PrintE-mail Written by Julian White

Review: Dexter – Season 7 / Cert: 15 / Director: Various / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Ray Stevenson, Yvonne Stahovski, Lauren Velez / Release Date: June 3rd

As reliable as the Miami sunshine, everyone’s favourite serial killer returns for a seventh season. This time, though, the blood spatter has really hit the fan. Deb (Carpenter) discovers her big brother's secret when she catches him delivering the coup de grace to Travis Marshall, while Dexter (Hall) is drawn like a moth to a flame to deadly florist Hannah McKay (Stahovski). And in the meantime, LaGuerta (Velez) won't stop sniffing around the Bay Harbor Butcher murders. Is Dexter finally starting to lose his grip?

Characterising the desire to wrap people in plastic and plunge a blade through their heart as a form of addiction, as Dexter does in episode after episode, can't help but seem rather facile, but it's fun watching Deb take him at his word and put him on a regime of serial killer rehab. Yes, Season 7 is all about impulse control. He even, God bless him, fights off the urge to snuff that super-annoying intern, Louis (Cooke), swallowing his rage and sense of helplessness. Welcome to how the other half lives, Dex.

Inevitably, all this effects his mojo, and he finds himself being plagued by his conscience at inconvenient times. Not good news, because, with the Ukrainian Mafia after him for slaying one of their own, he could definitely do with being at his predatory best.

Season 7 is arguably a bit light on plot – heavy weather is made of Dexter's encounters with Ray Speltzer (Gerald), a murderous meathead who likes to pretend he's the Minotaur, and a subplot to do with dimwit cop Quinn (Harrington) and an exotic dancer smacks of padding – but it has plenty to keep you entertained. Ray Stevenson's Isaak Sirko is a handy (if in the end rather monologue-prone) antagonist, and there are the usual excellent turns from a by now well bedded-in supporting cast, especially David Zayas' Batista and C.S. Lee's Masuka. The real highlights of the show, though, are those moments when the pressure proves too much for Dexter and he becomes slightly unhinged – moments that generally take place when he is clutching a scalpel and looming over a whimpering and immobile victim.

That said, with Deb's attentions becoming increasingly suffocating, there is a mounting sense that Dexter might, after all, be the least screwed up member of the Morgan family. How much of what his father drummed into him about his urges to kill was a self-fulfilling prophecy? And to what extent does jealousy fuel Deb's vendetta against Hannah? All questions to be explored in the future, no doubt, as Dexter strides into Season 8, clutching his trusty man-purse.

Extras: Behind Episodes 1 & 2 / Dissecting a Scene / Writers' round table / Scene commentary / Becoming Ray Speltzer

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