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Dexter: Season 3 - Our Father (Season opener review)

Michael C Hall as Dexter

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we’ve decided to take a look at the season opener of Dexter: Season 3 entitled Our Father (as aired on F/X on Friday, April 24, 2009).

What’s the story? Dexter (Michael C Hall) has put his life back together but things may fall apart soon. His new victim is also being targeted by Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits). Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) has to decide how to handle Internal Affairs, as they want her to turn on her new partner.

Why so good? For two seasons, Dexter has proved to be a real serial thriller. So, will it be three times lucky? On the evidence of season opener Our Father, the answer is yes.

Set in the immediate aftermath of Season 2, the episode picked up with Dexter having attained a rare good spot in his life. His relationship with Rita (Julie Benz) was great (there was plenty of sex), his working life had returned to normal and he’d rediscovered his killing mojo. Life was good and even Dexter’s voice-over reflected so.

But how long can a serial killer go before he finds his bubble burst? Not long, it seems, particularly when his newfound confidence gave rise to some sloppiness.

No sooner had Dexter been able to relax into his hobby once again, then he found himself in the middle of another tight spot. In targeting a drug dealer and murderer that the law hadn’t been able to put away, Dexter inadvertently killed an innocent.

To make matters worse, the innocent in question happened to be the brother of bullish DA Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), a tough, no-nonsense prosecutor with a ferocious track record for getting his man.

Distraught and angry, Prado immediately vowed to bring his brother’s killer to justice. And so Dexter had another adversary, as well as the small matter of finishing off the dealer he’d been unable to kill.

Once again, Hall portrayed Dexter with unnerving intensity, as well as knowing charisma. He’s an enigmatic presence – by turns, a caring family man, a charismatic police colleague, and a ruthless killer. All facets of the Dexter persona got an airing in this opening episode.

To confound Dexter’s new nightmare still further, the episode ended with the shock revelation that Rita was pregnant. Can Dexter really become a father? Hall’s expression was priceless.

Several things about this season opener made us excited, not least of which was the presence of Smits. As fans of NYPD Blue will know, Smits is a powerhouse actor – equally capable of balancing sensitivity with ruthlessness. His battle of wits with Dexter promises to be mesmerising and their opening exchanges certainly hinted at some acting pyrotechnics. Smits would appear to be an inspired addition to the Dexter franchise.

Of the returning characters, Deb faces her own conundrum (being asked to rat on a colleague) and tackled the dilemma with typical brashness, while Angel Batista (David Zayas) was celebrating a long overdue promotion. They’ve yet to be given too much to do, but one suspects there’ll be plenty of twists, turns and turmoil for both to face.

Some critics have suggested that Dexter is beginning to run out of steam and inspiration. But if Our Father was anything to go by, it’s still very much a show in its prime.

Dexter is back and firing on all cylinders, and we’re officially excited.

What did you think?