8 Reasons Why This Season of ‘Dexter’ Must be the Last

Even before the new season of Dexter kicked off there was one thing that was clear to many viewers: it needed to end. Not that it was a bad show or that it had gone bad, but it was simply time. Again and again we’ve seen beloved shows continue past their use by date and end on a sour note. Dexter has been a great show, strong in writing and performance that wasn’t afraid to toe the line of taste and morality. But now it has to stop. This is why.

#8 Ratings Are on the Decline

Not that this ever reason alone to cancel a show, especially one that is starting out such as Firefly and Community. Dexter, however, is entering it’s seventh year. Seasons 4 and 5 saw the highest ratings that Showtime has ever seen, and it’s the ninth highest rated show of the past decade. At this point the show’s viewership is in a decline. Whatever the reason, this kind of trend makes television studios get a little twitchy and they start doing silly things. Often the end result is something we’d have rather see cancelled.

#7 The Show Has Peaked

The writers of Dexter have been doing damn fine work. One could even suggest that the quality of the show far exceeds that of the book series on which it is based. The fact that they’ve managed to keep the show interesting since the season four finale is testament to this. Season 4 saw Dexter match wits against The Trinity Killer. Masterfully played by John Lithgow the character was as intriguing as he was terrifying. The narrative escalated to the point of hair-tearing tension and just as we’d let our guard down they hit us with the most shocking revelation of all.

Dexter Trinity

Sure, they might step the game up to this level again…and opening the plot up to what they’ve got in store for Season 7 sounds pretty awesome, but it’s hard to imagine it being as good.

#6 The Villains Are Becoming Cartoonish

Dexter is a show about a serial killer, and every season they introduce another serial killer to serve as the antagonist. Each time they need a villain who is substantially less sympathetic then Dexter – someone the viewer really wants to see dead. They need to be unique enough to stand out from the previous couple and spectacular enough to make the show visually interesting. There’s also been strong casting in these roles (Jimmy Smits, John Lithgow, Colin Hanks, James Edward Olmos, Johnny Lee Miller) and it’s always given the show an extra touch of quality.

Dexter Colin Hanks

“I’ll totally kill you and stuff.”

Unfortunately they’re becoming a tad over-the-top. Last season’s duo were memorable but on the other hand they also set up murders in the image of religious scenes and one was a figment of the other’s imagination.

#5 It’s Stretching Believability

Ok, there are a lot of crazy people out there, and there is some guilty people who manage to avoid the prison system. The number of people depicted as imaginatively demented serial killers who have avoided detection in the city of Miami alone in Dexter is enough to repopulate a small, very scary country. The number of people in Miami who aren’t murderers or murder victims can be counted on one hand at this point.

Dexter angel

I totally believe Colin Hanks set this up.

#4 Most Plot Threads Have Fizzled Out

The characters who only served bit parts in the original book were elevated to supporting cast in the television series, each with their own little narrative thread. Angel and LeGuerta were having a fling that threatened their workplace relation, Masuka was unable to get people to take him seriously, Quinn and Deb have a rocky on-and-off relationship. By season 7 all of these plots have either resolved or faded away and now they’re just there.

#3 The Family Angle has Been Resolved

During the first couple of seasons of Dexter one of the driving narratives was whether or not Dexter could live a normal family life. Rita, Cody and Astor played key roles in this arc, with Dexter becoming more involved in their lives while putting them all at greater risk. For four seasons we saw Dexter struggle with his two faces and the repercussions that they all faced if he was discovered. With Rita’s death at the end of season 4 the kids were moved on and Dexter no longer has a family to worry about and the plot has never been picked back up.

Dexter Family

#2 There’s a Shark on the Horizon

For those unfamiliar with the lexicon ‘jumping the shark’ refers to the point where a television shows goes that little bit over-board and never quite recovers. The term references the episode in Happy Days when Fonze jumps a shark on water skis (the term ‘Nuking the Fridge’ also applies) As we’ve said the show peaked around season 4 and since then it’s been a climb to maintain those lofty heights. This is making the villains more over-the-top and it’s rising the stakes higher with every episode. Eventually things get a little bit too silly and the shark has been jumped. We see it coming, let’s put the brakes on first.

Jump the Shark

Wasn’t kidding about Fonze either.

#1 The Big Question Needs to be Answered

The best way to avoid that shark is to wrap up the big question that has been hanging over the series like the sword of Damocles. Every series has one that forms the driving motivation for the show to keep going, and for viewers to keep watching. Twin Peaks asked who killed Laura Palmer, Buffy constantly referenced the fact that eventually she’ll fall in battle, Lost pretended that there was a reasonable explanation for all the weird shit that happened and Game of Thrones keeps us watching just to see how horrible a death Joffery will have. For Dexter the driving question concerns whether or not he’ll ever be caught and what will happen when he does.

With Debra now wise to Dexter’s game we all expect a clear resolution to this issue. Deb will have to decide whether to turn a blind eye (essentially endorsing his actions) or turn him in. He’ll either lose his sister, one of the few reasons he has to keep out of jail, or he’ll have to pay the price for his crimes. Addressing and resolving this conflict will be the perfect way to end the series. Now that they’ve put the possibility on the table they have to finish it or face a fanbase suffering the same disappointment as fans of Entourage.

Dexter Season 7