Dexter (TV series)
Genre Crime drama Suspense Horror Mystery Dark comedy
Format Serial drama
Developed by James Manos, Jr.
Starring Michael C. Hall Jennifer Carpenter Desmond Harrington C.S. Lee Lauren Vélez David Zayas James Remar Julie Benz Erik King
Theme music composer Rolfe Kent
Composer(s) Daniel Licht
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English Spanish
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 60 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Daniel Cerone Sara Colleton Charles H. Eglee John Goldwyn Michael C. Hall Chip Johannessen Clyde Phillips
Location(s) Miami, Florida
Running time 50 minutes
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original channel Showtime
Picture format 480i (SDTV) 1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Surround sound
Original run October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01) – present


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Dexter (TV series)

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Dexter is an American television drama series that centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a bloodstain pattern analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department who moonlights as a serial killer.The show debuted on October , 2006, on Showtime and the fifth season ended on December 12, 2010. As of December 2, 2010, the show has been renewed for a sixth season. Set in Miami, the show's first season was largely based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, the first of his series of Dexter novels. Subsequent seasons have evolved independently of Lindsay's works. It was adapted for television by screenwriter James Manos, Jr., who wrote the pilot episode.Dexter structures his killing around "the Code of Harry", a body of ethics and procedures devised by his adoptive father Harry Morgan (who was a Miami cop) to make sure Dexter never gets caught and to ensure that Dexter kills only other killers. Harry also trained Dexter in how to interact convincingly with other people despite his dissociative mental illness, which Harry believed to be sociopathy, arising from Dexter witnessing the brutal murder of his biological mother, Laura Moser. As an adult, Dexter has largely escaped suspicion (with some exceptions) by being genial and generous and maintaining generally superficial relationships. However, his attachment to his foster (and ultimately adoptive) sister, Debra, his girlfriend (later wife), Rita, his stepchildren, Astor and Cody, and later his biological son, Harrison, have all complicated his double life and made him question his need to kill. In fact, in the first season, newly-found memories of his mother's murder set in motion the slow but steady humanization of Dexter, progressing further with each season, as Dexter begins to experience a variety of emotions for the first time in years.In February 2008, edited reruns began to air on CBS. The series has enjoyed wide critical acclaim and popularity. Season 4 aired its season finale on December 13, 2009 to a record-breaking audience of 2.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched original series episode ever on Showtime. Michael C. Hall has received several awards and nominations for his portrayal of Dexter, including a Golden Globe. The series was picked up by Showtime for a sixth season, which was billed as not being the final season, leaving possibilities open for a seventh.

Cast and crew

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In addition to Michael C. Hall, the show's principal cast includes his estranged wifeJennifer Carpenter as Dexter's adoptive sister, Detective Debra Morgan, and James Remar as Dexter's deceased father Harry. Dexter's co-workers include Lauren Vélez as Lt. María LaGuerta, Dexter and Debra's supervisor, David Zayas as Detective Sergeant Angel Juan Marcos Batista, and C.S. Lee as lab tech Vince Masuka (promoted to title credits as of Season 2). Julie Benz starred as Dexter's girlfriend turned wife Rita Morgan in seasons 1–4. Rita's children Astor and Cody are played by Christina Robinson and Preston Bailey (who replaced Daniel Goldman after the first season). Erik King portrayed the troubled Sgt. James Doakes for the first two seasons of the show. Desmond Harrington joined the cast in Season 3 as Detective Joey Quinn; his name was promoted to the title credits as of Season 4. Keith Carradine, as Special FBI Agent Frank Lundy, and Jimmy Smits, as ADA Miguel Prado, each appeared in season-long character arcs in seasons 2 and 3, respectively. John Lithgow joined the cast in season four as the "Trinity Killer". Carradine returned in Season 4, reprising his role as newly-retired FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy, who was hunting the Trinity Killer.

Notable appearances in Season 1 are Christian Camargo as the Ice Truck Killer, and Mark Pellegrino, as Rita's abusive ex-husband Paul. Brad William Henke had a role as amputee victim Tony Tucci in the first season as well. Margo Martindale had a recurring role as Camilla, a records office worker who was close friends with Dexter's adoptive parents. Geoff Pierson plays Captain Tom Matthews of Miami Metro Homicide. Jaime Murray portrayed Lila Tournay in Season 2, a beautiful but unhinged British artist who becomes obsessed with Dexter. Malcolm-Jamal Warner appeared as a family lawyer, and John Marshall Jones appeared as a man who murdered his wife, to be shot by Doakes. Anne Ramsay portrayed defense attorney Ellen Wolf, Miguel's arch-nemesis. Valerie Cruz had a recurring role as Miguel's wife, Sylvia. David Ramsey, who plays confidential informant Anton Briggs in Season 3, returned in Season 4, romantically involved with Debra. Courtney Ford was featured as an ambitious reporter who mixes business with pleasure, getting romantically involved with Joey while simultaneously fishing for sources and stories. Julia Stiles joined the cast early into the fifth season as Lumen Pierce, a woman who gets involved in a complex relationship with Dexter after the tragedy that culminated the previous season.

