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Dexter - The Complete Second Season - television series DVD / suspense DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, C.S. Lee, Christina Robinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez
  Studio: Showtime/ Paramount
DVD release: 19 August 2008   Runtime: 636 minutes
(4 discs)
Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
Features: Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; Spanish - Dolby Digital Mono), Closed captioned, 12 Season Two episodes, E-bridge technology extras access (Michael C. Hall podcast and Michael C. Hall interview), Two second season episodes of Brotherhood, First two episodes from The Tudors Season 2 and Californication Season 1

If season one of the Showtime hit Dexter was a twisted, tangled yarn of a tale, season two offers new and unexpected depth of character. Through action and continual thoughts, Dexter is revealed more and more in each episode. He is complex and doesn't tend to follow the preconceived stereotypes.

During the day, Dex is a spatter specialist on the Miami forensics team. Off hours, he bounces between the roles of supportive father-figure-slash-loving-boyfriend and bloodthirsty vigilante who sticks to a very specific code of ethics. His code - his father's code - instilled into Dexter at a young age, comes into question. It would be easy to go off the proverbial deep end, as it were, without his father's voice in his head. That is where season two takes Dexter, into a world where his father isn't on high anymore, and he spins out into chaos as a result.

Sister Deb is still recovering from her stint as the Ice Truck Killer's girlfriend, while Doakes is still chasing Dexter's shadow. Lieutenant Laguerta uses up a lot of dirty energy in trying to get her old position back. Girlfriend Rita gets put on the back burner while master manipulator Lila tries awfully hard to take center stage. Actor Keith Carradine jumps into the cast as Special Agent Lundy, brought in to catch a new serial killer - Dexter himself. While Lundy closes in, Dexter is forced to scramble to continue with his nocturnal playtime. Everyone attached to Dexter is affected in one way or another, and that is eventually his own personal saving grace. His world is slowly closing in on him, little by little, but as his world shrinks, his emotions grow and develop, and he learns to accept himself for who he is.

The show is addictive not because of the phenomenal acting, not because of the well-written but very tangled and questionable stories told, and not because of the believable characters and subplots, but because of the surprises it offers. It is surprising to relate to a serial killer's feelings. It is surprising to root for him. It is surprising to be able to empathize with his hurts and motivations. The Dexter of season two is deeper and much more complex, evolving day by day, with new emotions and needs. Each time a new facet is revealed to us, it is new to him as well.

Narrative musings can often be a distraction from the tale being spun. Dexter's voice, however, is definitely the icing on the cake. The mental asides are what bring the show into reality. It keeps Dexter real and relatable. Of course, it helps that Michael C. Hall's acting is so complete that Dexter doesn't seem like a character being acted. Subtle smirks and even more subtle twitches of emotion flit across his features, while the bigger shows of near-insane anger are just as believable. The use of lighting and shadows is like another character, especially in regards to Dexter.

The special features include the first two episodes of other Showtime hits - six bonus hours of television - as will as interviews and biographies.

Overall, we kept murmuring quietly in complete astonishment to each other as another show would end, "What a great show." Although hooked entirely by season one, we're still surprised that we enjoy a show about a serial killer from his point of view. It is good, though - very, very good - so much so that we must talk about Dexter in whispers, lest his evil ways be catching.
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reviewed by Carolynn Evans
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