As the third season of Dexter begins, undercover serial killer Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) has made a kind of peace with what he is. The end of last season saw him get rid of his most suspicious coworker in the Miami Police Department and a dangerous distraction of a woman.
He's happy in his secure, stabilizing relationship with single mom Rita (Julie Benz), satisfied in his vocation as an avenging angel of death, and there's a fire in his eyes that seems to ignite the entire show.
The third-season debut tops the previous season-opener with not one but two major revelations. There's Dexter's unplanned murder of a stranger, sure to lead to weeks of suspicion and near misses involving guest star Jimmy Smits' district attorney, who's also the victim's brother.
Then there's another event he didn't see coming, Rita's pregnancy, reviving all of Dexter's fears about the sickness inside him, where it stems from and whether he'll pass it on.
Though the character gets unsteady, the show sustains the energizing fire Hall starts in the opening scenes, and it feels strong and hot enough to blaze easily through 13 episodes.