After the mixed bag that was “Dexter,” Season 5 (really, they’re all mixed bags, aren’t they?), I sat back and wondered why I watch this show. I think it comes down to the fact that “Dexter” heartily embraces the dark side of life; taking us down mysterious—sometimes awful—and twisty trails with an interesting and quirky group of people. Michael C. Hall nails Dexter’s struggle with his own humanity, Jennifer Carpenter brings a depth to her character’s strengths and weaknesses not often seen in female television roles and the assorted side characters (Masuka, Batista and Quinn) are a mix of earnest and goofy, who bring necessary comic relief. Although each season is usually fraught with loose ends and meandering middles, “Dexter” has mastered the art of building to a frenetic last couple of episodes and decent finales.
“Dexter” is also reliable for getting great seasonal guest stars like Keith Carradine, Jonny Lee Miller, John Lithgow, Mark Pellegrino and a surprisingly effective Julia Stiles. And for its sixth outing, the show has outdone itself by signing on Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe and Emmy winning actor, Edward James Olmos. Olmos will be part of a major story arc, playing a “brilliant, charismatic professor of religious studies.” Also joining this season is Colin Hanks as “Travis, a highly intelligent expert on ancient artifacts who gets linked to a series of grisly murders in Miami,” Mos (the artist formerly known as Mos Def) as “Brother Sam, an ex-con who claims to have found religion but is still surrounded by violence” and Aimee Garcia (“Off the Map”) as Jamie, Harrison’s new nanny, who may or may not be Dexter’s new love interest.
Showtime says “Dexter” will be returning to its roots and that emphasis will be on Dex’s relationship with Deb, setting up the possibility that Deb may finally be exposed to the truth about her brother. Meanwhile, there are still a couple of roles to be filled, with casting calls having gone out for:
Chicago Mike: A thirty-something African-American homicide detective who possesses a finely turned BS detector. The Windy City native does not play well with Dexter or others (sounds a lot like our beloved Doakes).
Louis: A buddy of Masuka (C.S. Lee), who joins MMP as a new lab intern. Role calls for a Caucasian actor in his 30s who is “attractive in his own way.”
“Dexter” returns to Showtime, Fall 2011.
**Bonus late update: Billy Brown (“Lights Out”) just signed on as “Chicago Mike.”