Case Number 22006


Showtime Entertainment // 2010 // 618 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 12th, 2011

The Charge

Guilt can be a killer.

Opening Statement

Showtime's hit series keeps chugging along, long ago separating itself from the novels it's based on. But the showrunners have carved themselves out a great mythology for the merry serial killer and Dexter Season Five continues to measure up to the excellence of what preceded it.

Facts of the Case

I'll keep this spoiler-lite. Season Five opens up immediately after the stunning events of the Season Four finale and Dexter (Michael C. Hall), blood splatter analyst and recreational serial killer, is in a state of numbness, unable to process what has just happened to him. Fast forward a bit and Dexter finds himself neck-deep in a whole new set of problems, when one of his kills is witnessed by another person and he is inexorably drawn into a terrifying conspiracy.

Ah well, more folks for Dexter's table...

The Evidence

Apologies for that vague synopsis, but you owe it to yourself to go into this season as unspoiled as possible. Not that it holds any twists that are as neck-snapping as plot turns that have happened before (especially that Season Four finale), but because Dexter is one of those shows that consistently offers satisfying storytelling from episode to episode. While Season Three is still the gold standard, I was more than happy with how things played out here.

A good season of Dexter hits on two aspects: 1) peeling away further levels of one of the most interesting characters on television, and 2) crafting a compelling season-long mystery. On both these counts, Season Five succeeds.

First, we see Dexter get tantalizingly close to what it means to be human, i.e., grappling with emotions. He is consumed by guilt and anger, which leads to confusion. His internal conflict is once again exhibited nicely through conversation between Dexter and his deceased father (James Remar). These are some of my favorite character moments and act as a clever way to explore Dexter's character. By the end of the season Dexter takes a big step towards what is shaping up to be the general direction of his arc: ridding himself of the Dark Passenger.

Pulling back to the scope of the story for this season, the writers, despite what they said about staying away from "Big Bads," have fashioned a memorable nemesis, or, rather, nemeses. Again, I'll keep this free of spoilers, but Dexter's primary opponent -- who you will pinpoint very early on -- is another great one, a fascinating concoction of cerebral malice and sneering evil. The mystery is paced well and pays off in a satisfying manner.

Overall: another win for Showtime and the showrunners. Dexter is absolutely one of my favorite shows currently airing and even after five seasons, it still manages to surprise me. If you can get past the admittedly dark subject matter (in truth, it's more "macabre" than "dark"), high-end TV awaits you.

A mixed bag of Blu-ray delights: the 1.78:1, 1080p HD transfer is respectable, a nicely detailed presentation that takes the richness of the Miami setting and pushes it out with eye-pleasing energy. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is active and crisp. The extras disappoint, though. Actually, the delivery of the extras disappoints as the season-specific bonus materials (interviews with the cast and crew and a featurette with Julia Stiles) are left on-disc and dumped in the BD-Live depot.

Closing Statement

Another great season. Watch this show.

The Verdict

Not Guilty.

Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 75
Acting: 95
Story: 90
Judgment: 92

Perp Profile
Studio: Showtime Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 618 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Interviews
* Featurette

* IMDb

* Official Site