“Dexter: New Blood”

“Darkly Dreaming Dexter,” the first in a series of novels written by Jeff Lindsay, was published on July 20, 2004, by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. As of the writing of this post, there are eight books in the series, the last one “Dexter Is Dead,” was published on July 7, 2015. The first episode of “Dexter” premiered on Showtime, on October 1, 2006. Based on Lindsay’s “Darkly Dreaming Dexter, after the first season, subsequent seasons were created by the writers of the series. Showtime aired, what fans thought, was the final episode of “Dexter,” on September 22, 2013.Like other popular series such as “The Sopranos,” and “Game of Thrones,” the final episode of “Dexter” received a largely disappointing reaction by the fan base, who didn’t think it was given a proper send off. On November 7, 2021, the character of vigilante, serial killer, Dexter Morgan returned in the ten episode mini-series “Dexter: New Blood.”  I too, was not enamored with the original ending of one my all time favorite shows, but based on some trailers I had seen, as well as some on-line interviews, and articles I read, I had a feeling the revival of Dexter wasn’t going to disappoint.

Far from the sultry, summer days in Miami, Florida, Dexter Morgan, now lives under the assumed name Jim Lindsay, and resides in upstate, New York, in the town of Iron Lake. The character of  Dexter / Jim, who I’ll refer to from this point forward only as Dexter, is completely embodied by Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall, (Six Feet Under) just as he was in the original series. Formerly a blood splatter analyst for the homicide division of the Miami Metro Police Department, Dexter now sells outdoor sporting goods. He appears to be well liked by the people in the community, and he has a new love interest, Iron Lake’s Sheriff, Angela Bishop (Julia Jones). Fans of the original series will be pleased that Dexter’s late sister, Debra, portrayed in a compelling manner, by Saturn Award winner, Jennifer Carpenter (Ballistic), returns, as Dexter’s imaginary conscience, and assumes the role that was provided, in the original series, by Dexter’s father Harry, who was played by James Remar, (also a recipient of the Saturn Award). (As an aside: The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, have been giving the Saturn Award Annually since 1972.  Jennifer Carpenter won the Saturn for Best Supporting Actress, in 2009, for her work on the original Dexter series. James Remar won a Lifetime Achievement Award  in 2012, that he shared with Frank Oz, who is perhaps most famous for voicing the character of Yoda, in various Star Wars productions).  

In the intervening years, since the original “Dexter” series, Dexter has maintained a “Dark Passenger” free life. In order to give himself a vicarious thrill, and get his heart pumping, he stalks  a white buck, through the snow covered wilderness of Iron Lake. Although not spoken directly, it is alluded to that his stalking of the buck, is something that has become part of his routine. Unfortunately for Dexter, a spoiled brat by the name of Matt Caldwell (Steve M. Robertson), who Dexter had refused to sell a gun to earlier in the episode, because Matt didn’t want to wait for the background check, shoots and kills the white buck. Dexter flips out, and in turn, kills Matt. Now it has all started again for him. He’s been out of practice, and it shows, as he’s even perplexed, as to what to do with the body, and he initially slips up, when it comes to concealing incriminating evidence. 

The problem with killing someone like Matt Caldwell, is that it isn’t a murder that is going to go unnoticed or receive minimal attention. Wealthy business man, Kurt Caldwell, portrayed by consummate actor, Clancy Brown (Billions), is Matt’s father. He is someone who is very well known, respected, and not only employs a number of people in Iron Lake, but when money is needed for various things in the community, he doesn’t hesitate to pay. Although Kurt takes actions that makes it look like he’s not that concerned with finding his son, who is now considered a missing person, in truth, he is not giving up on finding out exactly what happened to Matt. According to the local bartender, Kurt comes in every few months, gets inebriated, and dances to the 1961, international hit song “Runaway” sung by Grammy Hall of Fame Award winner, and 1999, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Del Shannon. Viewers will quickly learn, however, that there is more to Kurt than his being a  jocular, benevolent business man.   

