Seven years since Dexter concluded, the fan-favorite serial killer is back. In Showtime’s Dexter: New Blood, Michael C. Hall reprises his award-winning role as a murderer with a moral code, Dexter Morgan. The ten-episode miniseries wisely gives Hall plenty of room to explore what Dexter has been up to since audiences last saw him in Dexter’s widely divisive eighth season. The Showtime series also provides a fresh jumping-on point for those that are unfamiliar with the original series. While Dexter: New Blood features plenty of callbacks to what made the original show great, it breathes reinvigorated life into the long-running crime series — unlike similar revival series that rely on reheated leftovers.
Based on the novel series by Jeff Lindsay, New Blood picks up with Dexter living under an alias in a small Upstate New York town, Iron Lake. Keeping a relatively low profile since faking his death in Miami, Dexter now works at a nondescript retail job and meticulously maintains a daily routine to prevent his murderous tendencies to reemerge. But as Dexter contends with his sinister inner voice, the Dark Passenger (personified by his long-dead sister Debra Morgan), he receives a surprise visitor. Dexter must contend with escalating incidents in town that are poised to drag him back into his wickedly murderous ways.
Hall settles into his role like no time has passed at all. Dexter: New Blood shows a Dexter who carved out a new life for himself. When we first see him, he is a man driven not to upset this delicate balance. Hall’s performance as Dexter in New Blood is at its most searing whenever he converses with the Dark Passenger. Jennifer Carpenter relishes a twist on her familiar role as Debra. The apparition of Dexter’s sister is simultaneously the angel and devil on his shoulders and a manifestation of whatever conscience he may possess. The rest of the supporting cast performs admirably, with Julia Jones standing out as Iron Lake’s town sheriff Angela Bishop, unaware of Dexter’s true nature.
Developed by Clyde Phillips — who served as showrunner for Dexter’s first four seasons –, New Blood moves at a deliberate pace. The revival series reacquaints audiences with Dexter while it fleshes out the scenic world of Iron Lake. While the town feels unassuming, especially in comparison to Dexter’s Miami life, there are plenty of dark secrets behind his new neighbor’s happy smiles. If there’s anything that Dexter always excelled at, it’s creating antagonists that justifiably belong on the receiving end of Dexter’s calculated wrath. This remains decidedly true for New Blood.
Dexter was a series that ended on a note that left many longtime fans vocally dissatisfied in its execution. However, Dexter: New Blood shows that there’s plenty of life and bloody thrills to be had in the crime drama. Michael C. Hall is as reliably good as ever at breathing a multi-faceted performance into his serial killer role. If these first stretch of episodes are any indicator, Dexter: New Blood will deliver the story fans of the original series were waiting for all along to round out their time with the friendly mass-murder. Welcome back, Dexter Morgan. It’s been too long.