Dexter (TV series)

Dexter
Dexter TV Series Title Card.jpg
Genre
Format Serial drama
Developed by James Manos, Jr.
Starring
Narrated by Michael C. Hall
Theme music composer Rolfe Kent
Composer(s) Daniel Licht
Country of origin United States
Language(s)
  • English
  • Spanish
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 66 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Location(s) Miami, Florida
Running time 50 minutes
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel Showtime
Picture format
Audio format Surround sound
Original run October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01) – present
External links
Website

Dexter is an American television drama series, which debuted on Showtime on October 1, 2006. The sixth season premiered on October 2, 2011. The series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a bloodstain pattern analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department who moonlights as a serial killer. Set in Miami, the show's first season was largely based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, the first of his Dexter series novels. Subsequent seasons have evolved independently of Lindsay's works; several based on short stories by Lindsay's friend, Stephen R. Pastore. It was adapted for television by screenwriter James Manos, Jr., who wrote the first episode.

In February 2008, syndicated reruns (edited down to a TV-14 rating) began to air on CBS. The series has enjoyed wide critical acclaim and popularity. Season 4 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.[1] Michael C. Hall has received several awards and nominations for his portrayal of Dexter, including a Golden Globe. The series was picked up by Showtime for a sixth season, which was not billed as being the final season, leaving possibilities open for a seventh.[2][3] Michael C. Hall is currently negotiating his contract along with Showtime to raise his salary for the seventh season.[4]

Contents

Cast and crew

Cast

Besides Michael C. Hall, the show's principal cast includes Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter's adoptive sister, Detective Debra Morgan, and James Remar as Dexter's deceased 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 Angel Juan Marcos Batista, and C.S. Lee as lab tech Vince Masuka (promoted to title credits as of Season 2). Julie Benz starred as Dexter's girlfriend turned wife Rita Morgan in seasons 1–5. Rita's children Astor and Cody are played by Christina Robinson and Preston Bailey (who replaced Daniel Goldman after the first season). Erik King portrayed the troubled Sgt. James Doakes for the first two seasons of the show. Desmond Harrington joined the cast in Season 3 as Detective Joseph Quinn; his name was promoted to the title credits as of Season 4. Keith Carradine, as Special FBI Agent Frank Lundy, and Jimmy Smits, as ADA Miguel Prado, each appeared in season-long character arcs in seasons 2 and 3, respectively. John Lithgow joined the cast in season four as the "Trinity Killer". Carradine returned in Season 4, reprising his role as newly retired FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy, who was hunting the Trinity Killer.

Notable appearances in Season 1 are Christian Camargo as the Ice Truck Killer, and Mark Pellegrino, as Rita's abusive ex-husband Paul. Brad William Henke had a role as amputee victim Tony Tucci in the first season as well. Margo Martindale had a recurring role as Camilla, a records office worker who was close friends with Dexter's adoptive parents. Geoff Pierson plays Captain Tom Matthews of Miami Metro Homicide. Jaime Murray portrayed Lila Tournay in Season 2, a beautiful but unhinged British artist who becomes obsessed with Dexter. JoBeth Williams portrays Rita's suspicious mother, Gail Brandon, in four season 2 episodes. Malcolm-Jamal Warner appeared as a family lawyer, and John Marshall Jones appeared as a man who murdered his wife, to be shot by Doakes. Anne Ramsay portrayed defense attorney Ellen Wolf, Miguel's arch-nemesis. Valerie Cruz had a recurring role as Miguel's wife, Sylvia. David Ramsey, who plays confidential informant Anton Briggs in Season 3, returned in Season 4, romantically involved with Debra. Courtney Ford was featured as an ambitious reporter who mixes business with pleasure, getting romantically involved with Joseph while simultaneously fishing for sources and stories. April L. Hernandez joined the cast early into the fifth season as Cira Manzon, a police "uniform" who was included in an investigation by Debra Morgan because of her Hispanic descent and knowledge of Santa Muerte. 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.

Crew

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 4 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' post.[5] Head writer Melissa Rosenberg left after Season 4 as well.

After the conclusion of Season 5, it was revealed that Chip Johannessen was departing the show after a single season[6] and that Scott Buck would be taking over as showrunner from season 6.

