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Doux Top Twenty! Number 18: Dexter

Dexter is number 18 in the Doux top twenty hitting shows.

I remember back in 2006, everyone was talking about a brand-new show called Dexter and telling me I had to try it, while I was certain it wasn't for me. A sympathetic serial killer? Come on. And then there was a Showtime free trial, and I succumbed and tried it. I was wrong and "everyone" was right.

The thing that is so compelling about Dexter is its unique premise – that Harry Morgan, a cop who cared deeply about the law, raised his adopted son the serial killer to channel his uncontrollable urge into killing murderers who deserved it. Dexter isn't like serial killers and isn't like normal people. He's unique.

I dare say the show wouldn't have taken off without (1) the incredibly talented Michael C. Hall, with his clever, sarcastic internal monologue and boyish good looks that managed to make Dexter appealing, and (2) the exceptional supporting cast, led by the talented Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter's adopted sister, a dedicated cop who had no idea what her beloved brother really was. I found it impossible not to root for Dexter, and I simply had to write about him. For eight seasons (2006-2013) and a one season reboot (2021-2022), I dutifully subscribed to Showtime specifically for Dexter.

Where did it go wrong? Sadly, money, and the suits. Dexter drew in the largest audience Showtime ever had, so instead of winding it up when it was still really good, Showtime kept prolonging the show past its logical end point. The "lumberjack" series finale was so infuriating that they had to wind it up with a reboot eight years afterward.

But it was still a brilliant show. Were you a Dexter fan?

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I always loved Dexter and I have had some arguments over when it actually jumped the shark (probably Season 7&8) but I did like the revival to an extent. Michael C. Hall was why I watched, and what new ways Jennifer Carpenter would deliver absolutely outrageous swear words in new and inventive ways. Their chemistry was always so great that they even went to place that the narrative should never have gone.

    Still, I'm glad Dexter exists, and will probably watch it again at some point down the line.

    1. One of my favorite lines of all time, in anything, is "Holy Frankenf--k! Snakes!"

  2. Ah, I find it really easy to point out the exact moment that this show jumped the shark.

    It was the moment one of the writers thought to themselves "we should have Dexter's sister fall in love with him"

    1. Trousers, I think you're right. I wish the suits had allowed them to bring the show to its natural conclusion instead of continuing to up the ante.

  3. First one in your countdown I’ve not watched fully. Saw S1 and dipped out. Was a good show, but just didn’t draw me in. Think the subsequent awful ending soured me to trying to watch the rest at a later date tbh.

  4. I don't think I have as much to say about this one, but it's a very cool, "fun" (if that is the right expression to use here :-D ) show with a concept that really should not work as well as it does. A show like this succeeds or fails on the merits of its main star, and thankfully, Michael C. Hall was completely up to the task. What a brilliant actor - I was already familiar with him thanks to Six Feet Under, and Dexter Morgan really could not be more different from David Fisher.

    Dexter is just so charismatic and likable despite the fact that we constantly see him carry out horrible acts of violence. It was a really smart concept to have him act as our narrator as well as our main character - we are constantly in his head and see things from his perspective, and that does a lot to help us, the audience, empathize with him despite his sociopathic tendencies.

    Funnily enough, I found almost every character on the show aside from Dexter himself somewhat annoying at the start and then slowly started to really enjoy and like pretty much all of them, especially Debra, who really hides such a big heart under all that over-the-top swearing. It's a shame the show went off the rails at some point, but that doesn't ruin things for me in this case. I still have to check out the revival season though.

    I guess I had a little more to say than I thought ;-)

  5. I find it funny that Micheal C. Hall has been in both a show with one of the greatest finales of all time and one of the worst.


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