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Dexter” Season Finale Was Brutal

Above: Michael C. Hall in Showtime's hit series "Dexter."

Last night's season finale of Showtime's "Dexter" was hard core. Brutal. Bleak and dark and bloody. It was also watched by 2.6 million viewers and broke all records for the cable network. It was the most-watched original series episode ever on Showtime, and the most watched telecast since a Mike Tyson fight in 1999. Viewing for this year's finale (the show's fourth) was also 54% higher than last year's.

That means a lot of people gasped, and then went to bed disturbed, as I did. It's not the first time the show left me spooked, but more often I've enjoyed the mix of humor and psychological challenges of Dexter Morgan, Miami Homicide blood splatter specialist by day, serial killer by night. Dexter doesn't kill at random. He has a code and that's where his job helps - he's in the loop on all the bad guys who get away. They are his victims. Because of Dexter's code, and his aspirations for a normal family life, he only indulges his "dark passanger" when vigilantism calls.

But this season, Dexter kept finding the blood of the innocent on his hands, to his dismay. And last night's episode ended in a shocking twist that changes everything - a game changer if ever there was one.

I haven't been a huge fan of 'Dexter" this season. I love John Lithgow and he was great as the "Trinity Killer," a proper adversary and mentor for Dexter. But the pacing seemed off and the storytelling wasn't as gripping as past seasons. Even the season finale, as shocking as it was, seemed a little boring, and then some of the subplots rushed to create more tension.

The show is no-doubt well acted and Lithgow continued the quality guest acting that Jimmy Smits upheld last season. We'll have to wait until September, 2010 to see who the next adversary (and guest actor) will be and to find out how Dexter copes with his new world. What did you think of the finale? What about season four? Did you like it as much as past seasons?

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