Plot

For the seasonal plots, see Dexter (season 1), Dexter (season 2), Dexter (season 3), Dexter (season 4), Dexter (season 5) and Dexter (season 6)

Series outset

Orphaned at the age of three due to the murder of his mother, Dexter Morgan is adopted by Miami police officer Harry Morgan and his wife Doris. After discovering that young Dexter has been killing a multitude of neighborhood pets for several years, Harry tells Dexter that he believes the need to kill "got into" him at too young of an age, and that he believes Dexter's need to kill will only grow. To keep Dexter from killing innocent people, Harry begins teaching Dexter "The Code." In this code, Dexter's victims must be killers themselves who have killed someone without justifiable cause and will likely do so again. Dexter must also always be sure that his target is guilty, and thus, frequently goes to extreme lengths to get undeniable proof of his victim's guilt. Most important, Dexter must never get caught. Flashbacks throughout the series show Harry, who died several years before, instructing Dexter on how to fake human behaviour, how to cover his tracks after a kill, and even how to stranglehold a target to knock them out and capture them.

Dexter has followed The Code religiously to satisfy his "Dark Passenger" (the name he has assigned to his urge to kill). Like many serial killers, he keeps trophies; before dispatching a wrongdoer, Dexter makes an incision on their cheek with a scalpel and collects a blood sample, which he preserves on a blood slide. He stores his collection in a box concealed inside his air conditioner.

In the beginning of the series, Dexter believes that he has no emotions, and he has to work non-stop to appear normal and blend in with the other people around him. Initially, Dexter is (with varying success) able to fake 'normal' emotions and maintain his appearance as an unremarkable friend and neighbor. He does maintain a few personal relationships early on, stating that he is "fond" of his adoptive sister Debra. She is unaware of Harry's training or Dexter's secret life, but harbors lingering jealousy of the perceived preferential treatment Harry gave Dexter. As part of his "disguise" in season one, Dexter dates a woman named Rita who is too traumatized from years of abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, Paul Bennett, to be intimate with Dexter. This suits Dexter, who believes getting intimate will reveal his darker side to Rita. He is fond of (and good with) children in general, particularly Rita's two children, Astor and Cody.

Early Cuts

Dexter: Early Cuts is an animated web series that premiered on October 25, 2009.[7] Michael C. Hall reprises his role as the voice of Dexter.[8]

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 1, "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.[9][10]

Reception

Critical reception

The initial response to Dexter was positive. The 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.[11] 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.[12] On Metacritic Season 2 has a score of 85 with all 11 reviews positive, season 3 has 78 with 13 reviews and season 4 has 79 with 14 reviews. While remarking on some of the show's more formulaic elements (quirky detective, hero with dense workmates, convenient plot contrivances), Tad Friend of The New Yorker remarked that when Dexter is struggling to connect with Rita or soliciting advice from his victims, "the show finds its voice."[13]

On December 14, 2006, Michael C. Hall was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Actor in a Television Drama Series for playing Dexter. He was also renominated and won the Golden Globe Award for his role as Dexter at the 2010 ceremony. The show was nominated for an Emmy 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.[14] In 2008, it won a Scream Award For Best TV Show. In 2010, Hall won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. John Lithgow won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Performance by an Actor in a Television Series for his role in the series the same night.

Popular reception

The third 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.[15] 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.[16] The fifth season finale was watched by a slightly smaller number of people (2.5 million). However, the fifth season as a whole was the highest rated season of Dexter, as it was watched, either on plain or on-demand TV, by more than 5 million people per week.[17]

Awards

Dexter has been nominated for many awards. Dexter has been nominated for 19 Primetime Emmy Awards, awarded in the category of both Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for Michael C. Hall), 3 times in a row, from 2008 through to 2010. Dexter has also received over a dozen Creative Arts Emmy Awards. It has also been nominated for 7 Golden Globes (winning 2), 14 Satellite Awards (winning 7), 18 Saturn Awards (winning 5), 8 Screen Actors Guild Awards (winning 1), and 5 Writers Guild of America Awards.

