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Monday, April 29, 2013

'Dexter' S7 Blu-ray: Shakespeare in Bloodlust

The Blu-ray release, which is being uncaged on May 14, 2013, of the seventh season of Showtime's top-rated series "Dexter" is tailor-made for that technology.

I was still catching up on Tivoed episodes of this series; the day and night difference between the standard-def and Blu-ray versions of this series was as sharp as that difference regarding the titular character's mild-mannered everyman persona and the wonderfully dark portion of his nature. Returning to Tivo for the final episode seemed like watching an over-the-air signal on a '70s era console set after watching several Blu-ray episodes.

On a more literal level, the bright blues of the Miami sky and sea, the vibrant coastal fashions, and the sharp visual contrasts that make the show look so good really benefit from Blu-ray.

The series premise is that good-natured blood splatter forensics expert Dexter Morgan moonlights as a vigilante serial killer who limits his victims to malfeasors who just "need a good killing." One criteria is that the individual has already killed someone, and at least a very good probability that the person will escape traditional justice increases the odds that her or she will end up as chum at the bottom of Miami's harbor.

The seventh season takes off right where the sixth season ends. Dexter's sister and commanding officer Debra catches him essentially red-handed at his night job. Much of the seventh season addresses how Debra deals both with her brother being a prolific killer and her conflict between knowing of that activity and her duty as police lieutenant to arrest vigilantes who completely bypass the judicial system.

This element alone would make a great Shakespearean play; throwing in mutual romantic feelings makes that relationship truly Bardworthy. Ultimately, both Dexter and Debra must determine whether blood is thicker than laced water.

Another compelling storyline, which comes to a very dramatic head in the final minutes of the seventh season, has former lieutenant (and now captain) Maria LaGuerta discovering proof of Dexter's guilt when she reopens the "Bay Harbor Butcher" case from an earlier season. This simply gives mouse Dexter another cat with whom he must spar during the seventh season.

LaGuerta becoming a somewhat formidable foe also requires that Dexter determine he can justify killing her. A related double-cross and the action regarding this storyline in the seventh season's final minutes reinforce the Shakespearean theme of this season. 

Additional prior season drama that plays a large role in  the seventh season includes the "Ice Truck Killer" plot from the first season and the fallout regarding various romances among the homicide detectives.

So as not to risk a dull moment, "Dexter's" writers also throw Miami's finest homicide squad into conflict with Ukrainian mobsters who operate out of a strip club. This arc involves a relationship between Dexter and one of the mobsters that truly is "complicated" and incredibly Shakespearean.

In his spare time, Dexter develops a romantic relationship with intended victim Hannah McKay, who guest-star Yvonne Strahovski plays like the slightly more evil twin of her Sarah Walker character on "Chuck." Despite Dexter having a couple of main squeezes throughout the series, Hannah might have been both his equal and his soul mate.

All this excitement and drama from the seventh season and the related unresolved issues have created high expectations for Dexter's eighth and final season. That group of 12 episodes is beginning on June, 30, 2013, and watching the season premiere will be a sponge-cake worthy event that will kill the stash of Twinkies that I froze when Hostess went belly up in December.

It is important to remember that the significance of the eighth season extends beyond the resolution of seventh season storylines.

Die-hard fans have wondered since the pilot episode whether "Dexter's" writers will follow the traditional Hollywood "code" that applies to lawbreakers. That standard requires that the malfeasor either gets killed or goes off to jail. Whether Dexter experiences either of those fates, steers his aptly named boat "The Slice of Life" out into the sunset, or simply continues his everyday existence remains to be seen.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Dexter" is welcome to email me.