The Ups And Downs Of Seasons 1-8

From best to worst, Dexter has captivated audiences since Season 1. Now that it's almost over, it's time to decide our favorites. Will it be the Trinity Killer or the Ice Truck Killer for the win?

Dexter Season 8

The series finale of Dexter is almost here. Most people we've talked to, especially fans of the show, say that while they're sad to see it go, it's time. For eight seasons, we've watched a detached serial killer become so much more. The show will forever be heralded as one of the greats, but it's time to say goodbye. In honor of the end, here's our ranking of Dexter's eight seasons:

8. Season 7

Season 7 starts our list at the bottom. Yeah, it had some exciting moments, but it was really the beginning of the end for Dexter. Deb's got all these weird feelings, La Guerta's got all these weird suspicions, Dexter's got this weird relationship. La Guerta's death wasn't so much devastating as it was a letdown. At the end of the season, we all just felt uncomfortable.

7. Season 3

Not that this season was bad, per se, it just wasn't memorable. At all. Especially in the shadow of Season 4. We forgot all about The Skinner until this article. The only redeeming moments were Dexter's marriage and Quinn's arrival. Otherwise, what happened in this season? We don't really care and it's not worth rehashing.

6. Season 8

So there are still two episodes left, and we're really banking on Dexter turning things around with an out-of-this-world finale. Let's be honest, though: We're not holding our breath. Season 8 reminds us that the show is still clinging to its Lithgow success four seasons ago. But Evelyn is nowhere near as cool as Lithgow. And while we don't hate Hannah anymore, it feels a little false that she's suddenly Dexter's soul mate. Let's not even talk about Deb (Jennifer Carpenter).

Dexter Season 8 spoilers >>

5. Season 2

Season 2 didn't fully capture the brilliance of Season 1, but it was an adequate follow-up to a show that had definitely caught our attention. If you'll remember, in Season 2 Rita encourages Dexter (Michael C. Hall) to join an addicts program where he starts a steamy affair with the dark and mysterious Lila. It was interesting enough to keep us holding on through Season 3, which was so worth it. So thank you for being just good enough, Season 2.

4. Season 6

This season gets a lot of flak, which we don't think it deserves. Colin Hanks joined the season as The Doomsday Killer. Hanks' character Travis was just off his rocker enough to be really exciting to watch. Also, the plot line and motivation for Travis' killings was really unique. (We think the show Hannibal actually did a little copying action here — not that it's a bad thing, we just see a lot of parallels.) All in all we would count Season 6 as solid.

3. Season 5

We still wish Lumen would return to the show. Her character (played by Julia Stiles) was so well done it was shocking. The way she grew from scared victim to confident killer was perfect. And though we wish we would see her again, her exit was well played. This season was memorable especially in the midst of Dexter's grief, and we applaud the show for navigating such sensitive and difficult issues.

Top 10 reasons why we'll miss Dexter >>

2. Season 1

How could we not give some love to Season 1, where it all began? When we first heard about the show, we didn't know what to think. Then, after seeing the first season, it became so clear how revolutionary the premise was. Dexter was a serial killer that you rooted for right from the beginning. Though he struggled with his emotions throughout Season 1, it was clear he had a heart in there somewhere, even if he couldn't see it yet. It's fun to look back on Season 1 and realize how far we've come. Dexter has grown and, by watching him, so have we.

1. Season 4

Season 4 of Dexter will probably go down in history as one of the best season of any show. Ever. When people talk about fantastic TV, they talk about this. John Lithgow tore up the screen as The Trinity Killer, and Dexter complemented him perfectly for a wild ride we couldn't wait to watch. Not to mention a mind-blowing season finale no one ever saw coming. We, like Dexter, were so devastated by Rita's death we didn't think we could continue. The shock stayed with us for months. Television doesn't really get any better than Season 4 of Dexter. It, without a doubt, deserves the No. 1 spot on our list.

The series finale of Dexter airs on Sept. 22 on Showtime. Will you be watching?

