Today I am back to rank all the seasons of Dexter! If you didn’t know, this dark comedy television series follow a “lovable” serial killer named Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall) whose victims (in his opinion) deserve to die. Masking as a law-abiding citizen and working as a forensic analyst at Miami Metro PD, Dexter spends his spare time indulging in his deadly addiction, whilst trying to keep his ‘hobby’ a secret from the outside world. He’s the antihero we cannot help but root for. I will be including the latest season: New Blood on my list. It’s safe to say, a spoiler-warning is in order. Finally, I want to thank Jay on Instagram for allowing me to use his artwork in this post. Go check out his page! Without further ado, let’s get into it!
1.) Season 1
Are we shocked that Season 1 is first? It sets up the entire show perfectly, giving us a taste of who Dexter is and how he became the adult we know. We learn about how his mother was murdered right in front of him as a child and his adoption into the Morgan family. At an early age, he showed a propensity for murder, causing Harry (his late adoptive father) to teach him the “code.” He knew he couldn’t stop Dexter’s dark addiction, so he taught him to kill those who deserved it and never get caught. Dexter uses his job in the police force to track criminals that walked free or were released from prison, only to resume their wicked ways. Each season tends to focus on one main villain that Dexter finds himself up against. In the premiere, we are introduced to the mysterious Ice Truck Killer, who dismembers women and arranges their limbs like a doll. Dexter becomes obsessed with uncovering their identity (believing the criminal is sending him a personal message), only to realise the murderer in question is his biological brother, Brian, who went into the foster-system after Dexter was adopted. It is a mind-blowing twist that gives us the shocking realisation that although they are related, Brian meets the “code” and therefore must be eliminated. Aside from the incredible storyline, we are introduced to the colourful characters of the series that are so likable, even when they shouldn’t be. Who doesn’t love Dexter’s potty-mouthed sister, Debra? Or the wildly inappropriate Masuka? I think we can all agree however, that Dexter is the best narrator. His dry sense of humour and cool tones immediately draws us in as his ally. Season 1 is everything!
2.) Season 3
In second place, we have Season 3. It is so underrated! As we know by now, it is difficult for Dexter to make friends, given his addiction (or Dark Passenger as he calls it) must be kept hidden at all costs. However, he yearns for a connection. Somebody who sees him exactly as he is and accepts him anyway – much like Harry. Despite being in a relationship with the gentle and sweet Rita, Dexter knows he could never reveal his deepest secret to her. Enter Miguel Prado (played by Jimmy Smits), the Assistant District Attorney in Miami. Through the Police Department, Dexter and Miguel meet and learn they share a common value: justice. It isn’t long before Miguel discovers the truth about his new acquaintance and wishes to form a duo, where he gets the criminals off in court and Dexter ends their lives. It seems like the perfect partnership at first but as expected, power corrupts and it completely goes to Miguel’s head. When he begins murdering people who don’t fit the “code”, Dexter realises their relationship was too good to be true and puts an end to it. There are so many layers to this season. It truly cements that Dexter’s life is a solitary one.
3.) Season 4
Ahh Season 4. If you know, you know. It’s wildly traumatic and nothing will ever prepare you for the ending. NOTHING. I’ve re-watched it a couple of times and still get shocked. It has the most complex and captivating villain in the entire series: The Trinity Killer (played by John Lithgow). Dexter is now married to Rita and navigating fatherhood with the birth of his son: Harrison. Our antagonist lands on Dexter’s radar when he’s asked to analyse a murder that has a very particular, ritualistic pattern. Trinity recreates the tragic events of his own childhood over and over again in a series of grisly killings. Dexter goes undercover as Kyle Butler and befriends Arthur Mitchell (Trinity) in order to gain proof and end his life. He learns that Arthur is a family man and a valued member of society. It gives Dexter hope that he can blend in as well, which distracts him from stopping Trinity much earlier than he should. By the time Arthur winds up on his table, it’s too late. Dexter kills him, thinking he has won the battle but ultimately learns that he has lost the war. Prior to Arthur’s capture, he murdered Rita and left Harrison crying in her blood – much like Dexter’s own childhood. This season proves that Dexter’s Dark Passenger is not safe from anybody, even those he loves. It’s heartbreaking.
4.) Season 2
I know Season 2 is a favourite for a lot of fans but it’s in fourth place on my list for one reason only: Lila West. After Rita suspects that Dexter is hiding something (rightfully so!) he lies and says he is a drug addict. She sends him to Narcotics Anonymous, where he meets recovering addict, Lila. She becomes obsessed with Dexter, forming a wedge between himself and Rita. Her character is extremely selfish, reckless and irritating. It unfortunately lessened my enjoyment of the season. In other news, the bodies of Dexter’s victims are coincidentally dredged up from the ocean and the hunt for the “Bay Harbour Butcher” commences. A special agent from the FBI is sent to work on the case, who ends up forming a romantic relationship with Debra. Dexter spends much of the season throwing the task force off his scent, dodging Lila and his colleague: Sergeant James Doakes, who has been convinced from the beginning that Dexter was more than he seemed. The ending is literally explosive. We witness a heart-to-heart between Doakes and Dexter that is worthy of an award, the framing of Doakes as the Bay Harbour Butcher and his death by the hands of Lila, who gets her comeuppance from Dexter. The writers took such big risks but boy did they pay off!