The main creative forces behind the series were executive producers Daniel Cerone, Clyde Phillips and Melissa Rosenberg; Cerone left the show after its second season. Coming off a record-setting Season 4 finale, executive producer and showrunner Clyde Phillips departed the series to spend more time with his family. 24 co-executive producer Chip Johannessen took over Phillips' post. Head writer Melissa Rosenberg left after Season 4 as well.

After the conclusion of Season 5, it was revealed that Chip Johannessen was departing the show after a single season and that Scott Buck would be taking over as showrunner from season 6.


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Series outset
Orphaned at the age of three due to the murder of his mother, Dexter Morgan is adopted by Miami police officer Harry Morgan and his wife Doris. After discovering that young Dexter has been killing a multitude of neighborhood pets for several years, Harry tells Dexter that he believes the need to kill "got into" him at too young of an age, and that he believes Dexter's need to kill will only grow. To keep Dexter from killing innocent people (and from winding up in an electric chair), Harry begins teaching Dexter "The Code." In this code, Dexter's victims must be killers themselves who have killed someone without justifiable cause and will likely do so again. Dexter must also always be sure that his target is guilty, and thus, frequently goes to extreme lengths to get undeniable proof of his victim's guilt. Most importantly, Dexter must never get caught. Flashbacks throughout the series show Harry, who died several years before, instructing Dexter on how to fake human behaviour, how to cover his tracks after a kill, and even how to stranglehold a target to knock them out and capture them.

Dexter has followed The Code religiously to satisfy his "Dark Passenger" (the name he has assigned to his urge to kill). Like many serial killers, he keeps trophies; before dispatching a wrongdoer, Dexter makes a small incision on their cheek with a scalpel and collects a blood sample, which he preserves on a blood slide. He stores his collection in a box concealed inside his air conditioner.

In the beginning of the series, Dexter states that he has no emotions, and he has to work non-stop to appear normal and blend in with the other people around him. Initially, Dexter is (with varying success) able to fake 'normal' emotions and maintain his appearance as an unremarkable friend and neighbor. He does maintain a few personal relationships early on, stating that he is "fond" of his adoptive sister Debra. She is unaware of Harry's training or Dexter's secret life, but harbors lingering jealousy of the perceived preferential treatment Harry gave Dexter. As part of his "disguise" in season one, Dexter dates a woman named Rita who is too traumatized from years of abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, Paul Bennett, to be intimate with Dexter. This suits Dexter, who believes getting intimate will reveal his darker side to Rita. He is fond of (and good with) children in general, particularly Rita’s two children, Astor and Cody.

Early Cuts
Dexter: Early Cuts, is an animated web series, that premiered on October 25, 2009. Michael C. Hall reprises his role as the voice of Dexter.

KTV Media International Bullseye Art produced and animated the webisodes, working closely with Showtime for sound editing, Interspectacular for direction, and illustrators Kyle Baker, Ty Templeton, Andrés Vera Martínez, and Devin Lawson for creating distinctive illustrations. The webisodes are animated with 2.5D style, where flat 2D illustrations are brought to life in 3D space.

The first web series precedes the current narrative of the show and revolves around Dexter hunting down the three victims that he mentions in the sixth episode of season 1, "Return to Sender". Each victim's story is split into four two-minute chapters.

A second season of the web series titled Dexter: Early Cuts: Dark Echo, one story in six chapters, premiered on October 25, 2010. It was written by Tim Schlattmann and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mack. The story begins immediately following Dexter's adoptive father Harry's death.

Title sequence

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Dexter's opening title sequence features Dexter's morning routine, from waking up to leaving his apartment for work. The elements of the routine, i.e shaving, flossing, dressing, preparing breakfast (the oranges he juices are blood oranges), and eating are used visually to evoke Dexter's sinister nature. Per television critic Jim Emerson, "The first time you see it... it tells you everything you need to know about the character."

The series won an Emmy Award in 2007 for "Outstanding Main Title Design", and the title music was nominated for "Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music". The title design and music were created by Digital Kitchen, the same production company responsible for the main titles on True Blood, Nip/Tuck, and Six Feet Under (also starring Michael C Hall).

In a 2010 issue of TV Guide, the show’s opening title sequence ranked #7 on a list of TV's top 10 credits sequences, as selected by readers.


