How I Fell Out of Love with Dexter

I have been a huge fan of both the Dexter books and Dexter TV series. I originally read DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER when it first came out and instantly fell in love with the way Jeff Lindsay turned the crime genre on its head.

The usual villainof countless crime novels and movies, the serial killer, was suddenly the hero, the guy you root for. I have always been drawn to the more noir side of crime where the protagonists are the shady anti-heroes either of the criminal world or the world of police and investigators but Dexter was the extreme anti-hero. Lindsay also had this innate ability to make you relate to Dexter in certain instances, especially his cluelessness about women’s emotions and relationships.

I enjoyed the second book in the series, DEARLY DEVOTED DEXTER and then the TV series came along. I approached it with trepidation. I was not confident that the gay brother from SIX FEET UNDER could pull off the character but Michael C. Hall nailed it. And just as importantly Jennifer Carpenter nailed Debra Morgan, in fact she took the character of Debra to a whole other level.

By the time the third book came around, DEXTER IN THE DARK, the television series was approaching its third season and both had diverged quite considerably. The first season of the TV series followed the first book very faithfully but then the plots moved in different directions. Some characters were killed off in the books while they survived in the TV series and vice versa. The TV series also started exploring characters personal relationships as TV series often do to please network executives. And although the TV Dexter started to get more personality than the Book Dexter both were still very enjoyable and going in interesting directions.

But DEXTER IN THE DARK went in a paranormal direction which I felt flew in the face of what the books had set out to do. DEXTER BY DESIGN got the book series back on track to some extent but by the fifth book DEXTER IS DELICIOUS I decided that I was a bigger fan of the TV series and I gave up on the books.

Now in its sixth season on TV though TV Dexter is also starting to wane. The biggest problem is that the personal relationships between all the characters have turned into an almost soap opera and the jeopardy that Dexter constantly faces is starting to wear thin. But the tipping point for me is the character of Debra. She has anchored the whole television series from the beginning as a strong, tough-as-nails female detective that has to fight twice as hard to prove herself against the male dominated world of homicide. She is Dexter’s emotional counter-weight but also his back bone and in the last season the writers have completely watered her character down. They have robbed her of her strength and fierceness and thereby the show has lost its spine.

There are two episodes left in this season and I don’t care. I quit. I have had enough and won’t be returning. Sometimes a TV show has to know when it is done and not drag us all along until the bitter end. I enjoyed the first five seasons and am going o leave it there.


4 thoughts on “How I Fell Out of Love with Dexter

  1. That’s too bad. I haven’t read the books but I’ve watched a little of the series and I agree with you; it’s really interesting to have a serial killer as a protagonist. It’s too bad things drag on and wear thin over time.

    Like

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