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Secrets can be murder

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IOL Dexter

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan and Jennifer Carpenter as Debora Morgan in Dexter

This penultimate season of M-Net’s award-winning Dexter is touted as the most popular. To date, Dexter Morgan (Michael C Hall) has been a serial killer par excellence – but his latest slip up, with Debra walking in on him in the act of killing a suspect, has left him in a predicament. Debashine Thangevelo looks at what lies ahead for our beloved bloody murderer.

WHO would have thought a show about a Miami Police Department’s blood spatter pattern analyst who is also a closet serial killer would garner as much interest?

But it has.

Michael C Hall’s role as Dexter Morgan – on the back of Six Feet Under – has made him even more iconic as the lines between right and wrong blur.

Having long ago established his urge to kill, hence the “Dark Passenger” alter ego, thanks to the grooming of his stepfather Harry, in following The Code he gets to satisfy his lust for murder while also getting rid of the city’s scumbags.

As with the best-laid plans, things go awry. Aside from dealing with the Ice Truck Killer and Trinity Killer among an array of bad guys, Dexter has had some close calls with his double life almost being exposed.

There has also been that incestuous undertone between him and his stepsister Debra, who, ironically, is a cop.

As much as he has always positioned himself as a cold and unfeeling person, his close-knit relationship with wife Rita’s kids Astor and Cody, as well as his biological son, Harrison, throws that theory out the window. It also, to some extent, throws his double life off kilter.

On the gripping start to season seven where Debra walked in on him just as he plunged a knife into Travis Marshall, he told Crave Online: “Well, thankfully she hasn’t outed him yet. He’s only been outed to her, but it’s horrifying for him. I think it’s interesting to see him forced to defend himself to a degree, and I think he maybe makes some sort of hedging apology for putting her in an awkward situation, but he never apologises to himself or to her for what he’s done.

“He’s totally ready to defend himself, justify what he’s done and what he plans to continue to do and I think that’s really interesting. It’s certainly an interesting thing I think for Jennifer to play. Dexter, over the course of the life of this show, has been initially someone who claims to be without the capacity for authentic human emotion. We’re meant to be suspicious of that. He comes to be suspicious of that. Certainly he plays at, if doesn’t genuinely experience, what it is to be human in different ways, more sophisticated ways, more emotional ways. But with Deb knowing what she knows, I think it reboots the whole landscape and Dexter now is a human, but he is not compartmentalising his humanity.”

That his secret becomes a heavy burden for her – especially since it places her career in jeopardy, becomes an intriguing twist laden with drama.

On the domino effect of events for Debra, he speculates, “I think she’s someone who’s been looking for answers to maybe questions she hasn’t been able to quite ask. In a way, I think whatever feelings she came into awareness of [for Dexter], you could argue that they had something to do with those unanswered questions, questions that have been answered this season. Certainly her feelings about her brother are going to change a bit now that she knows what she knows.”

Given the growing tension between Dexter and Debra, he says: “I think the show is always at its best when Dexter’s in trouble. He’s in hot water on so many fronts this year. He’s certainly in hot water with his sister and therefore in hot water with his job with the police department and even Ray Stevenson’s character (the head of a Ukranian crime syndicate), who arrives in Miami looking for the person who killed one of his associates.”

With Calista Flockhart, Jason Gedrick and Yvonne Strahovski making cameo appearances, it looks like viewers are in for another spellbinding killer season.

Dexter airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Tuesday at 9.30pm.


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