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Critical reception
The initial response to Dexter was positive. The website Metacritic calculated a score of 77 from a possible 100 for season 1 based on 27 reviews, making it the third-best reviewed show of the 2006 fall season. This score includes four 100% scores from the New York Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times and People Weekly. Brian Lowry, who had written one of the three poor reviews Metacritic tallied for the show, recanted his negative review in a year-end column for the trade magazine Variety after watching the full season. On Metacritic Season 2 has a score of 85 with all 11 reviews positive, season 3 has 78 with 13 reviews and season 4 has 79 with 14 reviews. While remarking on some of the show's more formulaic elements (quirky detective, hero with dense workmates, convenient plot contrivances), Tad Friend of The New Yorker remarked that when Dexter is struggling to connect with Rita or soliciting advice from his victims, "the show finds its voice."

On December 14, 2006, Michael C. Hall was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Actor in a Television Drama Series for playing Dexter. He was also renominated and won the Golden Globe Award for his role as Dexter at the 2010 ceremony. The show was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for its second season (Showtime's first ever drama to be nominated for the award), and its star for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. It won neither, losing to Mad Men and to Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston. In 2008, it won a Scream Award For Best TV Show. In 2010, Hall won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. John Lithgow won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Performance by an Actor in a Television Series for his role in the series the same night.

Popular reception
The third season finale on December 14, 2008 was watched by 1.51 million viewers, giving Showtime its highest ratings for any of its original series since 2004, when Nielsen started including original shows on premium channels in its ratings. The fourth season finale aired on December 13, 2009 and was watched by 2.6 million viewers. It broke records for all of Showtime's original series and was their highest rated telecast in over a decade. The fifth season finale was watched by a slightly smaller number of people (2.5 million). However, the fifth season as a whole was the highest rated season of Dexter, as it was watched, either on plain or on-demand TV, by more than 5 million people per week.


Dexter has been nominated for many awards. Dexter has been awarded for 19 Primetime Emmy Awards, awarded in the category of both Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for Michael C. Hall), 3 times in a row, from 2008 through to 2010. Dexter has also received over a dozen Creative Arts Emmy Awards. It has also been nominated for 7 Golden Globes (winning 2), 14 Satellite Awards (winning 7), 18 Saturn Awards (winning 5), 8 Screen Actors Guild Awards (winning 1), and 5 Writers Guild of America Awards.


Other media

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DVD/Blu-ray releases

Video game
A video game based on Dexter developed by Icarus Studios and based on the events of season one, was released on September 13, 2009. It is available exclusively for the iPhone platform in the iTunes App Store. The cast and crew of Dexter have been very supportive, with some of the cast providing full voice work for the game, including Michael C. Hall. The game has received many positive reviews, including an 8.0/10 from IGN. No additional content for the game has currently been released or announced as planned. Plans to release the game on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 seem to have been cancelled, as there has been no recent information regarding expansion of the game onto these platforms. The game was released on the iPad on October 15, 2010, and on PC on February 15, 2011.

Alternate reality game
Showtime launched Dexter Game On during Comic-Con in July 2010. It was a promotion that relied on community involvement. Part of the user's involvement required the user to use the scvngr application available for the iPhone and Android platforms to complete treks around the five cities the game was available in. The final trek lead to a kill-room where the "Infinity Killer" had recently claimed a victim. A link was found in the room to a (fake) company called "Sleep Superbly", which began an extensive Showtime-maintained alternate reality game that continued until Dexter's fifth season premiere.

The alternate reality game involves players working cooperatively together to help catch the "Infinity Killer" and identify his victims. A number of other characters help. During the game, players communicate with the "Infinity Killer" among many others. There are also a few shady companies that have active roles. The game spans Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, etc. as well as countless unique sites created for the game. There are even phone numbers players can call. The characters and companies are controlled by real people, adding an extra realism and ability for intelligent conversation. Keeping with the realism most alternative reality games have, Showtime does not put their name or advertisements on most sites and pages created for the game.


The music from the Dexter TV series was released on August 28, 2007 in the album Dexter: Music from the Showtime Original Series. It is produced by Showtime, and distributed by Milan Records. The album is also available online on the iTunes store. The iTunes release includes five additional bonus tracks from Season 1 and 2.

Most notable is the recurring theme from the end credits, which features artificial harmonics on bowed string instruments (violins, violas and cellos), reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann's pivotal "black and white", strings-only score for Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho. Herrmann utilized artificial harmonics for the music to the famous shower scene, where the staccato harmonic glissandos, in Stravinsky-like dissonant tonalities, represent a knife stabbing flesh.

Gary Calamar, whose company, Go Music, also provides non-score music for True Blood, House and Men Of A Certain Age, music supervises Dexter (along with Music Coordinator Alyson Vidoli). The score is composed by Daniel Licht and orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese.

EMCE Toys has planned the release of action figures based on the series.Dark Horse Comics released a 7-inch bust of Dexter Morgan in March 2010, as part of its Last Toys on the Left series, and released a Trinity Killer Bobble Head in April 2010.

A Dexter board game created by GDC-GameDevCo Ltd was released on September 30, 2010 for $29.95.

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