But the miniseries also feels pointedly, deliberately informed by the failure of the original run’s latter seasons: by Deb falling in love with Dexter (why?), by Dexter dumping her dead body in the path of an oncoming hurricane (why?), by Dexter’s son Harrison ending up in South America while Dexter put a whole continental United States between himself and Miami (why?!). Some of this is probably because of the return of initial showrunner Clyde Phillips, who dreamed up the idea for this miniseries and the decade-long time jump that begins it. And some of this is also because of how pop culture has changed in the years since “Dexter” ended.
Progressive causes have become more mainstream and more widely discussed on TV, and they pop up here. Additional acting, writing, and development opportunities have rightfully materialized for members of underrepresented communities, and they pop up here, too. “New Blood” incorporates both of those approaches, and in the four episodes provided for review, those components seem to expand where the miniseries could go. Don’t be worried: “New Blood” is still a little bit cheesy, and still a little bit predictable. Emotions are still highly elevated, so much so that it almost qualifies as melodrama. There are still serial killers hiding in plain sight, because of course there are, and Dexter is still going to get drawn in against his better judgment, because of course he is. There is a certain comfort to watching “New Blood” because of its narrative reliability. But so far, the upstate New York location, with all its pristine ice and snow waiting to be marred by a hot spurt of fresh blood, provides a new milieu of garish potential.
It is December 2021, and a decade after leaving Miami, Dexter Morgan (Hall) has renamed himself Jim Lindsay. For the past couple of years, Jim has lived in the small town of Iron Lake, New York. He works as a sales associate at the local fish and game store, keeps goats, a pig, and chickens on his property, and is dating the town’s chief of police, Angela Bishop (Julia Jones, one of two Taylor Sheridan-project veterans in the cast, alongside Gregory Cruz). He hasn’t killed anyone in all this time, partially because of the constant presence—haunting, really—of his sister Deb. (Carpenter is having a great time in this role, ripping into Hall’s Dexter with snark, smarm, and fury.) Instead, he’s just a regular guy, dating a woman he says he loves, eating a lot of baked goods, and even line dancing at the local dive bar.