Dexter Review: Necessary Evil

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What a terrific episode of Dexter.

Continuing the theme of Season 7 - Deb vs. Dexter vs. his Dark Passenger vs. her confusion on how to control it - "Buck the System" featured a number of tense, intriguing discussions between brother and sister, while posing the legitimately difficult question:

Is Dexter a necessary evil in the world?

Deb, Dex, Dead Body

For years, Dexter has rambled about change and fitting in and whether he can just be a normal human being. But he can't be. We've all known this for awhile and it's been refreshing this season to hear Dexter admit as much.

But does that mean there's no place for him in society? It was fascinating to watch Dexter actually let Deb into his universe, to take her along to the suspect stakeout and attempt to explain his routine and his rationale for who he selects. He really is trying; not to change, but to adapt to this new situation.

It made sense Deb would reject the notion at first out of sheer shock and disgust that her brother is a serial killer, not to mention that pesky detail that she's a police captain assigned to uphold the law. But then she got a first hand look at Ray, at the fact that monsters really do exist in the world and it's a simple fact that the system can't always bring them to justice.

Can she sign off on Dexter's murderous habit? Can she openly approve and even assist him with the kills? Of course not. It would be far too abrupt a change.

But can Deb try to turn a blind eye? Absolutely. What's the alternative? Arrest her brother? Lose the most important person in her life and walk around knowing that person actually could have saved a few innocent lives? These are sincerely interesting, ethical questions.

Dexter has never really tackled them before. Viewers were introduced to the character as a killer and to the show as a very dark comedy. We were just meant to accept his urges and go along for the ride. However, to borrow the most overly-used phrase in the television reviewing business, the game has now changed and the fascination with Season 7 so far hasn't been any kind of action or suspense.

It's been the moral quandary into which Dexter has placed Deb. It's impossible not to wonder what one would do in her situation and equally as difficult to come up with an answer.

Other developments outside of sibling showdowns this week:

  • Yvonne Strahovski debuted as Hannah McKay. It's not exactly hard to see why Chuck viewers were such big fans of the actress, but it's way too early to judge her role on Dexter. There's clearly a whole lot more to the character outside of her affection for plants.
  • Please tell me Quinn's plan was always to pump the stripper... for information. Up until her admission that she was being asked to do the same to him, Quinn came across like he really was just trying to tap some more inappropriate ass.
  • So long, Louis. The conclusion to this storyline felt a bit rushed and convenient. I was anxious to see how Dexter would deal with such a non-lethal nuisance in his life and the answer felt like a cop-out: he wouldn't. The foreign mob boss would do the job for him.
  • But now that mob knows the name Dexter Morgan, opening up the cat-and-mouse game this series often pulls off so well.

What did everyone else think? How would you react if were you in Deb's shoes? And are you as on board for this vastly improved seventh season as I am?


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (80 Votes)

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


One of the things that concerned me in the previous episode was the fact Dexter just let Louis "off the hook." It seemed odd that he would do that especially since he said in the first episode how letting Travis go free and not killing him right away caused so many problems. Sure, this was the new and improved--and Deb supervised--Dexter, but still it seemed strange. Having said that, I was disappointed the Dexter didn't get to take Louis out! I would have loved to have seen that battle! This season has been great so far. I have enjoyed the first 3 episodes more than the entire 6th season.

Strawberry fields

I loved every second of this episode. I loved that Dex didn't try to lie his way out and was honest with Deb about the way he's doing his thing. About halfway through the episode I was sure the bold guy will kill someone and that will be a turning point for Deb. It can't happen overnight, but the first step was made. Deb still believes in good and evil, but admits Dexter was right that not every evil is equally bad. I also loved the scene when Dexter and Isaak met. Irony is one of the things this show used to do great. Their entire conversation was one of those moments. As for Hannah - @Nisan, I agree with you. She's the brains. That girl totally creeps me out. Come on Dexter! Where is your lizard brain now? One last thing: I will definitely NOT miss Louis.


Dexter is on fire this season! I love that Dexter does not realize that Deb is not his only problem (mob, Laguerta)--it's slowly unfolding into a great season finish. I kind of wanted Louis to live though just to add a bit more pressure. I think hannah will be Dexter's new love interest until he finds out that she's a killer too. It's also interesting to see whether Deb will be frustrated enough by the system that she'll do as Harry did and accept and enable Dexter's urges. All in all, a lot of great things to look forward to!


I'm pretty sure that Hannah was the brains in that murder spree. Everybody thought that the guy was the problem but NO, it's Hannah. She's a psychopath and most likely controls all the men around her. Probrably has dead bodies in her garden.


Rule number 1,don't get caught...


Actually, Deb, in the books had to wrestle with Dex as "necessary evil" in the book in the series I happen to be reading right now. It wasn't any easier for her to accept in the books, and she almost bit the dust during the process, since Dex was sort of hamstrung at the point she needed him to help her with a killer they were trying to arrest. So it's interesting to see how the series is handling it--this mob thing is an interesting twist. I was certainly glad to see that pesky Louis bite the dust--he just didn't understand what he was dealing with! Either with Dex or with the mob! I loved the image in this episode of Dex outside the brick building, squeezed into that extremely narrow, high-walled alleyway. It was a striking image of the tight squeeze in which Dexter has been placed by Deb. Loved that visual image--beautifully done!


I just hope Louis blood on Dexter's boat become a problem for him... How ironic would it be to kill over 100 people and go down for a murder you didn't commit?


Great episode, good review, what more is there to say :) Ah, The Russian mob don't look fearsome, yet. And am wondering what role does Yvonne Strahovski have to play. Surely it's gotta be a major role, romance in the future?

Sue ann

I don't get to see this show until the season's DVD's come out in the following Autumn. So, I haven't seen any of this season's episodes. However, I have watched the previous six seasons several times, I have read all the books several times, and I know a person who told me of a murder he committed. He killed a person the system was not stopping. In the books, Deb has known for quite a while about Dexter's hobby, habit, affliction -- whatever you call it. She did not like it at first, but of late, she has come to accept it, and I think she will eventually use him. The series and the books differ quite a bit, but I would find that a very interesting resolution to their mutual problem. I can see numbers of possibilities. I expect the series will not go that way -- it is lighter in tone than the books, to be acceptable to a wider audience. But, it would be fascinating.


I'm curious to see how they'll handle the mob angle, i mean they were about to drill the guys eyes out and they didn't even know for certain that it was dexter. Now that they do i wonder what will happen. I picture dexter walking into his apartment next episode to find them waiting. That or something to do with the blood that was spilled in his boat.

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