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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Dexter: The Fourth Season'
(Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, et al / 4-DVD / R / (2009) 2010 / Showtime-Paramount)

Overview: The Showtime Original Series DEXTER™ is back with an all-new season, and this time America's favorite serial killer has gone from freewheeling bachelor to responsible husband and doting dad. Maintaining an average-guy facade while satisfying his need to kill has never been easy. But now, with wife and kids in tow, Dexter's got more to lose then ever, as he gets drawn into a deadly game with a killer every bit as dangerous — and conflicted — as he is.

DVD Verdict: People are saying that this fourth season of 'Dexter' is the best yet. Well, as a fan of the series, but only in its DVD form - straight thru episodes, back-to-back, I've had to wait until now to either agree (which I hoped) or disagree!

And, regardless of the known before-the-fact that John Lithgow had played his character Arthur Mitchell ("a very special kind of monster") in such an unnervingly portrayal that he garnered an Emmy and Golden Globe for said performance, I am here to state, for one and all, this fourth season is indeed FRICKIN' BRILLIANT!

OK, and to get to a plot line or two, for those not in the know and trying to decide whether or not to rent/buy this wonderful, dementedly dark comedy show; and YES, there could be a couple of spoilers on show here now, but NOT the big ones, I promise, here are some points you may wish to know.

Season four gives us a series of bathtub murders, some mothers of two jumping to their deaths, and some back street bludgeonings. And yes, they are all connected - and all to the man known as 'The Trinity Killer' (ie: John Lithgow).

And so, Dexter, along with the Miami Police force he works hand in hand with, sets out to contain this twisted adversary in his own way, rising to the challenge put before him by this sadistic, supposed man man.

Now sure, the first, second and third seasons were good, but this fourth season is beyond all of them for sheer showmanship. That said, it might well have been the same old same old had it not have been for Lithgow and the wickedly left of center Trinity killings storyline.

I mean, don't get me wrong, as I loved last season's Jimmy Smits nice-guy-gone-bad storyline too, but somehow Lithgow takes the show up a notch. Some seemingly boring and yet fit in facts about the show are that while Dexter hunts Trinity, the department is trying to solve the Vacation Murders, as Miami tourists are being robbed and killed. Dexter finally moves out of his apartment, gives it to his sister, and stores all his stuff in a storage yard container - in much the same one he was found that fateful day, sitting in a pool of blood!

But this season it's not all about Dexter, as his sister Deb (the always-on form Jennifer Carpenter) finds herself in a love triangle when FBI Agent Lundy returns unexpectedly. She seemed to have it so good with Anton, the guitar player from season three, but that ends stone dead as her love for Lundy blossoms once more. But, as with most things in Deb's life, things don't go so well with him either, but it isn't long before both he and Anton are out of her life for good.

I've seen Jennifer Carpenter play Deb (although in real life she and Michael C. Hall are dating!) for four season now and EVERY SINGLE SEASON she is firing on all acting cylinders, he potty mouth as ripe as ever, her line delivery perectly honed. My God, even her subsequent breakdown scenes are beyond a joke at how perfected they are in angst and heartbreak.

Her partner, Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington) starts up a sexual relationship with a clingy female reporter, whose neediness makes him a little uncomfortable and which tests his loyalities to the force. Of course, she is after a story all the time, but little did we all know she was the story! Meanwhile, LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) and Batista (David Zayas) have renewed their relationship and, in danger of losing their jobs, decide to marry - eventually, and only when threatened with losing both their jobs!

Vince Masuka (C.S. Lee), the Miami Metro Police lead forensic investigator and someone who works alongside Dexter in the lab and at crime scenes is again knee deep in all the office funny quips, but this season seems somewhat toned down. Mind you, he has his moment to shine in the Thanksgiving episode!

And therein lies my one, and thankfully only issues with season four - and one, funnily enough that Quinn was picking up on also. And it's that Dexter spends ALL his daylight work hours nowhere near the little lab room he seemed once confined to! He's either always calling in from "the road," delayed due to traffic, or dashing out to a "crime scene" - when all the others are left behind in the station! And when confronted by Quinn about this, he smacks him to the ground! So I'll let it drop ... for now!

In another big reveal scene, although we (the audience already knew it) one of Harry's (Dex's father, played with illumination by James Remar) old informants takes Deb to the house of Laura Moser. Deb immediately recognizes the house as the home of Brian Moser, the Ice Truck Killer. After piecing together Dexter's connection to Brian and Laura, Deb reveals this information to Dexter, explaining that Laura was his mother and Brian his brother. Dexter feigns surprise, but has other things on his mind.

Of course, a continuing thread this season is Dexter trying to balance his life as a husband/new father and still satisfy the urges of his "dark passenger". This gets harder and harder to do until things begin to unravel. Rita drags him back to therapy. Dexter becomes responsible for the deaths of two (2) innocent men - one at his own hand, which sits badly with him, and later, MUCH LATER, a horrific event changes his life forever. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Californication - Season 3: Episodes 1 and 2
Lock 'N Load - Season 1: Episode 1
The Tudors - Season 4: Episode 1
The Tudors - Season 4: Episode 2
Interviews with both Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow (PC only)