Dexter Season 5 Storyline Suggestions
December 16, 2009 | Lists
Dexter is a one-hour drama/dark comedy based on the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, about a mild-mannered Miami police blood-spatter analyst who sometimes takes his boat out for a spin to dump the body parts of killers he’s murdered and sliced up into the Gulf Stream. Dexter’s fourth season finale was seen by 2.6 million viewers, an impressive achievement in these days of increasingly fragmented TV audiences. Peer-to-peer file sharing, YouTube and a host of cable and satellite options will mean that office workers will walk up to their water coolers one day soon intent only on staving off dehydration, with no thought of having a chin wag over how last night’s episode of Friends would finally get it the writing Emmy it has long deserved as in olden days.
Dexter is worthy of the attention – it is one of the best shows on television despite some plot developments that would redden the face of even the most shameless, hard-core, “Never mind the fact that she’s already been cremated. We’ll bring her back reincarnated as the fetus of the husband’s mistress, have her age at a super-fast rate and get her revenge!” soap opera writer. The third season, for example, featured Jimmy Smits as a district attorney who, upon hearing of Dexter’s hobby of turning criminals who have slipped through the cracks of justice into steaks, thinks it’s a pretty good idea and even gets in on the action himself, sidestepping judicial niceties and strangling a defense attorney who beat him in court.
It’s a credit to Michael C. Hall’s considerable skills as an actor and the smart, winking tone taken by the show that what could have been merely absurd seems appropriate and a good bit of dark fun. Hall was on form this season, as was John Lithgow – here in his most twisted role since he played the father in Harry and The Hendersons.
By now everybody knows what happened in Dexter’s season four finale, even those who might consider it a sign of the end times that a show featuring an irony-loving serial killer is so popular. Julie Benz, who had played so well the role of a hot June Cleaver to Michael C. Hall’s cleaver-wielding Ward, was murdered by the Trinity Killer, left in a bathtub filled with her own blood. It was just the right ending to the season – emotional, satisfying in terms of the season’s story arc, and a relief to Dexter fans who wanted to see more of Dexter chopping up bad guys and less of him in marriage counseling.
The folks behind Dexter are basking in some well-deserved praise for the season finale and the series will surely be a favorite at awards shows – get ready for some permutation of the headline, “Dexter slashes the competition at Emmys” – but they’ve also set for themselves the challenge of having to follow up on that episode in a way that does not disappoint and embitter loyal viewers. As a fan of the show, I offer my suggestions on possible story-lines for season 5 of Dexter here. Should the show’s writers take any of these ideas on board, I ask only that one of the criminals carved up by Dexter in season five be named after me. Here are Dexter Season 5 Storyline Suggestions!
Dexter as the Alligator Hunter
Dexter opens the Miami Herald the morning after Rita’s murder. The main story is, of course, a report on his wife’s grizzly death and how a serial killer is again at large just when you thought it was safe to return to your shady Miami doings. Below the fold, however, is a small item about how an alligator found its way into a suburban backyard and made a quick lunch out of the family Cockapoo, “Mrs M”. Back at Miami Metro, Dexter searches the police database and finds countless other stories of pets and children eaten by alligators. Driven by a desire to protect his family and seek vengeance against such attacks on domestic life, Dexter sets off on a one-man mission to rid the state of the alligator scourge.
Dexter as Eco-Warrior
Dexter is one of the least eco-conscious characters on television. He drives an SUV, often alone, all over Florida, and dumps an unconscionable amount of plastic into the ocean every time he kills someone – both the bags he uses for body part disposal, and the sheets of plastic he uses to catch the spray of gore while he’s carving someone up. Coming to terms with his guilt over his wife’s death, Dexter starts looking at other areas of his life in which he could improve, and realizes what callous disregard he has been showing for the environment. Dexter sells his SUV, starts taking the bus, and joins a Florida everglades conservation society to learn the names of the state’s top polluters, who soon populated his to-be-killed list.
