Dexter gets a new showrunner, again

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For the fourth time in its six-season run, Showtime's "Dexter" will get another showrunner. Executive producer Scott Buck, who has been with the serial killer series since the beginning of season 2, will take over for Chip Johannessen. Johannessen ran season 5, but Buck will take over for the upcoming season that will most likely air fall 2011. This is an interesting, if not surprising, move by the "Dexter" team, so let's break it down.

"Dexter" has been a fantastic series throughout, thanks mostly to the excellent Michael C. Hall as the titular serial killer who goes after other serial killers. But, my one complaint— and it's kind of a big one—is almost every season feels the same because no singular creative voice has handled an arc for the entire series so far.

The first three seasons we saw Dexter dispatch other killers in Miami with ease in episodic fashion while a larger story develops each season. (Side note, I will to forgive the fact that a completely unrealistic number of serial killers live in Miami.)

It’s quality television, but the major problem is the world of Dexter never expands past a specific season. Everything gets wrapped up in nice little bow by the finales and we just move on. Then came the game changer.

In the excellent fourth season Dexter matched wits with a killer at his level in Trinity, played by a frighteningly creepy John Lithgow. Trinity and Dexter played a tense cat-and-mouse game until Dexter, of course, strapped Trinity to his table.

What came next was possibly the greatest, and most shocking, moment of the series when Dexter returned home to find his wife had been murdered by Trinity before Dexter caught up with him. It signaled that things were finally going to move ahead in Dexter's world and the repercussions of his ways were finally catching up to him.

Season 5 started out strong with and resulted in another nice season plot with some fantastic guest stars—Julia Stiles, Johnny Lee Miller, Peter Weller. The problem was when the finale came around the show reverted back it it’s old ways.

It looked like the series was going to take another big step with Dexter's police detective sister (Jennifer Carpenter) about to find out that Dexter was a brutal killer. Then he secret was saved by a dirty plastic sheet. Dexter got away and no one was the wiser. Happy endings abound. It almost ruined everything I liked so much about season 5 as a continuation of season 4.

“Dexter” needs to start bringing about its endgame—one that can only involve Dexter’s relationship with his sister being tested by his secret. And, I wouldn’t be shocked if some big revelations about Dexter’s “adopted” father are revealed as well. Hopefully, Buck will be the last new showrunner—although I doubt it as Showtime is going to milk its hit show—and we’ll get some overlapping season storylines that culminate in a series-long climax.