Dexter is an American television drama series. The series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer, hunting down criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system. Set in Miami, the show's first season derived from the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004), the first of the Dexter series novels by Jeff Lindsay. It was adapted for television by screenwriter James Manos, Jr., who wrote the first episode. Subsequent seasons evolved independently of Lindsay's works.
Dexter aired on Showtime from October 1, 2006, to September 22, 2013. In February 2008, reruns (edited down to a TV-14 rating) began to air on CBS, although the reruns on CBS ended after one run of the first season. The series has enjoyed wide critical acclaim and popularity, including four straight Primetime Emmy nominations for Best Drama series in its first four seasons. Season Four aired its season finale on December 13, 2009, to a record-breaking audience of 2.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched original series episode ever on Showtime at that time.
In April 2013, Showtime announced that Season Eight would be the final season of Dexter. The Season Eight premiere was the most watched Dexter episode with more than 3 million viewers total for all airings that night. The original broadcast of the series finale — shown at 9 p.m. on September 22, 2013 — drew 2.8 million viewers, the largest overall audience in Showtime's history.
Series synopsis Orphaned at the age of three and harboring a traumatic secret, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) was adopted by a Miami policeman, Harry Morgan (James Remar), who recognized his homicidal tendencies and taught him to channel his gruesome passion for human dissection in a "constructive" way — by killing only heinous criminals (such as child molesters, mob assassins, and serial killers of the innocent) who have slipped through the justice system. To satisfy his interest in blood and to facilitate his own crimes, Dexter works as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department (based on the real life Miami-Dade Police Department). Although his drive to kill is unflinching, he is able to emulate normal emotions and keep up his appearance as a socially-responsible human being.
Dexter: Early Cuts is an animated web series that premiered on October 25, 2009. Michael C. Hall reprises his role as the voice of Dexter.
KTV Media International Bullseye Art produced and animated the webisodes, working closely with Showtime for sound editing, Interspectacular for direction, and illustrators Kyle Baker, Ty Templeton, Andrés Vera Martínez, and Devin Lawson for creating distinctive illustrations. The webisodes are animated with 2.5D style, where flat 2D illustrations are brought to life in 3D space. The first season was created and written by Dexter producer/writer, Lauren Gussis. She was nominated for a Webby for her writing on the first season.
The first web series precedes the current narrative of the show and revolves around Dexter hunting down the three victims that he mentions in the sixth episode of season one, "Return to Sender". Each victim's story is split into four two-minute chapters.
A second season of the web series titled Dexter: Early Cuts: Dark Echo, one story in six chapters, premiered on October 25, 2010. It was written by Tim Schlattmann and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mack. The story begins immediately following Dexter's adoptive father Harry's death.
Although the series is set in Miami, Florida, many of the exterior scenes are filmed in Long Beach, California. Many landmark buildings and locations in Long Beach are featured throughout the series.
The final episode's airport scene takes place at Ontario International Airport in Ontario, CA.
In preparation for the UK launch of the series, Fox experimented with an SMS-based viral marketing campaign. Created by digital advertising agency Ralph & Co, and promoted by online PR and social media agency Hot Cherry, unsuspecting mobile phone owners received the following unsolicited SMS messages addressed to them by name with no identifying information other than being from "Dexter": "Hello (name). I'm heading to the UK sooner than you might think. Dexter." The SMS-message would be followed by an email directing the user to an online video "news report" about a recent spree of killings. Using on-the-fly video manipulation, the user's name and a personalized message would be worked into the report – the former written in blood on a wall near the crime scene, the latter added to a note in an evidence bag carried past the camera. While the marketing campaign succeeded in raising the profile of the show, it proved unpopular with many mobile owners who saw this as spam advertising aimed at mobile phones. In response to complaints about the SMS element of the campaign, Fox issued the following statement:
"The text message you received was part of an internet viral campaign for our newest show Dexter. However it was not us who sent you the text but one of your friends. We do not have a database of viewer phone numbers. The text message went along with a piece on the net that you can then send on to other people you know. If you go to www.icetruck.tv you will see the page that one of your friends has filled in to send you that message. Therefore I suggest you have a word with anyone who knows your mobile number and see who sent you this message. For the record we did not make a record of any phone numbers used in this campaign."
