Dexter: Season 2 (DVD)

Blood. Sometimes it sets my teeth on edge; other times it helps me control the chaos. — Dexter Morgan

Dexter: Season 2 DVDOh joy: more devilish doings from everyone's favourite nice-guy serial killer. Some people reckon lame sitcoms and dull reality shows make the best television. Not me – give me something dark, smart and wickedly funny any time. And Dexter fits the bill nicely, thanks. And, like a lot of television coming out of the US cable networks these days, it's very, very well made – brilliant scripts, high production values and superb casting. And if you thought the first season of Dexter was good, wait till you get a load of the second – it just gets better and better.

Plotwise, it picks up just over a month after the first series left off. The "Ice Truck Killer" has been despatched; Dexter's sister Debra (Carpenter) is still jumpy after her close call, so she is crashing at Dexter's place. Meanwhile, Dexter's relationship with Rita (Benz) has become more settled, and they are more comfortable with each other. And when Dexter's off-shore body dumping ground is discovered by some divers, the hunt is on for a new serial killer – dubbed "The Bay Harbour Butcher".

So while Dexter's workmates – and the FBI – are busy hunting him, he's doing his best to cover his tracks and throw them off his scent. Of course, good old Sgt Doakes (King) has always been convinced there's something a bit off about Dex, and spends much of this season following him around, getting a little too close for comfort. And someone else who also spots the wrongness in Dexter – but looks on it as a sort of kinship – is strange British artist Lila (ultra-hot guest star Jaime Murray) whom he meets at a Narcotics Anonymous programme. (Rita has forced Dex to join NA because he admits that he has an "addiction" – which she thinks is drugs, but we all know otherwise, don't we?) And that's all I'll say about the plot, because I really don't want to spoil any of the surprises.

This season of the show takes all the groundwork from the first series and build on it. All the characters become more well-rounded and fleshed out, which comes down to exceptionally good writing and a talented cast – led once again by Michael C Hall. It's really hard to see this guy as the same actor that played David on the groundbreaking Six Feet Under. He not looks different, his mannerisms and even his voice have changed – Hall really is quite a chameleon. Dexter is utterly compelling television that never disappoints.

EXTRAS ★★★ Interviews with all the cast members; a brief interview with Dexter's creator, novelist Jeff Lindsay, when he visited the UK to promote the show for a cable network; an inteview with Rolfe Kent, who composed the jaunty, haunting Dexter theme music; a featurette called The Code of Harry; a picture gallery of Dexter's Tool Kit; Victim Slides – a menu of Dexter's blood slides from his victims, and you can "choose a victim" and watch their murder; a Dexter Trivia Game; a stills gallery; a series of "factoids"; and cast filmographies and biographies. No audio commentaries this time, though.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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