Dexter: Season 3 (2008)

DVD Cover (Showtime Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 84%
Overall Rating
Ranked #133
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Connections: Dexter

Dexter Morgan, Miami Metro Police Department blood spatter analyst, has a double life. When he's not helping the Homicide division solving murders, he spends his time hunting and killing bad guys that slip through the justice system. He spends his sun-drenched days solving crimes - and moonlit nights committing them. But not to worry, our cool-blooded Dexter doesn't kill just anyone. He reserves his homicidal hobbies to taking only the lives of other killers. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: May 30, 2009
I said this in my review of season two, but I'm going to go ahead and repeat it here. Before getting down to business, I should point out that you're probably going to want to avoid reading this if you haven't already seen the first two seasons. Season three picks up directly where season two ended, and as such, almost everything that I discuss in this review will require that I describe events that took place in the final episodes of the second season. Funny how that works, eh? So yes, I will be talking about who died in the second season, what the big twist was, Dexter's twisted family tree, and the entire affair will come with a hearty serving of spoilers.

Season three wastes no time in getting its storylines set into motion, and the first episode finds Dexter (Michael C. Hall) planning for what should be a routine kill. He's staking out Freebo (Mike Erwin), a lowly drug-dealer who murdered a pair of innocent ladies before escaping jail time on a technicality. Naturally, this doesn't sit well with Dexter, but when he shows up to off this charming young man, he gets a surprise: there's someone else with his target, and the two are attempting to kill one another. Dexter ends up killing this mystery man while Freebo escapes, and soon afterward, he discovers who this mystery man was: the little brother of Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), the assistant district attorney for Miami. Whoops.

Obviously, the search is on for the murderer, and with someone of Miguel's power involved, the heat is only intensified. Oddly enough, the two eventually become the best of friends after crossing paths a time or two in Miguel's search for answers and Dexter's attempts at concealing the truth, and this is where our hero discovers that he and Miguel may share more in common than their taste for Cuban food and beer.

Meanwhile, Rita (Julie Benz) is pregnant with Dexter's child, the two have plans for a wedding, and although the two love one another as much as they ever have, things are getting a little tense between them due to her hormones flaring up and "other" issues. Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) is trying to ascend the ranks and get her detective badge while also balancing a personal life with her informant boyfriend Anton Briggs (David Ramsey), and just down the hall, Maria Laguerta (Lauren Vélez) is attempting to discover the truth behind Doakes' "mysterious" death in hopes of clearing his name. Angel Batista (David Zayas) has moved up to sergeant and found a girlfriend in Gianna (Kristin Dattilo), there's some new blood on the team in the form of the off-kilter Quinn (Desmond Harrington), and there's even a lady from internal affairs (Liza Lapira) who is hounding Debra to tail that odd newcomer. Throw a new serial killer into the mix and drop some bombshells in Dexter and Miguel's friendship, and you have season three.

The third season of Dexter takes a slightly different approach to telling its stories than the seasons prior in that the main focus is not on a rival serial killer. Sure, one of them does pop up later on in the season, and yes, this person does play a huge part in the later episodes, but the season as a whole focuses mainly on Dexter himself. He begins to question Harry's code while trying to decide if he can finally let someone in on his little secret, and once he cracks the lid on that particular can of worms, everything starts to come pouring out. This particular season isn't as action-packed as the former two and it doesn't feature as many intense moments, but focusing mainly on Dexter's state of mind was a wise decision in that it made for some great television.

One thing that I griped about during season two was the way that major problems would arise, and just when it seemed as though Dexter was going to get caught or killed, he would find a simple solution in a matter of seconds, leaving this dilemma to be forgotten about. It was frustrating to say the very least, and thankfully, this problem has been fixed in this season... for the most part. I don't want to point out specifically which piece of the plot suffers from it, but it is one of the major ones that had been built up over the course of the season. Maybe it's just me, but when a dilemma is built up over the course of four or five episodes and promises severe ramifications regardless of how it turns out, I sort of expect to see some thought put into how it will conclude. Wrapping it up with a simple "Dexter shows up and does such-and-such, storytime is over" in a single scene just doesn't cut it.

Still, this is but one minor problem in the grand scheme of things, as the rest of the season is absolutely riveting. Some of the best writing of the series is found in this season, and there are events and revelations made here that will have an impact on all of the seasons that are still to come. There are no "throwaway" episodes or occurrences, and everything means something in the overall universe. Most shows run out of steam towards their third season, but Dexter feels like it's just getting started.

I still think that the first season was the best of the bunch, but that's a testament to the quality found there as opposed to the lack of quality found here. This is still a damned fine season of an excellent series, and personally, I can't wait for season four to start. Does it displace Oz as my favorite television series ever? Not quite, but it's definitely up there towards the top of that list - perhaps even ranking in at number two. 9.5/10.
crAckerr #1: crAckerr - added 05/30/2009, 06:14 PM
Dexter is amazing, can't wait for season 4. I see you stated your favourite series ever is Oz, another great show. I was just wondering if you've ever watched The Wire. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but personally I think it's not only the best series, but the best anything ever put to film. If you love Oz, I really suggest you give it a try, I don't think you will be disappointed.
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