“It’s been a long time but if you’re going to do it, then do it right” Dexter Morgan tells himself on his return, possibly mouthing the same words the original team might have said to each other when the opportunity presented itself to wrap up such an iconic show with the ending it deserved, but never got.

Dexter became a mythical drama in this new golden age of television, complete with one of the most emblematic antiheroes of our time, winning the hearts of audiences and critics alike, who were astonished at having become enamored with a serial killer but who would all eventually abandon him.

Until in September 22, 2013, Showtime imposed a finale on screenwriters that would have many calling for those responsible to be carted off on our protagonist’s mythical stretcher. As such, Dexter revival series showrunner, Clyde Phillips, confessed that this new season, which Movistar+ premiered on November 8, was “…an opportunity to make that right”.

So far, they’ve been true to their word. The return conserves all the hallmarks of the original, only this time… appealing to all audiences.

A delight for Dexter fans

Fans are always delighted to hear new episodes announced, especially after a finale that left the door, as they get to revisit with characters who were almost like family and whose minds they could practically read.

Such is the case with this Dexter revival, inevitably featuring essential protagonist Michael C. Hall in a new world where he seems to be fitting in just dandy, even though his old ghosts are along for the ride.

‘The blood’ haunts him wherever he goes, just as our own traumas would follow us around. But his sister’s spirit, Deb, ‘the heartbeat to the tin man’, also joins him, anchoring us to lifeblood of the original storyline, while helping new audiences (and those with poor memory) to get their bearings as to the origin and backstory of each character.

Does Deb’s presence add to the whole? Of course – we’re all suckers for nostalgia, especially when it doesn’t hold us back from moving on.

A fresh start for Jim Lindsay (and anyone for that matter)

And moving on is exactly what Dexter does with his new life. He’s changed his name and now calls himself Jim Lindsay. New town: from sun-scorched Miami to the harsh winters of Iron Lake. New job: he now works in a family-run gun store, and has a new girlfriend, who couldn’t be more similar to his sister if she tried… And even has a new hairstyle, going with clean-shave and fringe to help him truly blend in among the mountain townsfolk.

On this basis, anyone can jump on the new Dexter bandwagon, regardless of whether you’ve watched the previous seasons or not, thereby playing to loyal fans while also appealing to fresh audiences.

Because deep down, it’s the same old story: a man who’s different from the rest, struggling to be normal, while in the midst of this battle he takes the lives of despicable folk. “You’re looking at the guy where secrets go to die,” he says, prompting original fans to smile as we know, he literally means what he says. A bit of an avenging Robin Hood but, instead of stealing from the rich, he massacres lowlifes.

So yes, he’s back, complete with many of the old hallmarks and everyday conflicts that  continue to elevate our strange protagonist.

Antihero seeks successor?

However, after the bloodletting fest of previous seasons, it appears Michael C. Hall’s thirst for the claret has left him. Although physically he appears to be the same old Dexter, he no longer has the clout or the stomach that had us all cringing in the past, hardly surprising as most actors grow weary of playing the same character for years and you get this feeling from Hall throughout.

The revived Dexter, licensed and remorseless serial killer, incapable of shooting an innocent buck nonetheless, is literally in no man’s land. He no longer seems to enjoy the ritualist slayings, nor the new environment in which he administers his own  particular justice. Instead of looking for new victims to have fun with (and entertain fans too) he seems to be more focused on finding a successor.

Someone to provide us with fresh trauma to probe, new adventures and storylines we can get our heads around. And all signs would indicate that Jim, Dexter and the writers room, have already found the ideal heir to the throne… It’s anyone’s guess, but could this signal more seasons to come?

Paula Hergar
Paula Hergar is a 360 journalist as Paquita Salas would say, writes about TV in Vertele and presents, writes, and directs Zapping on LOS40. In addition to collaborating in cultural programs in La 2 and being the author of the book ‘Around the world in 80 series’.