New on DVD: Dexter: The Fifth Season

By Robert B. DeSalvo

Despite the guilt over his wife's death, Dexter returns for some serious bloodletting.

Creator: James Manos Jr. Rating: Not Rated Studio: Paramount

The fourth season of Showtime’s Dexter ended with Dexter (Michael C. Hall) discovering his wife, Rita, murdered in her bathtub after he put her in danger by pursuing—and killing—the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow). The repercussions of this shocking finale resonate throughout Dexter: The Fifth Season as our favorite Miami bloodstain-pattern analyst/serial killer struggles with the guilt over Rita’s death.

A wife, a new baby and two stepchildren really killed Dexter’s killing time last season. But with Rita gone and her two kids from a previous relationship off with the grandparents, Dexter is able to get back to what he does best—singling out, hunting and offing morally bankrupt people. Sure, he still has his baby son, but with sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) and others around to babysit, solace comes with a sharp blade.

The surprising twist this season is Dexter’s unexpected relationship with the mysterious Lumen (Julia Stiles), a survivor of a brutal rape squad that we find out is headed by a secretly sadistic motivational speaker, Jordan Chase (Johnny Lee Miller). After an uneasy feeling-each-other-out period, Lumen discovers what Dexter really is and tries to understand him, insisting that she come along with him as he slices his way through the rapists and gets retribution for her and, in a way, Rita.

Fans worried that a serial killer saddled down with a wife and kids in suburbia would neuter the series should rest easy now that Dexter is back to serious bloodletting in this season. The transformation of Stiles from brutalized victim to Dexter’s revenge-hungry partner in crime is exciting to watch over the 12 episodes and the chemistry between the two generates heat, even if we know deep down that Dexter works best alone. Miller is also deliciously evil as a closet misogynist hiding behind a protective layer of fame and adoring fans. Although this season doesn’t end with the kind of shocker we expect from the series and the writers have pulled the Dexter-is-about-to-get-caught-by-Deb card one too many times, Dexter remains one of the bloody best dramas on television and, now, on DVD and Blu-ray.

Best extras: The DVD includes episodes one and two of The Borgias and Episodes and access to two episodes of Californication and other cast interviews by using your PC’s DVD drive to connect to a secure website. With your BD-Live capable Blu-ray player, you can access the same episodes and interviews in your living room via the Blu-ray version and bypass the trip to the computer. Both the DVD and Blu-ray also contain a coupon for $25 cash back when you order Showtime, on which the sixth season of Dexter premieres October 2.


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