Taking a BreakEdit
Michael C. Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma while filming season four of Dexter. He took a break from filming to deal with his health issues in which he underwent treatment for cancer and during the procedure, he was noticeably thinner and had lost his hair which he hid with a bandana. Once he announced that he was cancer-free, he resumed filming Dexter.
Cast and crewEdit
Michael C. Hall as Dexter
Jennifer Carpenter as Debra
David Zayas as Angel
James Remar as Harry
C.S. Lee as Vince
Besides Michael C. Hall playing the title character, the show's supporting cast includes Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter's adoptive sister and co-worker (and later boss) Debra, and James Remar as Dexter's adoptive father, Harry. Dexter's co-workers include Lauren Vélez as Lieutenant (later Captain) María LaGuerta, Dexter and Debra's supervisor, David Zayas as Detective Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Angel Juan Marcos Batista, and C. S. Lee as lab tech Vince Masuka (promoted to title credits in Season Two). Erik King portrayed the troubled Sgt James Doakes for the first two seasons of the show. Desmond Harrington joined the cast in Season Three as Joey Quinn; his name was promoted to the title credits as of season four. Geoff Pierson plays Captain Tom Matthews of Miami Metro Homicide. Julie Benz starred as Dexter's girlfriend turned wife Rita in Seasons 1–4 with a guest appearance in Season Five. Rita's children, Astor and Cody, are played by Christina Robinson and Preston Bailey (who replaced Daniel Goldman after the First Season). Dexter's infant son Harrison is played by twins, Evan and Luke Kruntchev through Season Seven. For Season Eight, Harrison was played by Jadon Wells. Aimee Garcia plays Batista's younger sister, Jamie.
Notable appearances in season one are Christian Camargo as the Ice Truck Killer and Mark Pellegrino as Rita's abusive ex-husband Paul. Jaime Murray portrayed Lila Tournay in Season Two, a beautiful but unhinged, know-it-all, British "artist" who becomes obsessed with Dexter. Keith Carradine, as Special FBI Agent Frank Lundy, and Jimmy Smits, as ADA Miguel Prado, each appeared in season-long character arcs in seasons two and three, respectively. David Ramsey, who plays confidential informant Anton Briggs in Season Three, returned in season four, romantically involved with Debra. John Lithgow joined the cast in season four as the "Trinity Killer". Carradine returned in Season Four, reprising his role as newly retired FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy, who was hunting the Trinity Killer. Courtney Ford was featured in Season Four as an ambitious reporter who mixes business with pleasure, getting romantically involved with Joseph while simultaneously fishing for sources and stories. Julia Stiles joined the cast a little later as Lumen Pierce, a woman who gets involved in a complex relationship with Dexter after the tragedy that culminated the previous season. In the Sixth Season, Mos Def was cast as Brother Sam, a convicted murderer turned born-again Christian, and Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks guest-starred as Professor James Gellar and Travis Marshall who were involved in a murderous apocalyptic cult. The seventh and eighth seasons features multiple guest stars including Ray Stevenson, Jason Gedrick, Yvonne Strahovski, and Charlotte Rampling.
Margo Martindale had a recurring role as Camilla, a records office worker who was close friends with Dexter's adoptive parents. JoBeth Williams portrays Rita's suspicious mother, Gail Brandon, in four episodes of Season Two. Anne Ramsay portrayed defense attorney Ellen Wolf, Miguel's nemesis. Valerie Cruz had a recurring role as Miguel's wife, Sylvia. In Season Six, Billy Brown was cast as transferred-in Detective Mike Anderson to replace Debra after her promotion to Lieutenant; Josh Cooke plays Louis Greene, a lab tech and Masuka's intern.
The main creative forces behind the series were executive producers Daniel Cerone, Clyde Phillips and Melissa Rosenberg; Cerone left the show after its Second Season. Coming off a record-setting Season Four finale, executive producer and showrunner Clyde Phillips departed the series to spend more time with his family. 24 co-executive producer Chip Johannessen took over Phillips's post. Head writer Melissa Rosenberg left after season four as well.
After the conclusion of Season Five, it was revealed that Chip Johannessen was leaving the show after a single run and that Scott Buck would take over as showrunner from season six.
Although reception to individual seasons has varied, the response to Dexter has been mostly positive. The review aggregator website Metacritic calculated a score of 77 from a possible 100 for Season 1 based on 27 reviews, making it the third-best reviewed show of the 2006 fall season. This score includes four 100% scores from the New York Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times and People Weekly. Brian Lowry, who had written one of the three poor reviews Metacritic tallied for the show, recanted his negative review in a year-end column for the trade magazine Variety after watching the full season.
