Dexter: New Blood
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dexter: New Blood is a reboot of the original series Dexter, and like it, features a serial killer who tells himself he's meting out justice by killing murderers who have evaded law enforcement. Like the original, this series is filled with lots of gory violence. Expect to see decapitated heads and limbs, body parts in garbage bags leaking blood, stabbings, shootings, and more. Animals are killed in hunting sequences, and we see an animal being butchered in one long scene. A storyline involves murders of indigenous people connected to a reservation near where this show is set; there is some discussion of why the indigenous people in question are marginalized and at greater danger for violence, as well as why said violence doesn't get the attention as missing/murdered White wealthy people. Sexual content is less frequent than violence, but expect characters to have sex with rhythmic motions and moans, as well as nudity like female buttocks. Many scenes are set at bars with characters drinking; some characters, particularly those coded as villains, drink too much and get sloppy and obnoxious. In other scenes, characters smoke marijuana and snort lines of white powder. Cursing includes "f--k," "a--hole," "damn." Most of all, this show encourages viewers to empathize with a killer, which is questionable at best.
So far good Only for mature audiences
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What's the Story?
Years after the original series Dexter concluded with main character Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) presumably lost in a hurricane (yet really in self-imposed exile in a wintry small town), DEXTER: NEW BLOOD finds Morgan living under a new name, Jim Lindsay, and living a new life working in a fish and game shop in the fictional tiny burg of Iron Lake. He has a girlfriend, police chief Angela Bishop (Julia Jones), and a cordial relationship with seemingly everyone else in town. And yet, Dexter's same old impulses are still with him, and when people begin going missing in his adopted hometown, he can't help trying to set things right in his own imitable way. Complicating matters: Dexter's now 17-year-old son Harrison (Jack Alcott) has tracked him down and wants a real relationship with his dad, and sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) is still hanging around too, despite her death at Dexter's conclusion.
Is It Any Good?
Eight years after everyone's favorite conscientious serial killer disappeared from airwaves (and following a roundly hated finale), this reboot proves there's juice yet in the original premise. When we pick back up with Dexter, he's abandoned the sunny climes of Miami (the setting for the original series) for the fictional tiny upstate New York town of Iron Lake, where he works at a fish and game store and masquerades as a nice small town guy. No surprise, that soon goes off the rails as he begins losing struggles with the murderous impulses he personifies as his Dark Passenger at the same time his long lost son turns up. Can Dexter dispatch baddies while evading the notice of both law enforcement and an enmeshed family member?
Old fans of the show will be happy to note that Dexter: New Blood is operating more in the vein of the show's vaunted first seasons rather than exploring the plot holes left over after the much-criticized final one. That may be because New Blood brings back Clyde Phillips, who helmed the original's first four seasons. In this iteration, as in the original, Dexter's impulses are brought to the forefront by one particular big bad; while Dexter's most prominent nemesis in the first series was the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow), a lone wolf in the vein of Ted Bundy, this time Dexter's on the trail of a killer responsible for a string of missing women connected to a Seneca Nation reservation near Iron Lake. He's also busy evading too-close-for-comfort law enforcement, this time due to his romantic relationship with the chief of police, while trying to appear normal to everyone else. Luckily, watching Dexter keeping his illusions intact is a reliable pleasure, now as ever. Expect lots of blood-spattered snow, and a gory good time with this snappy reboot.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the premise of this show. When it premiered, viewers found it easy to accept the idea of Dexter as a flawed hero. Is he still in any way a "hero?" Why do we sometimes root for the bad guys? Is Dexter a bad guy? Given what we know about the limitations of justice, is a character who's essentially a vigilante something of a stand-in for the violent impulses of audience members? Should he be?
How do shows like Dexter: New Blood use violence to tell their stories? What potential impact can watching violent media have on a person?
How does this show's presence on cable allow it to push the envelope when it comes to violence, language, and sexual content? What would the show look like if it were to air on network television? How would it have to change?
- Premiere date: November 5, 2021
- Cast: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Jack Alcott
- Network: Showtime
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: December 16, 2022
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