Images courtesy of Showtime


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Comments on "Dexter : Ranking the best and worst seasons"

Globster September 19, 2013 | 3:05 PM

one of those shows where you can really tell the exact point of time when all the actual talent aside from the actors jumped ship

Globster September 19, 2013 | 2:59 PM

you could not have gotten it more horribly wrong if you tried. Seasons 8,6 and 5 are a disgrace to what this show once was, in order of offensiveness. I understand why females would rank 5 higher's obvious. Just not rational. 7 was bad, just bad though. 4 was not good but partially salvaged and mostly redeemed by the remarkable performance of John Lithgow and the strong writing for his character. Seasons 1+2 are a shining example of what good TV can look like. Season 3 was very good, if not quite on the same level. Cancellation after season 4 would have been an act of mercy

nosey September 16, 2013 | 4:16 PM

Trinity (Season 4 for was one of the best), I was actually impressed w/ Seasons 1 - 4, I struggled mostly w/ 6 and 8, both seasons seemed forced, I think Season 6 started out bad but ended good, Season 8 started out good and is ending bad. . . b/c I was such a big fan of Isaac from Season 7 (the battle between Dexter and him, then the two teaming up), I did not see this too bad. Isaac was just a cool cat, which is what I like about him. Season 5 was ok, I liked the idea of him and his mate working together, but it still did not touch trinity, in fact Seasons 5, 6 & 8 suffered compared to the Trinity, Season 7 came close, I mean Isaac was baad!! My ranks are as follows: 4, 1, 2, 3, 7, 5, 6, and 8

Sam September 14, 2013 | 1:35 AM

How is season 6 better than 2 and why is season 7 bottom? My order from best to worst is 2,4,1,7,6,3,5,8

Jim September 09, 2013 | 5:22 AM

Season 6 was easily the worst, but it had nothing to do with Colin Hanks in my opinion. It had lazy writing, the most obvious 'twist' ever, and there were just so many stupid things happen. Like when Dexter 'followed' Edward J Olmos to the basement of the church, even though he had to move something from above the trapdoor. How on earth could someone go down a trapdoor and move something over the top once they were down there?! it still makes me angry just thinking about it.

Mags September 09, 2013 | 12:58 AM

I agree with this ranking!!!

bob September 08, 2013 | 11:56 PM

The longer this show has been on the air the worse it has been, that is definitely not reflected in the rankings. Season 6,7,8 should be the bottom of the list as far as I'm concerned. 8 has the big ending but I think it will flop. I don't think we get the shocking great ending we all want. They will let dex live, probably to get a movie deal. Which is pathetic.

Karen September 08, 2013 | 11:27 PM

1) Season 2 - nothing beats when Doakes was after him and he walks into the station and sees his box of blood slides - NOTHING. 2) Season 4 3) Season 1 4) Season 5 - many didn't like the Lumen season - I thought it was very good. 5) Season 7 - LaGuerta's death at Deb's hands was STUNNING as was the moment she tells Deb she has her on video near the gas station right before the church went up in flames. 6) Season 8 - subject to be moved after the final 2 episodes. 7) Season 3 8) Season 6 - Horrible, horrible, horrible - did I mention HORRIBLE? If it weren't for Michael C. Hall I would've tuned out.

chuckles September 08, 2013 | 6:56 AM

I agree with Austin that this is a very odd ranking. Season 6 has been the worst Dexter season by far, and season 7 was ok. And season 5 was reasonably entertaining but not in the top 3. And what I really can't believe is you've put the best season in 5th place! I think season 2 was the most tense, well plotted, satisfying season of all of them, followed close by season 4. The majority of critics seem to agree (though they put season 7 in second ad 4 third). Take a look at the rankings on metacritic.

Kyle Butler September 08, 2013 | 3:49 AM

Season 6 was pretty lame, such a waste of money. The last 3 episodes or so were the only attempt at saving it. The Prof being dead the whole time was cool, the DDK idea was good but it was poorly executed in the season. So much garbage with Quinn's recklessness in there too. Sad to believe Doakes was taken out for this clown to step in. Season 1 and 4 are definitely top tier.

Austin September 07, 2013 | 9:19 PM

Horribly ranked. Season 5 at third place? Season 7 worse than Season 6? Give me a break.

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