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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Murder > TV > Dexter: The Complete Third Season (2008/Showtime Blu-ray)

Dexter: The Complete Third Season (2008/Showtime Blu-ray)


Picture: A-     Sound: A-     Extras: C-     Episodes: B+



With a slash, cut, and a bang; Dexter hacks its way back onto Blu-ray.  The insanely (and I stress insane) inventive series has seemingly gotten better with each passing season; reinventing and reimagining the internal torment that is Dexter.  Season 1 helped to develop the character and show the world his motivations; no matter how deranged.  Season 2 evolved into “the hunter becoming the hunted,” as our favorite serial killer was being tracked down for his “misdeeds” as Dexter’s internal conflict became all too apparent to the suspicious Sgt. Doakes.  Whereas it may have been understandable to think that after Season’s 1 and 2 the series may have cut-off itself off, not leaving two legs to stand on; the writer’s amazingly pull the shower curtain back at full force, launching one of the best seasons of the series yet.


Season 1 and Season 2 saw the dismissal of a number of vital characters that gave the series structure and a griping presence; but Season 3 manages to engineer a new fascinating twist on the same old Dexter we know and love.  The series has never so much been about the cases or murders or conflicting characters; but rather each moment of the landmark series is an emphasis on Dexter’s internal struggle and facing his demons.  Season 3 introduces us to Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado; played by none other than the dynamic Jimmy Smits.  Smits character, Miguel Prado, plays a dual role on the series as he not only becomes Dexter’s trusted friend, but also embodies the role previously held by Sgt. Doakes as he gets glimpses of the Dexter that hides behind forensic mask.  At first it seems improbable that Dexter and an Assistant District Attorney could ever have such a sudden and close relationship; but through some creative writing when Dexter kills Prado’s brother in self defense, they are forever linked.  Whereas most followers of the series would think it unimaginable that Dexter could trust in a person so quickly after spending years in his dark solidarity; the relationship quickly evolves as the season twists and turns, showing how a few epic events can drastically change the course of one’s history.


The Assistant District Attorney discovers that Dexter, the quiet boy scout of a forensic expert, has killed a drug dealer named Freebo (a man Prado assumes is his brother’s killer) and suddenly finds justice in his actions; giving the two men a link of camaraderie and a means to be one another’s confidantes.  At this point your jaw hits the floor with how brilliant the series has become and how in one foul swoop new life was breathed back into one of the best series on television.  Each episode explodes with surprises that an audience will never see coming and the chemistry between Michael C. Hall’s Dexter and Jimmy Smits Prado is undeniable.  Whereas the other character’s on the series do compliment the story arcs and give a degree of substance; for the most part they are stuck in their whinny, formulaic roles that they have had since the first season and it is Hall and Smits this season that steal the show.  It is in no way that the characters of Dexter’s sister Deb or his girlfriend Rita are bad; it is just how Hall’s character steals every scene.  The camera is focused on him, your eyes are focused on him, and the tension is built around him.  The best moments for Dexter are as time is slowly ticking away and you anxiously froth over what is going to happen next.  Fortunately, even after a number of close cuts and time ticks away Dexter is going nowhere as the series has a strangle hold on an undying audience.


The features on this Blu-ray really know how to cut it up as this release of Dexter does a wonderful job, once again, of projecting a solid picture and sound quality that many television series have yet to accomplish.  The Blu-ray’s 1.78 X 1 image is once again presented in a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encoded picture that demonstrates a clear, crisp image, bright colors, solid inky blacks, deep textures and an overall quality that continues to hurdle off the screen.  This release has less grain than previous seasons, but it is apparent that the certain degree of on screen grittiness is intended and gives the series a certain “je ne sais quoi.”  The sound is presented in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and Spanish 2.0 Surround Tracks that possess a fluidly dynamic full of range as the crisp voices come from the front and ambient noises and the atmospheric musical scores project from the back.  The sound is a step in the right direction for Dexter; whereas the previous Blu-ray releases’ were nice, this season is noticeably well done.


The extras are lackluster as ever for this great series.  Showtime underwhelmingly offers up Dexter by Design (Book Excerpts), the first two episodes of United States of Tara: Season 1, and first two episodes of The Tudors: Season 3. In the only good extra there are Interviews with Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez & David Zayas; which gives some solid insight into how the series works, why it works, and the degree of chemistry that exists between the entirety of the cast.


I have said it before and I will say it again, the series just keeps getting better.  The series is masterful and there is only more greatness.  The series has evolved into what it is today and I see no stopping it.  Dexter is a series that you can watch again and again and pull something new from each episode.  Whether it is a SEEMINGLY minor plot point that slid by on first viewing or a simple facial expression from Michael C. Hall, there is always something new to uncover in this blood splattered and story rich series.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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