Dexter, Michael C. Hall - Dexter Season 1 DVD

Kate Goranka Whittaker 18/09/2008

Dexter is essential viewing for those who like innovative TV drama that's a little off-kilter, but rich in character and plot. The excellent Michael C. Hall (of Six Feet Under fame) plays a serial killer with his very own strict moral code - he only kills the bad guys. A blood spatter expert working for the Miami Police Department by day, serial killer by night, Dexter Morgan is a fascinatingly likeable anti-hero, whose dry, self-reflective commentary hooks the viewer straight into his point of view. Though he sees himself as a monster devoid of feeling - at one point comparing himself to a box of donuts that's already done the rounds, "just like me - empty inside" - you'll find it hard not to warm to the guy; despite his murderous inclinations, he has more humanity than he gives himself credit for, as evidenced by his attachment to his foster sister Deborah.

Based on the first in a series of crime novels by Jeff Lindsay (Darkly Dreaming Dexter - well worth reading), this TV version takes the writer's compelling creation and basic plot and runs with it; sustaining the blackly humorous tone of the novel whilst expanding on existing characters, and adding further intricacies in plot development and relationship dynamics. This expansion gives the TV series a stronger heart and a wider appeal than the novels, with credit particularly due to the outstanding central performance by Michael C. Hall as Dexter. His multifaceted portrayal manages to elicit and sustain the viewer's sympathy, in spite of the character's dubious extra-curricular activities. The entire cast is faultless, rising above the stereotypes they could easily have slipped into, and aided of course by the excellent, witty scripts they have to work with.

Consistently entertaining, Season 1 quickly becomes compulsive viewing when a series of local murders start to take on a deeper significance for our protagonist. Dexter's mysterious backstory is gradually revealed as the body count rises, the suspense is geared up a few notches, and events culminate in a spectacularly jaw-dropping finale.

If you missed it on telly (or even if you didn't), get this Season 1 DVD now before Season 2 starts on ITV (currently airing on FX). Season 3 airs in the US in September - so now's the time to start your Dexter addiction, as there's plenty more fix to come.

Unmissable TV that truly murders its competition.