Dexter as Wall Street Avenger
Again, it’s the morning after Rita’s murder and Dexter is reading the Miami Herald except below the fold this time is a story on the economic bailout and how taxpayers’ money is going to help the corrupt, greedy Wall Street bankers who caused the financial crisis in the first place. After calling an economics professor he had in college to make sure he understands the situation correctly, Dexter becomes enraged. While his murders of serial killers and child fornicators improve the lives of people in those immediate circles, he realizes far deeper satisfaction could be had by targeting upper-level corporate fraudsters.
It Was All a Dream
Dexter had fallen asleep on his boat after murdering the Trinity Killer and dreamed Rita’s end. He returns home to find Rita giving a sponge bath to Patrick Duffy, who plays the driving instructor who took her virginity at age 16. Rita tells a shocked and creeped out Dexter that she had invited the driving instructor over out of pity as he had recently been paralyzed in a car crash, and she offered to give him a bath only because the air-conditioning was broken. The awkwardness of this encounter is so intense that Dexter loses his blood-lust completely and develops an interest in rare, collectible soda pop cans.
Dexter realizes he’s basically Batman
Dexter is basically Batman minus that annoying rule that keeps the latter from strangling the Joker and putting an end to his decades-long string of ghastly homicides instead of relying on Arkham Asylum, with its terrible security, to keep him locked up. They were both warped by the murder of their parents at a young age, both have secret identities and both are arguments for vigilantism as the only guarantee that justice will be served. Since he’s having a tough time coming to terms with Rita’s death, Dexter’s sister Deborah pops over with The Dark Knight on DVD to help him keep his mind off it. Having never previously heard of Batman, Dexter is startled at the similarities between the character’s life and his own. He realizes he is essentially a middle-class Batman who kills people. Dexter thanks Deborah for bringing over the DVD and it appears to have really cheered him up. He gets to work fashioning his own Batman suit until he realizes how completely this would blow his cover and sinks back into depression.
Vince Masuka becomes Dexter’s partner
With Rita gone, single dad Dexter is bound to be starved for adult conversation and he has next to no friends, having punched out the neighbor for trying to make a cornudo out of him. His partnering with Jimmy Smits didn’t work out so well in season three, but he would probably have better luck with Vince Masuka. While seeming less lecherous in this season than in previous ones, Masuka is nonetheless clearly a maladjusted individual; a porn addict largely incapable of relating to women other than on a crude and inappropriate level, and he shares Dexter’s ironic detachment when it comes to horrific crimes. With Masuka’s forensic knowledge and troubled character, he could make the ideal Robin to Dexter’s Batman.
Dexter goes to the nuthouse
Dexter is a pretty high functioning individual for someone who faced such a terrible trauma in early childhood. But being responsible for Rita’s demise is too much and when she rushes to his house after hearing about the crime, his sister Deborah finds him in the fetal position, talking to the neighbor’s garden hose as if it were a magical snake giving him advice on who is likely to win the World Cup. Saddened, but realizing what she needs to do, Deborah commits Dexter into a home for the mentally insane, where a cast of character actors like Gary Sinise could deliver performances in supporting roles that would guarantee them Emmy nominations. A prime time drama based in a mental hospital is long overdue.
Dexter gets lethal injection
Let us not forget, that Florida is one of the US states in which the death penalty is still in force and as one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, Dexter would get moved to the front of the line. Angel Batista questions Dexter on Rita’s death since as the single most commonly cited murder statistic on television makes clear, spouses are to blame in 98% of all murders of husbands and wives. Still not quite in his calm, calculating frame of mind, Dexter makes a flippant remark, “Let me get this straight, you’re trying to pin this one on me”. Batista doesn’t think much of this — he is obviously not a great cop as his working every day with a serial killer and not suspecting a thing makes clear — but he brings it up during a lull in conversation at dinner with his new wife, Lt. Laguarda, who sees it for the implied murder confession it is. The two build a case against Dexter over the course of the season until the Season 5 finale when the line between reality and fiction blurs as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush guest stars, playing the governor who refuses to grant a last-minute stay of execution. Should the show get the green light for a season six, this ending can also be made into a dream using the above Patrick Duffy scenario.