Dexter Review: Are You a Serial Killer?

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Let's face it: over the last couple seasons, Dexter had grown stale. Each set of episodes followed a basic pattern:

Dexter would question his capacity for humanity, his ability to permanently shut the door on his Dark Passenger, only to realize this could never come to fruition. He'd conclude the season by accepting the monster inside of him and putting the latest Big Bad on a table.

Rinse, stab, repeat.

Dexter Season 7 PRemiere Photo

But the Dexter Season 7 premiere offered up a fresh, fascinating twist on this cycle: What if Dexter is the Big Bad?

Season 6 was atrocious. The Doomsday Killer was more comical than dastardly, with the supposed twist of Travis hallucinating his mentor more transparent than Miami Beach water on a hot summer day. It concluded on an even more contrived, ridiculous premise: Deb somehow falling in love with her brother.

But that final scene provided promise, and it would be nearly impossible for any long-time fan to avoid tuning in for the this episode in order to see how the show would depict the only real card remaining its deck: The truth. Revealed. To Deb.

After one utterly gripping hour, the answer is an emphatic: very, very, very well indeed.

From the opening confrontation to the shocking final few seconds, I may have taken two breaths. This was pure tension from beginning to end. Dexter is at its best NOT when the main character is questioning who he is... but scrambling because of who he is.

We've seen it in the past - from Doakes to Trinity - the series makes for suspenseful television when Dexter must work to stay one step ahead of whoever is closing in on his secret. But the stakes are raised infinitely higher now: that someone is Deb, and she isn't closing in. She's already figured it out.

Deb knows Dexter is a serial killer. And I legitimately have no clue what will happen next.

Yes, there were some holes in the details: I don't know why Deb would call Dexter's apartment line instead of the cell phone we've seen her dial a million times before; it seemed WAY too easy for Dexter to drug that Ukrainian mobster in the middle of an airport; and why would LaGuerta be secretive about the slide instead of simply ordering Masuka to run it?

But those are quibbles when compared to the big picture. Michael C. Hall was his usual brilliant self on the premiere, oscillating from an angry Dexter to a scared Dexter to an emotionless Dexter so well that it was difficult to tell when he was acting and when he was acting as DEXTER acting.

And Jennifer Carpenter was equally mesmerizing. The callbacks to her time on Brian's table and even the flashbacks to the siblings as children were both executed perfectly, adding to the story instead of distracting from it.

Just a terrific premiere all around, enough to help me forget all about Professor Gellar and Deb's psychologist-based epiphanies of love and even those six seconds when Batista and LaGuerta were married. The following bears repeating because it changes everything we know about Dexter, mixing up its formula and setting the stage for an epic run of episodes...

Deb knows Dexter is a serial killer. And I legitimately have no clue what will happen next.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (167 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


LaGuerta keeping the slide secret is logicial writer of this art for all she knows Masuka could be the killer


Great premiere! I have to agree though, the airport kill felt a bit forced.
Since the series is already renewed for another season, I really hope that this one focuses on the Dexter/Deb relationship and LaGuerta investigating more. Then in the season finale she will find out about Dexter. And in Season 8, Dexter will be on the run.
And then they should end it.


@Miranda - The fact that Dexter was killing in the middle of the Baggage Room itself was so unlike him....Silly scene in hindsight but the main storyline more than made up for it.


I hope this season is better than the last few...I like the show enough to keep watching, but I agree that the last few seasons have been sub-par. Problem with the show is the characters have no depth whatsover...if they did away with Quinn and LaGuerta, it would be a step in the right direction...what this show always does well is set up intriguing situtaions, but then never pay off that are rarely surprised by anything. Deb walking in on Dexter in the middle of a kill was the only "wow" moment of the last few years...this could be really good...Dex's cat and mouse with Doaks was probably, for me, the best storyline on the show. I am guessing that the final scene last night (where Dexter walks in and Deb is confronting him with all the evidence she has) was a dream...


Good opening episode to season 7 of Dexter. I didn't mind last season, as some have pointed out it being awful. There were some good scenes and moments, and thought Colin Hanks was good. I can't comment on previous seasons, since I have only been tuned in since season 5. There were some holes/logic questions in last night's opener, and obviously you only have some much room or time to compress the story and action, but thought Deb pulling everything together in the last few minutes to have all of Dexter's weapons laid out on the coffee table seemed really contrived. We already know that the Ukraine killer and the stripper plus the high-powered men in the Ukraine will play a huge role in the new few episodes. Should be good! I'm hooked. Question may be, "will Deb an Dexter work out his Robin Hood-esque frenzy on killing the killers or have her violate her role as a detective?"

Miranda wicker

Do you know what the absolute best moment of the show was for me? When Dexter uttered the word "yes" to Deb's question and Michael C. Hall managed to show relief with his eyes. His eyebrows fluttered up just a little and there was something like freedom in his eyes. It was amazing. (My gripe for the episode? HOW IN THE HELL is there NOT a CAMERA in the unclaimed baggage room!?!? With security in airports being what it is, HOW WAS THAT KILL EVEN POSSIBLE?)


After 60 perfect episodes , last season was a super clunker - HATED it !!!
And now I can say , having a schitzo Deb et al, in Dexter's xxxx all season , I won't stick around for another annoying clunker ....
Bring back Lithgoe !!!!


I had to pause the final scene where Deb had all of Dexter tools on display because I was in complete shock. Just as their father trained Dexter to be great killer, he equally trained Debra to be great at CATCHING killers. Sick dichotomy that had me holding my breath through that last scene. Great stuff!


a great begining to the last season. that last scene when dex walks in to find his apartment in shambles and all of his killing equipment laid to bare with deb sitting there waiting for him, her gun handy, my heart was pounding. i do disagree that previous seasons have been stale (save for when julia stiles was on), like true blood i love every episode of every season it is just written and acted so well. why would LaGuerta be secretive about the slide instead of simply ordering Masuka to run it you ask? well did you hear what he told her? the only person to ever use blood slides was a member of the miami pd who turned out to be a serial killer. taking that into consideration she can't trust anyone and as freaky as Masuka is, he would be a prime suspect.


If you think about it, LaGuerta keeping the slide a secret is logical. She has never beleived that Doakes was the Bay Harbor Butcher, so when she sees that slide, she probably concludes that the BHB has become active again. Since it is known that the Butcher was a member of Miami Homicide, it would make sense to have the slides processed outside of the department to prevent the Butcher from catching word of it.

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