Sometimes, no matter how much we try to bury it, the past won’t die. Fortunately for us, the creators of the immensely popular serial killer show Dexter deemed it time to revisit the past, rectify the widely-panned finale of that show, and give us an update with Dexter: New Blood (2021-2022).
After faking his death 10 years ago, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) has settled down in a small upstate New York town called Iron Lake. He has assumed a new identity as Jim Lindsay, works at an outdoor store, and is dating the Chief of Police, Angela Bishop (Julia Jones). Oh, and his dark passenger hasn’t reared its ugly head during all this time. That is until a young, cocky investment banker named Matt Caldwell (Steve M. Robertson) shows up in Iron Lake and stirs up trouble.
After Dexter learns that Matt has killed innocent people in a reckless boating accident and avoided the blame, Dexter takes it upon himself to act as judge, jury, and very much the executioner. And just as his dark passenger comes back, another relic from Dexter’s past comes crashing in: his son Harrison (Jack Alcott). With Matt missing, Dexter is suddenly in the crosshairs of Matt’s shady father, Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown), the owner of a truckstop diner and well-respected citizen of Iron Lake. This sends Dexter and Harrison down a path to which there is no turning back. Can Dexter rekindle his relationship with his son, or will the world around him come crashing down before he gets that chance?
POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
The conclusion of Dexter was straight-up not good. Whether it was the killing off Debra Morgan, or Dexter riding his boat into the hurricane, or the revelation that he faked his death, the execution of that (former) final chapter was not popular with fans. For years, we had fake Season 9 posters or showrunners and stars hemming and hawing about a return. But finally, somehow, the stars aligned, and we received the miniseries that is Dexter: New Blood.
When I first heard about the return of Dexter, I was nervous. However, after the first episode of New Blood, I was ecstatic, and that excitement lasted until the final episode of the 10-episode run. There was so much to like, from the return of Harrison, to the dark revelations of Dexter’s foe, to the way the show was able to bring back Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) as his nagging conscience (just as she was in the show, with swearing and all). But, more than that, the show tonally was a return to form of what made the original series work so well. The dark humor, the mystery, and the dread beats all hit the right notes.
And the conclusion was much, much more satisfying.
I know I mentioned some surface aspects of why the original series finale was a miss. More than anything, however, I think that somewhere deep down we knew Dexter deserved a form a justice – a justice that he escaped. As much as we are drawn by his “code” of harming only those who harm, we still knew there was a “wrongness” to it. And the dark passenger of Dexter fully reveals itself in the final episode. Harry’s code may have brought Dexter this far, but Dexter’s real code – the code he reveals to Harrison when he speaks about how the world “needs” them – is a narcissistic and bankrupt way to live. The way Dexter’s story concluded couldn’t be more appropriate.
As for the New Blood part of the name, it seemed like they were potentially setting up Harrison to carry on Dexter’s legacy, especially since the dark passenger seemed to have passed from father to son. After the end credits began to roll, I wasn’t so sure. At the very end, we hear Dexter’s voice reading the letter he wrote to Hannah all those years ago – a letter he passes on to Harrison. The final lines hint at some possibility of a spin-off: “Let me die so that he can live.” Harrison wouldn’t let Dexter die, and he found himself almost wound up in the sins of his father. Ultimately, though, those words in the letter carried some degree of prophecy.
So will there be a Harrison spin-off? I could see it. New Blood quickly became Showtime’s most-watched series ever. Where Dexter had psychopathic tendencies, Harrison showed us that he has more of a conscience and the capacity for empathy. And yet, the dark passenger also appeared to exist within that. If they wanted to, I could see the showrunners opting to pick up on Harrison’s journey several years later as he is trying to co-exist with these conflicting traits as an adult.
However, I can just as easily see the creative team deciding to let Dexter and his legacy rest once and for all.
Dexter: New Blood is a strong conclusion that rectifies the past sins of the titular character and the original conclusion with stunning flare. Fans of the original series can take comfort that this skeleton was not left in the closet of the past. Will there be a future? That remains to be seen.
Dexter: New Blood
Hello, Dark Passenger, My Old Friend10.0/10
Reunited Father and Son10.0/10
Return to Form9.0/10
Dexter's Murderous Foe10.0/10
Salvation for the Original Ending10.0/10
- Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jack Alcott, Julia Jones, Johnny Sequoyah, Alano Miller, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Carpenter
- Creator: Clyde Phillips
- Directors: Marcos Siega and Sanford Bookstaver
- Writers: Jeff Lindsay, Clyde Phillips, Alexandra Franklin, Marc Muszynski, Kirsa Rein, Alexandra Salerno, Veronica West
- Studio: Showtime