5.) Season 6
In fifth place, we have Season 6. It has the most jaw-dropping ending that you won’t see coming. In short, Debra catches Dexter in the act of murder. The moment we have feared, finally comes to light. But before all that, he finds himself stalking a new evil: The Doomsday Killer (played by Colin Hanks). This villain commits biblical-themed murders that he believes will bring about the Apocalypse. As an antagonist, Travis Marshall (Doomsday) is not particularly enigmatic. He’s quite nerdy and awkward. However, his victims are something to behold. He displays the corpses in unique, different ways – depending on how they are portrayed in the tableau. He also suffers from breaks in reality, giving us a great twist when we realise his mentor, Professor Gellar, was murdered by Travis years ago. The whole time, he was hallucinating and speaking to nobody. I liked Season 6 so much because as you’ll soon read, Season 5 was quite boring. It definitely picked up, with the writers resuming their bold decision-making.
6.) Season 9 – New Blood
In sixth place, we have New Blood, the latest and last season of Dexter. 10 years after the finale of Season 8, we were given the gift of closure and I’m so grateful for it. Dexter is now living in Iron Lake, far away from Miami as Jim Lindsay. Nobody knows about his former life and he has no connections to the world outside of his home. Furthermore, he has not killed in years. With a steady routine and a romantic relationship to a police officer, “Jim” has been able to lead a relatively normal life. However, when a resident pushes him too far, he finds himself back in the throes of a cat and mouse game. Oh and let’s not forget the biggest revelation at all. Harrison – his now teenage son – tracks him down and wants to reconnect. Dexter finds himself up against a new evil, who threatens to undo the brand new existence he has created. He must not only protect his identity but his child. What I loved about New Blood, was its ability to pick up right where we left off after such a long break. It all felt so familiar. Nothing was forced. In this particular case, I’m not going to spoil the ending. Watch it and see for yourself. It’s hard to accept but also necessary. I don’t see how things could have wrapped up any other way.
7.) Season 5
In seventh place, we have Season 5. It was difficult moving away from the intensity of the first four seasons to a much more subdued one. Perhaps the writers wanted to give us a break after Rita’s shocking death? Either way, it was not one of my favourites. Dexter, still reeling from the murder of his wife and life as a single parent, is unable to process his new existence. When he kills a rapist named Boyd Fowler, Dexter stumbles across Lumen (played by Julia Stiles) a surviving victim, who tells him that Boyd is just one of many. Through shared trauma, they form a romantic (yet temporary) relationship and take out the remaining men involved in the serial ring of rapes/murders. At the same time, Quinn (Debra’s latest love interest and fellow cop) is investigating the identity of Kyle Butler (Dexter’s alias when tracking Trinity). Honestly, not a lot happens in this season. I did not buy the chemistry between Dexter and Lumen (terrible character name) and the main villains were a series of low-life sex offenders. It paled in comparison to what came before.
8.) Season 7
In second last place is Season 7. With Debra now aware of Dexter’s dark secret, she is forced to decide whether to protect her brother or do what a law-enforcer should. Firstly, there is a ridiculous storyline where she is convinced by her therapist that she’s in love with him. Even though they aren’t technically related, there is still a significant “ick” factor. Secondly, at the end, in order to save him, Debra kills the captain of Miami Metro PD, LaGuerta, who discovers he was the Bay Harbour Butcher all along. I know that it seemed like she had no other choice but it was really out of character for Debra to murder somebody in the force. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I think in this case the writers went too far. While Debra grapples with what she has learnt, Dexter meets and falls in love with another serial killer: Hannah McKay, who poisons her victims. He almost kills her because she meets the code but they end up sleeping together instead. I do like their chemistry but once again, it’s not something he would normally do. He had no hesitation murdering Lila, who was on par with Hannah. Also, the main villain is a Ukrainian mob boss that I always forget about. If anybody can convince me that this season is amazing, please try. I’m willing to listen!
9.) Season 8
In last place, we have Season 8. This was originally the final season of the series before New Blood graced our screens a decade later. I didn’t hate the ending. I just really disliked all of the events leading up to it. Debra’s death felt so unnecessary and pointless. After everything she suffered and sacrificed, she was killed by a gunshot. The villain: Oliver Saxon (The Brain Surgeon), was such a bland and boring antagonist. I did not care for him at all. After his sister passes away, Dexter fakes his own death and moves to a new location, where we see him working in a lumber yard. Harrison is left in the care of Hannah McKay and they move to Argentina. When I re-watched the show, I skipped this one altogether. I wish some different choices had been made. What do you think?
Thank you so much for reading! Do you agree with my post? How would you rank this iconic franchise? Thank you once again to Jay for lending your art.
Peace & Love xoxo