Compounding problems for Dexter, is the arrival of his son, Harrison (Jack Alcott). His step-mother, Dexter’s former love interest, Hannah McKay, a role acted by Golden Globe and two time Emmy nominee Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale), has passed away. Harrison discovers a letter Dexter had written Hannah, and decided to go in search of his father. Further complications arrive for Dexter, in the person of Molly Park (Jamie Chung), who runs a successful podcast devoted to serial killers. She’s investigating the disappearance of Matt Caldwell. If that weren’t enough, Angela takes a trip to a law enforcement conference in Manhattan, where she has a conversation with one of the guest speakers, Captain Angel Batista (David Zayas). The former lieutenant, and one of the only people Dexter considered a real friend, lets information slip, that makes Angela’s mind go into overdrive. She is already fixated on the high number of missing young girls that have disappeared from Iron Lake and the surrounding areas, the pictures of which take up an entire corkboard in her office. (As an aside: Strahovski, like Carpenter, also won a Saturn Award for her work on Dexter).

                                                                                                         

Will Harrison, now a teenager, turn out to have the same killer drives as his father? Can Dexter help him to control his urges, like Harry did for him, when he was that age? Who is responsible for the disappearances of the young girls? Is it someone obvious, or someone no one would ever suspect? What information did Angel impart to Angela? How does the information impact, if at all, the way she views Dexter? All of those questions and more will be answered by the conclusion of the final episode.

“Dexter: New Blood”  is parts crime, drama, and mystery. The series was created by three time Emmy nominee Clyde Phillips (Nurse Jackie). Six of the series episodes were directed by two time Emmy winner Marcos Siega (You), and four of them by Sanford Bookstaver (Chicago Fire). After the airing of the final episode, when the ratings numbers were tallied, “Dexter: New Blood” became the most watched series in Showtime’s history, averaging eight million viewers per episode. Trivia Buffs take note: Erik King, who played Sergeant, James Doakes in the original “Dexter” series, is the voice of the truck driver who drops Harrison off, when he first arrives at Iron Lake. The line “tonight’s the night,” which Dexter speaks after his first kill in “Dexter: New Blood,” was the first line ever spoken in the original “Dexter” series.

I can safely write, ‘way to go Showtime’. There was a certain element of risk, in reviving a beloved show, and trying to give it the proper send off, that I, and all of the Dexter fans, had been clamoring for. While the fan boy (man), in me, was not particularly keen on the closing moments of the new series, for my own selfish reasons, I can’t deny that the ending this time around, was far superior to its predecessor. I am not interested in a rumored spin off show featuring Harrison. I have nothing against Jack Alcott, an actor I was not familiar with, prior to the series, but the character didn’t grab me in the right way, and make me want to watch more. In closing, dramatic, intense, poignant, and mysterious, are all words I would use to describe my overall feelings on a very well executed series.

About robbinsrealm

I was born in Smithtown, New York, and grew up, worked, and lived in various areas of Long Island before moving to Boca Raton, Florida where I now make my home. In addition to being an aspiring writer, I am also an English teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. In my spare time you will find me engrossed in books, watching movies, socializing with friends, or just staying active.
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5 Responses to “Dexter: New Blood”

  1. terrepruitt says:

    My husband and I were really into this and watched it regularly way back when. And I can’t remember why we stopped. We watch things so many different ways I can’t remember whether we were watching it as it came out or if we were watching it later and had to wait for the seasons to drop. I also think something might have happened that annoyed me . . . someone died or something. I don’t know. But then I decided I wanted to watch it again, but never got up the courage . . . it is very stressful. And now I think it is on Netflix and since they just went up to $20 we cancelled it. TV/shows/whatever are just not worth it nowadays.

    • robbinsrealm says:

      The library in my town, has all of the seasons, minus the one I reviewed, on DVD. If you’re interested in continuing with the series, see if you’re library might have the seasons on DVD.

      • terrepruitt says:

        I think I can watch it on one of the many streaming services we have. I always want to, but then I remember how stressful it was. It was very stressful. But I think part of that was people not knowing, but that was resolved. It is a stressful show!!!

  2. Peggy Marie says:

    I liked it as a absolute final ending as well – well written and agree – no more, no spinoffs as the son just didn’t embody the dark humour that was Dexter as well.

    • robbinsrealm says:

      Yes, as a final ending, compared to the way the original series ended, I agree with you.

      I can’t see a spinoff, unless they come up with something really interesting. As I wrote in the review, the character of Harrison doesn’t do it for me. I would probably only watch if Michal C. Hall was going to be in every episode, as a ghost, like Harry was for him.

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