Dexter: The Third Season (Blu-ray)
Directed by Keith Gordon et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 629 minutes
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish
MSRP: $ 57.99
Release Date: August 18, 2009
Review Date: August 9, 2009
Everyone’s favorite next door neighbor serial killer Dexter Morgan returns in the third season of Showtime’s hit series Dexter, and this season he has a fellow partner in crime. The Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated series delivers a third season that might not be quite up to the magnificent level of the second but otherwise remains one of the most gripping and addictive dramatic series currently being telecast. The twelve episodes that make up this third season set display the same surprising amount of heart (not just eviscerated ones) as in previous seasons and even probe more deeply into Dexter’s longing for a connection to the real world which, for a time this season, he gets. The suspense inherent in his slayings, on the other hand, continues to bring viewers to the edges of their seats. There is humor and horror combined into a delectable package that makes Dexter one of television’s most unique series.
At the end of season two, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) had narrowly escaped being identified as the “Bay Harbor Butcher” with the blame for his executions being placed on a disgraced former policeman (Erik King). With that threat out of the way, it seems to be smooth sailing ahead for our good-natured blood analyst/serial killer, but even before the first episode is over, Dexter is saddled with more headaches. In his attempt to kill a local drug dealer Freebo (Mike Erwin) who had killed two teenagers and gotten away with it, he accidentally kills Oscar Prado (Nick Hermz), the brother of the assistant district attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), who was at the dealer’s house buying drugs. He also finds out that his girl friend Rita (Julie Benz) is pregnant. And the area has a new serial killer at work called “The Skinner,” a sadist who methodically removes increasingly larger patches of skin from his victims.
Michael C. Hall is giving a career-defining performance as Dexter Morgan. He has received his second consecutive Emmy nomination for his performance during this third season. His on-screen charisma blazes to the fore in every episode, and one literally can’t take his eyes off him even while the character is doing the most ghastly things. Dexter’s friend at work Angel Batista is also given a wonderfully ingratiating portrayal by David Zayas, and after being put through the ringer the previous season by Dexter’s unbalanced stalker, Angel earns a promotion to sergeant this season as well as some TLC by one of Miami’s finest. Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter’s sister Deb returns to her foul-mouthed ways this season as she gets drawn into “The Skinner” case as well as having on-going storylines with a police informant (David Ramsey), a persistent I.A. investigator (Liza Lapira), and the new detective in the squad room Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington). Lauren Velez brings solidarity and understanding to the role of Lieutenant LaGuerta who has had a long history of involvement with the Prado family. Julie Benz’s Rita has much more screen time this season with her pregnancy and with switching jobs moving her more into the forefront of many of the episodes. But the season’s big news is the addition of Emmy Award-winning Jimmy Smits as the determined ADA Miguel Prado. As he and Dexter begin to explore a very demented kind of friendship, the noose around Dexter’s neck begins to tug tighter and tighter as the friend turns into a fiend, and their climactic encounters in the late episodes of the season make for some sizzling, suspenseful surprises. It was no surprise to find Jimmy Smits' name on the Emmy nomination list for his work this season.
Here are the twelve episodes contained on this three-disc set:
1 – Our Father
2 – Finding Freebo
3 – The Lion Sleeps Tonight
4 – All in the Family
5 – Turning Biminese
6 – Si Se Puede
7 – Easy as Pie
8 – The Damage a Man Can Do
9 – About Last Night
10 – Go Your Own Way
11 – I Had a Dream
12 – Do You Take Dexter Morgan?
The show is broadcast on Showtime in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio at 1080i, and these 1080p transfers using the AVC codec remain true to the framing of the series. As was the case in last season’s Blu-ray release, picture quality gains tremendously from cable to disc as the color timing has been adjusted to give everyone much more natural skin tones rather than burnt orange skin and everything else a more natural color palette. Sharpness is mostly very good with better than average black levels though skin tones get more mottled in situations with lower light. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix effectively threads the heavy salsa/hip-hop music score throughout the soundfield, and there is adequate use of the surrounds for discrete sound effects though more could certainly be done to punch up the rears with additional sound.
In order to peruse the bonus features, one must have a BD-Live compatible player and have it connected to the internet.
I was not able during the review period to make a connection through BD-Live. Either the network was not active as yet or both of my Blu-ray players were malfunctioning. However, the press release says that at the BD-Live website, one will find the following:
Interviews with Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, and David Zayas.
Excerpts from the book Dexter By Design
The first two episodes of The United States of Tara
Two episodes from Season Three of The Tudors
4/5 (not an average)
Nominated for the Emmy for the second year in a row as the year’s Best Dramatic Series, Dexter deserves every bit of the acclaim it has garnered for its riveting drama, oddball humor, and tremendous performances. The third season set is highly recommended!