The 3th Season finale on December 14, 2008, was watched by 1.51 million viewers, giving Showtime its highest ratings for any of its original series since 2004, when Nielsen started including original shows on premium channels in its ratings. The fourth season finale aired on December 13, 2009 and was watched by 2.6 million viewers. It broke records for all of Showtime's original series and was their highest rated telecast in over a decade. The Fifth Season finale was watched by a slightly smaller number of people (2.5 million). The show was declared the ninth highest rated show for the first ten years of IMDb.com Pro (2002–2012). The seventh season as a whole was the highest rated season of Dexter, watched by 6.1 million total weekly viewers across all platforms.
Awards and nominationsEdit
Dexter was nominated for 23 Primetime Emmy Awards, in the category of Outstanding Drama Series four times in a row, from 2008 to 2011, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for Michael C. Hall) five times in a row, from 2008 to 2012. It has also been nominated for nine Golden Globe Awards (winning two) and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards.
On December 14, 2006, Michael C. Hall was nominated for a Golden Globe Award at the 64th Golden Globe Awards. In 2008, the show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for its second season (Showtime's first ever drama to be nominated for the award), and its star for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. It won neither, losing to Mad Men and to Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston. In 2010, Hall and John Lithgow, in their respective categories, won a Golden Globe for their performances, on the same night, for their work in season four.
In Serbia, Dexter is broadcast on FOX Crime, and it is offered with both English Audio and Serbian subtitles. In France, Dexter is broadcast on Canal+ and it is offered with both English and French audio. In India and Pakistan, Dexter is broadcast on STAR World. In Portugal, Dexter is broadcast on the Portuguese public broadcaster RTP and on the cable TV channel Fox Portugal both in its original version with Portuguese subtitles. In Thailand, the series is broadcast on True Series.
When U.S. network CBS publicly announced in December 2007 that it was considering Dexter for broadcast reruns, the Parents Television Council (PTC) protested the decision. When the network began posting promotional videos of the rebroadcast on YouTube on January 29, 2008, PTC president Timothy F. Winter, in a formal press release, again called for CBS to not broadcast the show on broadcast television, saying that it "should remain on a premium subscription cable network" because "the series compels viewers to empathize with a serial killer, to root for him to prevail, to hope he doesn't get discovered." Winter called on the public to demand that local affiliates preempt Dexter, and warned advertisers that the PTC would take action against any affiliates that sponsored the show.
Following Winter's press release, CBS added parental advisory notices to its broadcast promotions and ultimately rated Dexter TV-14 for broadcast. The show premiered on February 17, 2008, edited primarily for language and scenes containing sex or the dismemberment of live victims. The PTC later objected to CBS' broadcasting of the final two episodes of the first season in a two-hour block, in addition to objections over the starting times of the episodes, which was as early as 8 p.m. in some time zones.
Association with actual crimesEdit
Several comparisons and connections between the TV show and its protagonist have been drawn during criminal prosecutions. Andrew Conley said the show inspired him to strangle his 10-year-old brother. In an affidavit filed in Ohio County court, police said Conley stated that he "watches a show called Dexter on Showtime, about a serial killer, and he stated, 'I feel just like him.'"
In Sweden, a 21-year old woman known as "Dexter-mördaren" (The Dexter killer) or "Dexter-kvinnan" (The Dexter woman) killed her 49-year old father by stabbing him in the heart. During questioning, the woman compared herself to Dexter and a picture of the character would appear on her phone when her father called her. In July 2011, she was sentenced to seven years in prison.
In Norway, Shamrez Khan hired Håvard Nyfløt to kill Faiza Ashraf—Nyfløt claimed that Dexter inspired him and he wanted to kill Khan in front of Faiza, similar to the television series, to "stop evil".
Prosecutors compared Christopher Scott Wilson to Dexter when they charged him with the February 2010 first-degree murder of Mackenzie Cowell.
Association was established between Mark Twitchell, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, during his first-degree murder trial, and the character of Dexter Morgan. After weeks of testimony and gruesome evidence presented in court, Twitchell was found guilty of the planned and deliberate murder of 38-year-old Johnny Altinger on April 12, 2011.