Sunday, 24 February 2013

Dexter series 7, on Fox UK, with Michael C Hall PREVIEW

Michael C Hall and Jennifer Carpenter in Dexter 7
Dexter's secret is out – can he save his relationship with Debra? Pics: Fox
Rating: ★★★★

Fox UK: starts Sunday, 24 February, 9pm

Story: Dexter's world is coming apart after his stepsister, Debra, discovered his secret life as a killer. Will he run away and abandon his life and young son, Harrison, or can he turn things around?

Series six finished on a knife edge, so to speak, with our favourite serial killer's secret being brutally exposed. After six years of covering his dark side, Dexter was caught in the act of killing fellow serial murderer Travis Marshall.

Dexter (Michael C Hall) in episode 1 of series 7
Dexter's caught in the act
By his stepsister, Debra, no less, the one person Dex did not want to hurt. Deb stood in the church with eyes on stalks as Dexter plunged his knife into Travis. Detective Debra wants to call it in, suggesting Dexter claim a temporary loss of sanity.

But Dexter – and the viewers – know this was no one-off. He initially talks her round – after all, Travis was a loathsome killer who got what he deserved. Debra agrees Dexter should make it look like suicide and burn down the church.

Will Debra believe Dexter?
But the questions keep nagging Debra – why was Dexter wearing an apron and plastic sleeves? Why the elaborate knife kit? Why was Travis neatly pinned to the altar with plastic sheeting? Hardly an impulse kill…

The opening episode of this latest series is packed with drama as we see Dexter on the back foot throughout – for once the predator and master fake nice guy has lost control. The question for the series is that now the character's charade is over, will the drama run out of steam?

It has happened with other successful series. Once Maddie and David got together in Moonlighting, for example, the show lost its dramatic tension.

Dexter held at gunpoint by Debra in episode 1 of series 7
Dex has some explaining to do to Deb
Dexter's finale will come in series 8
In fact, that the series' premise was perhaps being stretched too far was confirmed by executive producer Sara Colleton's apparent desire to make this the final season for the show. However, Showtime, the US cable network behind the series, have convinced the producers to make series eight the last shout (going out Stateside this June).

On the evidence of the opening two episodes of this season, Dexter shows no signs of staleness yet. Michael C Hall, who has won a Golden Globe and other awards for his portrayal as the smooth but very deadly operator, is still great in the role, and the tension remains high.

Debra is starting to fear Dexter – she realises the Ice Truck Killer had a similar MO to Dexter's at the church, and when detective Mike Anderson is killed by a Ukrainian gangster who has a dead stripper in the boot of his car, Debs can help seeing Dexter involved somehow.



Jeff Lindsay's Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C Hall in Dexter 7
Seeing eye to eye? Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C Hall
There's the additional complication of Dexter finding his babysitter's boyfriend, Louis, suspiciously using his laptop to 'check the basketball scores'. 'The more I know you, the weirder you get,' she tells Louis. Quite. In addition, Deb's boss LaGuerta finds the slide containing a sample of Travis's blood at the burned-out church – Dexter having left behind his traditional trophy from a crime scene.

Dexter has always been implausible, but Jeff Lindsay's clever, delightfully written novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, which inspired the series, is satirical, subversive and darkly entertaining. An acquired taste, for sure, but the series has been a deserved huge success for Showtime, with the last season reaching 6.1 million weekly viewers in America.

Clean-cut Dexter has been riveting. With his empty feelings, his barbed commentary on the world around him and his aversion to animals, what's not to like?

Cast: Michael C Hall Dexter Morgan, Jennifer Carpenter Debra Morgan, Desmond Harrington Joey Quinn, C S Lee Vince Masuka, Lauren Vélez María LaGuerta, David Zayas Angel Batista, James Remar Harry Morgan

Read on: Showtime Dexter
Dexter the game
Fox UK Dexter