Paramount Pictures | 2008 | 600 mins | Not rated

With three seasons in the books, Dexter remains one of the most intriguing television programs on the air. Michael C. Hall continued his skilled portrayal of the title character as the series writers and producer’s brought in characters and created twists and turns that left fans of the show clamoring for the new season. In Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), Dexter is given a protégé, a best friend, and a nemesis. Miguel’s introduction forces Dexter to further explore his innermost feelings as the introduction of both a friend and a rival causes all sorts of unexpected emotional turmoil. Though only twelve episodes, the third season of Dexter continues to effectively explore Dexter’s longing for a place in the real world as he deals with his need to kill.

Dexter - The Third Season

Dexter seems to be back on solid ground after narrowly escaping identification as the “Bay Harbor Butcher” at the end of season two. However, he soon finds himself in hot water after he accidently kills the wrong man. Botched in his attempt to get rid of a murderous drug dealer named Freebo (Mike Erwin), he accidentally kills Oscar Prado (Nick Hermz), the brother of Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), who was at the dealer’s house buying drugs. Dexter frames Freebo for Oscar’s murder and later kills him in his usual methodical fashion. When Miguel walks in on Dexter finishing the job, he is surprised to find the Assistant District Attorney accepting and rather excited by the whole thing.

Dumbfounded, when Prado asks Dexter to teach him his methods, our favorite serial killer finds himself with a friend. Dexter agrees, and in one of the season’s strongest episodes, “The Damage a Man Can Do,” Dexter allows Miguel to kill a gambler who kills people to pay off his debts. Dexter is further shocked to learn that his girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz), is pregnant. As if that wasn’t enough, the area has a new serial killer on the loose, referred to as the as “The Skinner,” because of his sadistic practice of methodically removing increasingly larger patches of skin from his victims. While Dexter’s sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), tries to stay hot on the trail of “The Skinner,” she also falls for her guitar-playing CI (David Ramsey).

Predictably, Dexter’s friendship with Miguel ends, when Dexter learns that he has been killing behind his back. Miguel kills rival attorney Ellen Wolf (Anne Ramsey) with no regard for the code Dexter has taught him. This betrayal leads to a murderous finale and Dexter’s realization he’ll likely never be able to fully embrace the ordinary. The chemistry between Hall and Smits is wonderful; running hot and cold at the appropriate moments. I’ll be surprised if Jimmy Smits doesn’t find his name on the list of Emmy nominees for his work here. David Zayas, C.S. Lee, and Lauren Vélez continue to deliver solid, detailed performances while Desmond Harrington, as Deb’s new partner, offers some welcome intrigue to the proceedings.

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 with previous Blu-ray releases of the series, Paramount has delivered a polished transfer. Once again, reds are particularly vivid and skin tones are natural looking. Black levels remain rich and inky, depth is consistently convincing, and detail rarely suffers.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track is robust and delivers every sound with unmistakable authority. While the soundfield could definitely do more with the rear speakers, dialogue is crisp and the musical soundtrack comes through loud and clear.

In order to take advantage of the special features, one must have a BD-Live enabled player connected to the internet. Apparently, these features are not going to be available until the BD is released on August 18, 2009, so I wasn’t able to look them over before writing this review. However, BD-Live enabled players are supposed to be able to access the following:

Interviews with Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, and David Zayas.
Excerpts from the book Dexter By Design
Two episodes from Season Three of The Tudors

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