Case Number 19603: Small Claims Court

DEXTER: THE FOURTH SEASON (BLU-RAY)

Showtime Entertainment // 2009 // 632 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 3rd, 2010

The Charge

World's most killer dad.

The Case

Pop culture's most famous serial killer returns for another go-round of macabre, vigilante wickedness in Showtime's top-shelf hourlong. Season Four takes the titular character in a dramatic new direction: family man.

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) has donned yet another disguise, to go along with "forensics tech," "brother," "husband" and "serial killer." It's "dad," as he and Rita (Julie Benz, Angel) begin their life together as one big happy family. With lots of secrets.

The big one is Dexter's penchant for murdering bad guys and cutting their bodies up into little pieces. And, as if balancing all of his personas wasn't enough, he comes into contact with his most diabolical serial killer foe yet: the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow, Cliffhanger), a prolific maniac who kills his victims in a cycle. But before Dexter puts the knife to him, he considers the possibility he might actually learn something from this fellow monster.

Dexter is one of my favorite shows, and it's not a bad book series either, despite its wildly divergent storylines. Each season has brought something new and exciting to the conceit, capped with my favorite, Season 3, a dynamite narrative featuring a legendary Jimmy Smits performance. Continuing the Big Bad game plan, this season the writers introduce the series' most prolific adversary, played by a most prolific actor.

John Lithgow rules.

His Trinity Killer is a fantastic creation; each episode bringing new surprises and insights into why he's billed as the world's unrivaled predator. The stuff between Hall and Lithgow, especially in the home stretch, is some of the most tense and entertaining the show has to offer. And the denouement is...well, the less said the better.

Each season has been crafted around a specific stage of Dexter's life, the goal of which is figuring out how he fits into a normal world that frowns upon serial killer vigilante justice. Last season, he came to terms with his father and adapted the Harry Code (the lessons his adoptive cop dad taught him to rein in his "Dark Passenger"). This go-round, it's about balance, as Dexter strives to have his cake and eat it to: family, homicide, work. The results are mixed.

But that's all I'll give you. If you haven't seen the show, I highly advise you to squirrel away some time and start from the beginning. There isn't a jalopy season to be found, and this latest installment is right up to the sterling standard.

A very good 2.35:1 1080p high-def transfer brings out the jarring colors of the Miami venue, not to mention the blood splatter. Resolution is pure eyeball treats, sporting the sheen and clarity of a high-end HD treatment. Read: Definitely see this on Blu-ray. For sound, the TrueHD 5.1 mix is active and thumping when it needs to be, a wall-shaker during the intense sequences. However, the extras sorely disappoint. All you get is a BD-Live portal with access to interviews and other Showtime-centric material. You need an Internet connection to access it.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. Or maybe, Not Kill-ty?! (I think I used that one already. Wow, am I a hack.)

Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile
Studio: Showtime Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 632 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* BD-Live

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0773262/combined