Dexter's fifth-season kickoff may have pulled in an impressive 2.3 million viewers, but the second episode illustrates a groan-worthy problem of the show—apparently in Miami, the only people worth dating are your coworkers. Yes, Dexter is officially experiencing a veteran show's often-inevitable pitfall—the sometimes painfully contrived in-dating among cast regulars.
Many mature shows suffer from such cast-cest. Maybe the problem develops two seasons in, maybe four. Given a fixed cast of characters, the trigger is simple enough. A show's narrative energies dwindle, and a lightbulb flashes: Hey! Why not throw Sergeant Angel Batista into a torrid love affair with Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta? Or ... what about homicide cops Debra Morgan and Quinn? Perhaps those two should hook up, as we've begun to see in season 5. It's easy kindling for narrative fire, or so writers hope. Friends practically did a complete rotation, where even Joey and Rachel had a turn.
Dexter has always been guilty of plot-convenient hook-ups, with no better example than Dexter's awkward and expletive-spitting sister Deb. Her romantic attachments to key plot players now include:
- Brian "Ice-Truck Killer" Moser (Season 1, Dexter's long-lost serial killer brother)
- F.B.I. Agent Frank Lundy (Seasons 2 and 4, hunter of her brother and then Trinity)
- C.I. Anton Briggs (Season 3, pivotal informant, dramatic end-of-season hostage)