"Dexter: New Blood" Brings New Justice to an Old Story
"Dexter: New Blood" wrapped up the original series in a ten-part sequel with a satisfyingly grim ending. Assistant Arts and Living Editor Brianne LaBare '25 explores the binge-worthy series and its effect on the legacy of the "Dexter" franchise.
After an eight-season run that began in 2006 and garnered 2.8 million views during its finale on Showtime in 2013, “Dexter” has returned for its final season eight years later.
With speculation about the hit show’s return beginning in July 2021, “Dexter: New Blood” aired on its original network on Nov. 7, 2021, raking in a staggering eight million viewers each week during its ten-episode run.
While the original “Dexter” garnered a considerable amount of popularity, the show’s final episode, “Remember the Monsters?” ended in what is now considered one of the worst TV series finales of all time.
The show stars Dexter (Michael C. Hall), a forensic blood splatter analysis who works for the Miami Metro Police Department. While Dexter plays a pristine and precise tech guy by day, he moonlights as a vigilante serial killer targeting murders who evaded the justice system.
Season eight concluded with Dexter mercifully pulling the plug on his sister Debra “Deb” Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) and dumping her body in the ocean, while a major hurricane brewed on the Miami coast. He then drove into the eye of the hurricane, leading viewers to believe that Dexter had met his demise. The finale concluded with a shocking twist revealing that Dexter had faked his own death and moved to Oregon, where he began to work as a lumberjack.
“Dexter: New Blood” picks up where the original series left off. Hall returns as the vigilante serial killer turned dormant outdoorsman now living in Iron Lake, N.Y.
After nearly a decade of being a docile small-town salesman, Dexter appears again, now using the alias of Jim Lindsay.
Unsurprisingly, much of the plot revolves around Dexter’s past working its way into his present. His long-lost son, Harrison Morgan (Jack Alcott), reappears in Dexter’s life after years of thinking that Dexter had passed in the hurricane that swept the Miami coast in the season finale.
His son’s sudden return compels Dexter to conceal the life of murder and deception he left behind years ago in Miami. Dexter’s secrets, however, ultimately prevent him from fully forming a relationship with his son, who appears to have violent tendencies, much like his father. Viewers can see that Dexter desperately wants to be a good father to Harrison, yet his past impedes his ability to do so.
It’s this desire that causes Dexter to share with his son his internal “dark passenger” — Dexter’s urge to kill — and “The Code of Harry”' — a set of guidelines created by Dexter’s adopted father, Harry Morgan, and Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a neuropsychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of psychopaths, to help Dexter channel his need to kill. Harrison inevitably becomes Dexter’s sidekick, and they dream of leaving Iron Lake and becoming a crime-stopping team.
Dexter’s plans are foiled by his girlfriend, Chief of Police Angela Bishop (Julia Jones), who discovers his true identity and seeks to punish him to the fullest extent of the law. Escaping the irons of his jail cell, the unkillable Dexter is forced to bend the rigged rules of his code and kill Sergeant Logan (Alano Miller), who is also Harrison’s wrestling coach.
In the process of evading capture in Iron Lake, Harrison learns of Logan’s death and is beside himself. Aware that Dexter violated “The Code of Harry,” he realizes that Dexter’s need to kill cannot be contained by any code that can easily be transgressed. He decides he will not flee with his father. As Dexter’s world comes crashing down once again, he realizes his efforts were hopeless and that he is beyond redemption. In the scene leading up to his final moments, Dexter says, “This is the only way out. For the both of us.” We see a defeated and seemingly accepting Dexter point to the kill spot on his chest. Harrison shoots and Dexter falls into the snow.
Lying face up in the snow, the untouchable Dexter’s blood pools around him, and for the first time, we recognize that he is feeling love. In his final moment, he sees his deceased sister Deb — an ever-present part of Dexter’s imagination who subconsciously acts as an honest narrator of his decisions — pulling away from him as his heart rate and breathing slow.
Harrison leaves his dying father and drives out of the icy small town. In a bag on the passenger seat beside him, he finds the letter his father had written explaining his departure at the end of the original series. In his final words, Dexter reveals his humanity by describing his son as his “phantom limb,” and viewers are forced to confront how difficult it was for Dexter to leave his son. A stark contrast to the sentiment viewers were left with at the end of the season-eight finale.
Given the ending of “Dexter: New Blood,” it’s safe to say that the Dexter era has come and gone twice now. With the death of Dexter, it’s difficult to see the franchise reemerging with another spin-off. In many ways, the limited series ending adds a much-needed and desired end to a series that has captivated viewers and left them questioning for nearly a decade.
The new rendition combines the nostalgia of the original series with a contemporary flair, creating a product that has transcended through time. Much of what made the original so memorable remains — Dexter’s omnipresent inner voice, his bloodthirst, and the thrill of watching him evade capture time and time again. Leaving “Dexter: New Blood” so spiritually close to the original series gives long-time fans a resolution to Dexter’s tumultuous tale. For new viewers, the fanfare surrounding the miniseries may just provide you with your next binge-worthy series.
Although speculations of a spin-off series involving Harrison have circulated through the Showtime stratosphere, Dexter’s ultimate sendoff left fans with a definite ending to Dexter’s life of homicide.
The ending is a grim look at the fallout of Dexter’s choices and serves as a comeuppance of sorts. Unlike his self-inflicted punishment in the original show that left him isolated in the Oregon wilderness, this new ending invokes a more severe punishment for his past actions, particularly because it is at the hands of his own flesh and blood.
Just as Dexter’s ever-present inner monologue fades out of earshot, the credits roll. As the words scroll along the blank screen, the eerie introduction to Jon and Daniel Licht’s “Die This Way” plays, and viewers are left with only the realization that this is the last we will ever see of Dexter.