Dexter is Just Terrible, and Has Been Basically Forever

So Dexter came back last week, and before watching the new episode - which I'm sure is about how he's been rewarded by getting his sister to shoot a cop (although really that's going to be his downfall!) - I wanted to take a moment to reflect on just how terrible the season-ender of Dexter was last year.

The episode begins with LaGuerta placing Dexter under arrest for being the Bay Harbour Butcher. She's able to do this because she's discovered a shirt with some blood on it in some garbage from Dexter's boat. The blood belongs to Estrada, the man who murdered Dexter's Mom all those years ago. The only logical assumption? Dexter has killed the man! How's he going to get out of this one?

Simple - it was all Dexter's brilliant plan! He broke into the evidence storage facility where they were still holding the bloody shirt that Estrada was arrested in from 30 years ago. By doing this and planting it on his own boat, he somehow makes everyone think that LaGuerta planted the evidence, discrediting her. Isn't it convenient that the police department held onto that shirt - which wasn't actually evidence of anything, just the clothes Estrada was wearing - for all those decades? Seems like a bit of a stretch, doesn't it? More importantly, if LaGuerta was going to frame Dexter, why would she do it in a way that could be so easily uncovered?

More importantly, where is Estrada in all of this? Remember, his parole was engineered by LaGuerta so that he could serve as bait for Dexter - which worked. Then when Dexter escaped from the cops, Estrada escaped from him, leaving him the only person alive who could reveal the fact that the Bay Harbour Butcher was still running around. Except for the arsonist who Dexter handed over to the cops after revealing himself as the Bay Harbour Butcher to. I'm not sure why that didn't come up later in the season.

So, how's Dexter going to deal with the Estrada situation? Simple - the writers will pull their old trick of papering over plot holes by having characters say things that make no sense! In this instance, it's Dexter muttering about the trouble he's going to have finding Estrada because "He's on the run from me and the cops."

Is he, though? Do the cops want to find him? Can't he just call the cops and say "Hey, after I was paroled to be used as bait for a serial killer, that serial killer did show up and try to kill me. So maybe arrest that guy and let me skate?"

It's not like he's committed a crime or anything - the only thing the cops could possibly want him for was a parole violation, although since he violated parole by hiding from a serial killer, they have every reason to be nice to him. Across the entire episode there's literally no reason for Estrada to not A: Go to the cops; or B: Get as far from Miami as possible. Instead, he hangs out in a park until Dexter kidnaps him in broad daylight on a crowded street.

Which is where the show really gets abysmally bad - knowing full well that LaGuerta's not going to stop coming after him, Dexter concocts a scheme: have Estrada lure her down to the docks so that Dexter can kill both of them! So Estrada makes the call, and LaGuerta heads down to the docks so that Dexter can murder her.

I'm not sure why she does this - even if it didn't occur to her for a second that Dexter might be laying a trap for her (and how could it not have - she was being lured to the docks, the exact same container where Dexter tried to kill someone like 48 hours earlier), why would she go to meet a murderer alone? There's no reason not to call for backup! Maybe the homicide division wouldn't believe that Dexter was holding the man captive, but why would she have to tell them her suspicion? She got a call from Estrada asking for a rescue - what force on Earth would keep her from calling in a horde of backup to make sure that a convicted murderer the cops were looking for gets brought in safely and easily?

The kicker is that Dexter's identity as the Bay Harbour Butcher is so ludicrously easy to prove, were any character willing to put in the slightest amount of effort. Let's go over means/motive/opportunity:

Means - As a forensic investigator he'd surely know how to dispose of corpses. As a person with access to police files, he can find victims easily.
Motive - He's a creepy guy whose mother was chopped up with a chainsaw in front of his eyes. Do you need more of a motive than that?
Opportunity - This is the big one, which should serve as confirmation to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention. To be the Bay Harbour Butcher, he would need hours and hours of free time to stalk and kill people. He's got a job and a baby - where would he find the time? Yet LaGuerta never bothers to ask his nanny (her former sister-in-law) what Dexter's schedule is like. One question would reveal that Dexter claims to spend like 10 hours a week doing overtime at the office. A simple look over the office timecards would reveal that he does no such thing. Case essentially closed.

But LaGuerta, being a terrible cop written by awful writers, does none of these things, and walking into a trap ensuring her untimely death.

And Dexter remains the worst-written show on television, now that CSI: Miami is off the air.

Hey, that's two awful shows set in Miami... is there something to that?


Andrew Barr said...

You are forgetting the characters DO spend an awful lot of time on the show lamenting how terrible their precinct is at solving crimes and arguing about who's the worse cop or covering for each others really dumb mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Terrible this year. I think they should just change the name to "Debra" she is featured way too much this season.
We have considered not bothering to watch it at all.