Long Time No Spree



By Paige Wilson, Reporter

Dexter is back. 

For those unfamiliar with the original series, “Dexter” follows the life of its anti-hero, Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall), and his constant struggle of living with his Dark Passenger — his need to kill. While projecting a seemingly normal persona on the exterior working in the police force, having a relationship with his adoptive family, as well as a girlfriend Dexter is a psychopathic serial killer.    

When Dexter was only two, he was forced to witness his mother’s brutal murder and was left for dead in a pool of her blood. Harry Morgan, the officer who found Dexter, took him into his own family and raised Dexter as his son.

Because Dexter was so young, Harry hoped that his mother’s death wouldn’t stay with him. However, as Dexter grew up, he noticed how Dexter exhibited psychopathic characteristics — killing animals, displaying no emotions and being socially isolated. 

Years later, upon Harry realizing that Dexter could not suppress these urges Harry decides to teach Dexter to control and focus his urges — how to cover his tracks, avoid suspicion and ensure he only kills those who “deserve it.”

The original series is set years later when Dexter and his sister, Deb, both work for the MMPD, where their now late father worked. The original series portrays Dexter trying to balance his fake life as a forensic analyst, investigating some of his own kills and the life led by his Dark Passenger. 

The show ran for eight seasons, with the show concluding in 2010, or so we thought. To not spoil too much for those who haven’t watched it, the original series ends with Dexter’s death. The reboot picks up with the reveal that he faked it and relocated to an undisclosed northern setting. 

In stark contrast to the original, which was set in downtown Miami, the new series is located in the small, frozen town of Iron Lake, New York. This setting not only reflects the isolation Dexter is now confronted with but also the apparent absence of his Dark Passenger. A new town, a new identity, a seemingly new Dexter.     

The first episode of the reboot, “Cold Snap,” begins with Dexter sprinting through a snowy wood with a hunting rifle in hand. He abruptly halts once his game is in sight an albino stag and takes aim. This scene reveals a stark change in Dexter from the original series — despite having a clear shot, Dexter is unable to pull the trigger and collapses in defeat. 

Later, Dexter is back at his house sharpening a butcher’s knife his murder weapon of choice with a kit unfolded revealing more blades on the counter beside him. Defying audience expectations established for the character, it is revealed Dexter merely helps the town’s butcher. 

As Dexter continues with his day, we are shown he can’t let go of aspects from his former life. Dexter is now employed at a hunting shop riddled with thoughts of inflicting violence on others. Despite his efforts to change, Dexter is unable to free himself of the baggage and burden of his Dark Passenger. 

This is made evident through Matt Caldwell, a rich and arrogant daddy’s boy. When he is first introduced, he enters Dexter’s store to buy a gun and knife. Matt acts objectionably during his time at the shop threatening his friend and Dexter with the knife and opting to purchase a gun similar to that of a machine gun (despite it being for hunting). 

The following day Dexter must reluctantly deliver the gun to Matt’s house. Inside, Dexter finds Bill;  clearly intoxicated and enraged, Bill breaks down and reveals to Dexter that he and Matt were involved in a boat accident. A game of chicken, two boats one driven by Matt speed towards one another till one conceded. However, despite the other boat yielding, Matt drove into it anyway, killing and injuring passengers on both boats. 

Realizing his mistake, Bill pleads to Dexter not to tell. Dexter fantasizes about murdering him but doesn’t take the shot. This instance makes clear to Dexter and the viewer that his Dark Passenger was only gone temporarily.

Dexter is again shown running through the woods where he is confronted with the stag. Unlike his last encounter, Dexter lowers his gun and approaches the animal. As the stag allows Dexter to pet it, a gunshot is fired and the stag falls. To Dexter’s disgust, a proud Matt comes running in boasting his kill.  

Dexter snaps he hits Matt with his rifle causing him to collapse — and realizing what he’s done, removes the body and covers Matt’s blood with the stag’s. Back at his house Dexter preps a kill room reminiscent of the original series – covered from ceiling to floor in Saran Wrap.  

Matt wakes up naked and taped to a table as Dexter begins his killing ritual: getting his victim to confess their crimes, extracting a blood sample and revealing his true identity. This is the first scene that truly demonstrates the growth in Dexter’s character so far, as Dexter disposes of the blood slide, no longer seeing its purpose, where he would have originally kept it. Dexter proceeds to stab, dismember and indulge in his kill. Over a decade of restraint gone. 

You either love Dexter, never heard of it or have just been meaning to watch it. When I read there would be a reboot, I was so excited and am glad to say I’m not disappointed. The reboot upholds the integrity of the original, such as maintaining the trope of having Dexter’s Dark Passenger be the narrator of the series. It is clear the reboot is a true continuation of the original with the only visible difference being a modern style and movie-like cinematography. 

Thus far, “Dexter: New Blood” has done the original series justice. Despite a new director, there is respect for the original. I do think I will favor the original series because the duality of a serial killer working for the police was such an intriguing premise. However, looking at the series as a continuation of the show, with integrated elements from the original, it flows as if it was the next season.  

I have rewatched the original series multiple times and consider it one of my favorite shows. There is something very entertaining about watching a socially awkward killer interact with others. The audience is immediately let in on a secret that only the main character knows, giving the audience motivation to be invested in the series. Hall portrays Dexter in a way that makes the viewer want to root for him, despite being a murderer with no emotions.       

I would highly recommend both “Dexter” — for those who have not watched it — as well as “Dexter: New Blood” — for those familiar with the original series. If you’re looking for an intense, dark and binge-worthy show for this winter, then Dexter is for you.