I've just finished ploughing through the first season of Dexter, and I have to say, this is one show that is deserving of the hype. The first season features 12 episodes, each running a touch over 50 mins, but each one leaves you wanting more.
Dexter is a forensics expert working for the Miami Police Department. But he has a secret. He's also a serial killer, living by a code, the "code of Harry". The code of Harry was taught to him by his adoptive father, and ensures that as a serial killer, Dexter only kills those he deems deserve it. Killers, pedophiles, rapists all fall victim to Dexter's need to kill. That's not to say that Dexter kills to make the world a better place. He kills because he enjoys it, and his belief that his victims deserve it is just a pleasant by-product.
The first season deals with Dexter's attempts to fit into society, and maintain the illusion of normality, whilst dealing with the appearance of a new serial killer operating in Miami, the Ice Truck Killer.
Dexter is not a conventional crime drama. It's nothing like CSI or Law and Order. What it is, is far more compelling. As a viewer you are conflicted. Dexter is at times charming, whilst always detached and cold. As the series progresses, and the tension over whether or not Dexter's secret double life will be exposed builds, you find yourself hoping he won't get caught, whilst at the same time wondering why your essentially barracking for the lesser of two evils.
As you'd expect, Dexter does feature a little gore now and then, so it's probably not for the squeamish. But if you want to watch a crime/drama with a difference, then I'd most definitely give Dexter two thumbs up. Now I only need to remain patient and wait for season 2 to come out on DVD. Now I'm going to have to track down the novels the show is based on...