Criticism

U.S. broadcast

When U.S. network CBS announced in December 2007 it was considering Dexter for broadcast reruns over the public airwaves, the Parents Television Council (PTC) publicly protested the decision.[18][19] 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.[20] " Winter went on to quote CBS President Leslie Moonves' post-Columbine comment: 'Anyone who thinks the media has nothing to do with [increasing violence in society] is an idiot.' Winter called on the public to demand local affiliates preempt Dexter, and warned advertisers the PTC would take action against any that sponsored the show.[21] Following Winter's release, CBS added parental advisory notices to its broadcast promotions, and ultimately rated Dexter TV-14 for broadcast.[22] The show premiered on February 17, 2008, edited primarily for language and scenes containing sex or the dismemberment of live victims.[23] The PTC later objected to CBS broadcasting the final two episodes of the first season in a two-hour block starting as early as 8 p.m. in some time zones.[24]

Viral marketing

In preparation for the UK launch of the series, FX 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 by 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, FX 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.[25]

Connections to actual crimes

Mark Twitchell

Connections were established between Dexter Morgan and Mark Twitchell, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, during his first-degree murder trial. 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.[26] Twitchell, an aspiring filmmaker, had adopted the persona "Dexter Morgan" on Facebook and made a movie that was similar to how Dexter operates.[27] Prosecutors alleged that Twitchell had begun a secret double life inspired by Dexter.[28] Twitchell wanted to reenact the life of Dexter Morgan, and after writing a script for a Dexter movie, began posing as a woman online interested in having affairs with married men.[29] Detective Mark Anstey of the Edmonton Police Service was quoted as saying, "We have a lot of information to suggest he definitely idolizes Dexter," and Twitchell had posted a Facebook status stating that he believed he had "way too much in common with Dexter Morgan."[30][31]

Andrew Conley

Andrew Conley said the show inspired him to strangle his 10-year-old brother.[32] In an affidavit filed in Ohio County court, police said Andrew stated that he "watches a show called Dexter on Showtime, about a serial killer, and he stated, 'I feel just like him.'"[33]

Other media

DVD/Blu-ray releases

Video game

A video game based on Dexter developed by Icarus Studios and based on the events of season one, was released on September 13, 2009. It is available for the iPhone platform in the iTunes App Store. The game was released on the iPad on October 15, 2010, and on PC on February 15, 2011. The cast and crew of Dexter have been very supportive, with some of the cast providing full voice work for the game, including Michael C. Hall. The game has received many positive reviews, including an 8.0/10 from IGN. No additional content for the game has currently been released or announced as planned. Plans to release the game on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 seem to have been cancelled, as there has been no recent information regarding expansion of the game onto these platforms.

Alternate reality game

Showtime launched Dexter Game On during Comic-Con in July 2010. It was a promotion that relied on community involvement. Part of the user's involvement required the user to use the scvngr application available for the iPhone and Android platforms to complete treks around the five cities the game was available in. The final trek lead to a kill-room where the "Trinity Killer" had recently claimed a victim. A link was found in the room to a (fake) company called "Sleep Superbly", which began an extensive Showtime-maintained alternate reality game that continued until Dexter's fifth season premiere.[42]

The alternate reality game involves players working cooperatively together to help catch the "Trinity Killer" and identify his victims. A number of other characters help. During the game, players communicate with the "Trinity Killer" among many others. There are also a few shady companies that have active roles. The game spans Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, etc. as well as countless unique sites created for the game. There are even phone numbers players can call. The characters and companies are controlled by real people, adding an extra realism and ability for intelligent conversation. Keeping with the realism most alternative reality games have, Showtime does not put their name or advertisements on most sites and pages created for the game.

Soundtrack

The music from the Dexter TV series was released on August 28, 2007 in the album Dexter: Music from the Showtime Original Series. It is produced by Showtime, and distributed by Milan Records. The album is also available online on the iTunes store. The iTunes release includes five additional bonus tracks from Season 1 and 2.

Gary Calamar, whose company, Go Music, also provides non-score music for True Blood, House and Men Of A Certain Age, music supervises Dexter (along with Music Coordinator Alyson Vidoli). The score is composed by Daniel Licht and orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese.

Merchandise

EMCE Toys has planned the release of action figures based on the series.[43] Dark Horse Comics released a 7-inch bust of Dexter Morgan in March 2010, as part of its Last Toys on the Left series,[44] and released a Trinity Killer Bobble Head in April 2010.[45]

A Dexter board game created by GDC-GameDevCo Ltd was released on September 30, 2010 for $29.95.[46]

References

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  2. ^ "TVBytheNumbers Season 6 Update". http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2010/12/02/report-dexter-renewed-by-showtime-for-a-sixth-season/74165. Retrieved December 3, 2010. [dead link]
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  46. ^ "Dexter – The Board Game, Showtime Showtime Shows Dexter , Showtime Store". Showtime.seenon.com. http://showtime.seenon.com/detail.php?p=260034. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 

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