t for a few hardly even noticeable edits (detectable, I think, only to those of us who have watched it on Showtime), one would think the show should have always been part of the CBS lineup.

It is a perfect fit.

And the fact it is currently following PTR fave Cold Case makes it even more of a bonus.

It’s also a first.

The first original premium cable series to be added to a regular ol’ network’s slate of programming and broadcast an entire season in its entirety.

The first series whereby our hero is a serial killer that is irresistibly likable – moral, conscientious, an all around good guy except for that particular disposition.

I cannot bring myself to call Dex’s state of mind an illness (or sickness). He’s more like a Dark Avenger – working for the Miami Metro Police Department’s forensic division as a blood splatter specialist whilst channeling his desires into cleaning up what the hardworking detectives of the department don’t always (and can’t always) get to do. And given the show is set in Miami, the epitome of the oft-used real estate phrase “light, bright and airy,” the show is an ingenious contradiction of darkness vs. light.

Good vs. Evil.

A blurring of the line on both sides.

Since we don’t live in an ideal world, whereby the police always get the bad guys and/or the folks out there who do some seriously horrible (read: unthinkable) things, having Dexter around is like a bonus – and he doesn’t even have to change into a special uniform in a phone booth, or worry about having his cape dry cleaned on occasion.

No, just selected tools of the trade (nice knife set, by the way), and an incredibly meticulous and conscientious approach to selecting his victims. But as isolated as Dex seems to think he is given his constant inner-struggle to … well, keep himself a neat and tidy monster, he’s actually not an island unto himself – no matter how much he tries to be one.

He’s got more going on in his life at the moment than Lilly Rush.

And it isn't just his victims.

Foster father Harry (the always good James Remar) – portrayed in aptly timed flashbacks, we come to know Harry as a top-drawer cop for Miami from back in the day and of whom recognized Dex’s condition from an early age, taught him how to control the inevitable.

Sister Deb (portrayed brilliantly by Jennifer Carpenter) – the struggling Vice cop desperate to get off the streets and into homicide, desperate to find some semblance of self-confidence to take herself to that next level in her career. She and Dex are as tight as any brother and sister could be. Does she know who he really is? No. And that is what makes it all the more interesting

Girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz) – as emotionally unsure as Dex whilst being just as sweet and charming. Having been abused, beaten, violated and all-things horrid by her crack addict ex-husband, you find yourself asking, can she and Dex be any more of a perfectly awkward asexual pair? It’s. Just. Genius.

Sergeant Doakes (Erik King) – the only one in the entire Miami Metro Police Department who thinks there is something just a little “off” about ol’ Dex … hmmm, coincidence? Just wait until Season 2.

Lieutenant Laguerta (Lauren Velez) – as Lil' and Co. might say, she’s a “political case,” earning her appointment to be in charge more so for her ability to appear in front of the cameras than her abilities as a homicide cop. Let’s just say Cold Case's Lieutenant Stillman could run circles around this girl.

Detective Angel Batista (David Zayas) – just the solid good cop trying to make his home life and work life mesh ... gee, where have we heard that one before?

Masuka (C.S. Lee) – purely comic relief. Weirder than Dex – at least on the surface. He's like a cross between a Star Trek geek and a Saw fanatic

This diverse cast of characters gives the show what I call its own split personality.

On the one hand, it’s about Dex. He’s secret life. He’s challenge to exist amongst those who know nothing of him. To keep to the code. Not get caught. Cover his tracks. Blend in.

Feed his inner-monster.

On the other hand, the show is about the inner-nuances of life in Miami Metro homicide. The personalities. The problems. The politics. The people. The cases that make all of them work together.

As seen through the eyes of Dexter Morgan.

With the murder solve rate at about 20% in Miami, well … Dex is in the right place at the right time.

And so are we.

The first season of Dexter airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on CBS. Check out Showtime's official Dexter Web site for the inside scoop on the series.

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