Case Number 17048


Showtime Entertainment // 2008 // 629 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 18th, 2009

The Charge

"I hope I can be half the father you were."

Opening Statement

The third installment in Showtime's awesome serial-killer-who-hunts-serial-killers hour-long gives America's favorite homicidal maniac the last thing he expected: a BFF.

Facts of the Case

Much has changed for Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), since he started out as a mild-mannered serial killer who made it his life's ambition to satisfy his blood cravings by tracking and taking out other killers. Season 3 finds him in several alien situations, places Dexter and his emotion-free existence are ill-equipped to handle. There's the upcoming wedding to his darling Rita (Julie Benz), a baby on the way, and even more bizarre the first real friend Dexter ever had.

A powerful Miami D.A. (Jimmy Smits, NYPD Blue) has taken a shine to our boy, warts and all. Despite posthumous warnings from his father, Dexter enters into this high-risk, all-cards-on-the-table friendship -- a relationship which may hold dire consequences for Dexter and everyone in his orbit.

The Evidence

Now that The Shield has wrapped, the designation for "My Favorite Show Currently on the Air" belongs to Dexter. While I wouldn't presume to be the all-powerful granter of capitalized accolades on TV programs, I daresay this one is also...wait for it...The Best Show on Television.

Sniffing around the Intertubes reveals Dexter's third outing wasn't as loudly lauded as his admittedly great second. I am here to proclaim: don't believe this straw man I have just set up! Dexter Season 3 is legit, a thematically dense, consistently rewarding batch of episodes that ranks as the finest of the series.

Big words, sure, especially when you consider how well-executed the first two season were, but I am unabashedly enamored with this latest effort. As is the game-plan, Dexter squares off with a season-long adversary. The most recent maniac prowling the streets of Miami this go-round is known as "The Skinner," a psycho who removes swaths of flesh from his victims.

Parallel to Dexter's -- and the police department's -- investigation into The Skinner, is the other major narrative force driving the season, the appearance of Miguel Prado (Smits), the first person since Dexter's father who might be granted access to Dexter's innermost secrets. It is this dynamic -- supported by a dependably fantastic performance by Hall and the best stuff I have ever seen from Smits -- that elevates the material, making it so sterling. The evolution of this friendship and the consequences that such a risky team-up generates, is handled perfectly. There are big, fat themes of loyalty, friendship, and...well, honor among monsters at play here. My favorite, though, is the always-compelling interaction between Dexter and his father Harry (James Remar). As Dexter matures in his relationship to his Dark Passenger, the relationship with his father and his code (kill only killers) also fluctuates. There is stress between the two (Harry shows up in visions), but how it's reconciled is my favorite moment in a top-tier season.

In the technical department, this Blu-ray is a masterpiece. The 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is gorgeous, an HD treatment that boats the cleanness and sheen I've come to expect in top-grade Blu releases. This is a colorful series (blood, Miami lights) and the transfer pushes these colors to the outer edge of vibrancy. In short, this is as good as it gets. The 5.1 TrueHD mix measures up nicely to its burly counterpart, pumping out clean audio, particularly its memorable soundtrack. The only aspect where this three-disc set falters is the extras, all of which are located on BD-Live (you're out of luck, if you don't have an Internet connection): cast interviews, episodes of The Tudors and The United States of Tara, and excerpts from the newest Dexter book.

Closing Statement

The best season yet of arguably the best show on television receives a legendary audio/visual presentation, but the extras leave much to be desired.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. Keep it up Dex.

Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 100
Audio: 95
Extras: 70
Acting: 95
Story: 95
Judgment: 96

Perp Profile
Studio: Showtime Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

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

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 629 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Book Excerpts
* BD-Live

* IMDb