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Dexter: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray DVD)

Manufacturer: CBS Home Entertainment
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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When I came across Dexter: The Complete First Season, the premise of a serial killer as a hero kind of put me off. But I like to keep an open mind and so I proceeded to watch the first episode. After that, I was hooked. Why? Well, Dexter is really more of a vigilante assassin (who kills bad people for the common good) rather than a serial killer. Not that vigilantism is a good thing, but it makes for one hell of a crime drama. Plus, the first season really dove right in providing a lot of suspense and mystery, and it also provided very well developed characters and a great storyline. I can easily say that it was one of the best TV series I've seen. As such, I expected the second season to be excellent as well… I wasn't disappointed.

Dexter: The Complete Second Season
During the first season we were introduced to Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood-spatter analyst working for the Miami-Dade police department who also happens to kill people in his spare time. His killings, however, are limited to the murderous people he comes across in his line of work. So, in essence, his need to kill is also driven by his desire to do some good. As the season unfolds, Dexter is challenged to an intriguing game of wits by another serial killer called the Ice Truck Killer. Through an exciting series of twists and turns, we learn a lot about the person who is Dexter Morgan. I won't spoil the plot for you if you haven't seen the first season yet, but let me say that there's a great season finale.

The second season starts off with a little over a month passing by since Dexter's run-in with the Ice Truck Killer. With all the press surrounding him, he hasn't been able to resume his favorite pastime, but he finally finds his next target and the killing resumes. This time, however, the table's are turned when someone discovers Dexter's dumpsite. His fellow law enforcement officers dub this new mysterious killer the Bay Harbor Butcher, but little do they know that the killer is right there in their midst. With the law hot on his tail, will this season spell the end of Dexter's vigilante ways?

Throughout the second season we see reflections of the first season where in each episode Dexter stalks some new prey, while at the same time the story reveals a little more about Dexter himself. In addition, the hunt for a mass serial killer is on again, but of course, this time that killer is Dexter himself. And this time not only does Dexter have Sergeant James Doakes (Erik King) on his case, but a Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) and his team of FBI agents is brought in to put a stop to the Bay Harbor Butcher. This season also marks a new love interest for Dexter as his relationship with Rita (Julie Benz) becomes rocky and he meets Lila (Jaime Murray) who seems to share his more morbid interests.

Spectacular Blu-ray Picture and Sound
There's not much I can say about the video and audio quality of this title other than they are excellent. The second season is provided on three BD-50 discs that are encoded with 1080p MPEG-4 video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio. The visuals are always crisp and colorful. They also provide a great depth of field aspect in many scenes. The audio provides a great mix with a nice, wide dynamic range. Dialog is very clear and understandable in all the scenes and the surround sound supports the mood with wonderful effects and an active background environment.

Dexter Special Features
The special features are a bit of a mixed bag because if you don't have a BD-Live compatible player then you basically get no special features. The only bonus on the provided discs is a game called Tools of the Trade in which you pick out the killing tools used by Dexter and put them in his bag. It's very basic and very boring.

If you do happen to have BD-Live, then you'll get quite a bit more such as the first two episodes of United States of Tara (another ShowTime title), a short featurette called Blood Fountains, and a few video clips from the Dark Defender series. You'll also get short video interviews with each of the Dexter cast members, which provide the best of the special features. But still, I would have liked to have seen more. In addition, having all the features on an included fourth disc would have been far better than having to access them through BD-Live, which at the moment is basically just a special Internet connection through your Blu-ray player. It only adds to the time needed to access the special features because they all have to be downloaded. Otherwise, there's nothing special about BD-Live.

Give Me Dexter or Give Me Death
Despite the special features snafu that some people might face, it's really all about the primary content, which is the show itself and Dexter: The Complete Second Season does not disappoint. If you haven't seen the first season, go get it, watch it all the way through, and then pick up this second season. If you like crime drama, don't mind blood on the screen, and love mystery and suspense, then Dexter is one of the best shows you will ever watch.
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