Movie Reviews

Is Dexter Worth Watching? Breaking Down The Original Show's Reviews & Rotten Tomatoes Scores


  • Dexter has a 71% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Despite a decline in later seasons, the show was widely praised.
  • Fans of crime dramas may find Dexter’s thrilling twists and complex morality worth watching.

Dexter was initially released in 2006, but now that it’s accessible on streaming, it’s time to consider if the show is even worth watching. Dexter debuted on Showtime in 2006, where the show rapidly built a dedicated fanbase. The crime drama series starring Michael C. Hall in the titular role was initially adapted from a series of novels from the similarly titled Darkly Dreaming Dexter novels by Jeff Lindsay. However, the show’s popularity meant that the series was quickly renewed for new seasons and began to diverge from the novels.

For most of the series’ run, the show was widely praised, and it even managed to snag four Primetime Emmys and a further 21 Emmy nominations throughout its run. Dexter continued for eight seasons in total, with a few of the later seasons falling flat, or moving in directions that were less favorable. However, the show is a thrilling and deliciously complex crime drama with plenty of twists that may be worth biting into.


6 Biggest Questions Dexter: Origins Could Answer

Dexter: Origins has a chance to expand Dexter Morgan’s story and answer the burning questions about his upbringing and early killing years.

Dexter Has A 71% Score From Critics On Rotten Tomatoes

And An Even Higher Score With Audiences

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the overall critics’ score for Dexter was 71%. The way that RT compiles and creates a score is by gathering scores from other critics and media outlets, and the reviews that are above 50%, or generally favorable, are added toward ranking the series as Fresh. Any ratings that give it a lower score are added to determine that the series should be classed as “Rotten.” With that in mind, a score of 71% doesn’t mean that the show received an average of 71%, but that 71% of the reviews were positive, which is anywhere from 50% to 100%.

However, that may not help to define whether the show is worth watching. As an overall score, it is on the higher end, and a score that suggests the majority of people found it worthwhile and enjoyable. On the other hand, the Audience Score is composed of reviews from non-professional contributors who rate the show as being 3.5 stars or higher. In that aspect, Dexter climbs to an even higher score of 81%. Overall, the show has a very healthy RT score.

Dexter Has Received Favorable Reviews Throughout Its 6-Season Run

The Ups And Downs Of Dexter

Broken down even further, Dexter also has RT scores for each season. During the series run, the highest scoring season, season 2, came in at 96%, while the lowest, the final season, scored just 33%. Taking these numbers as a guide to how much audiences enjoyed the show, there is a clear drop-off as Dexter progresses. Seasons 1 through 5 all received scores above 72%, with the third season ranking the lowest of that group. After a significant drop-off in season 6 with 38%, the show briefly recovered in season 7 with 70%, before the final season once again dipped in favor.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

















It’s clear that the show had a solid run for five seasons until making some fatal errors in season 6, and failing to stick the landing in the final season. However, the incredible ratings for the first five seasons are certainly appealing for those considering diving into the show in its entirety. And despite the dip in quality, the show did get a revival in 2021 with Dexter: New Blood, which scored 77% with critics and 74% among audiences on RT. Dexter: New Blood may serve as a more effective ending for fans of the series if season 8 is too unpalatable.

Despite initially being renewed for more seasons,
Dexter: New Blood
was later canceled in favor of looking to create a prequel spin-off.

Dexter Is Worth Watching For Fans Of Crime Dramas

A Bloody And Thrilling Adventure With Massive Moral Dilemmas

Dexter had its ups and downs like any other show. However, the premise is exciting and unique, the series is thrilling throughout with delicious drama and intense questions around morality, and Michael C. Hall delivers a career-defining performance as Dexter Morgan. Taking everything into consideration, it’s clear that the show is not for everyone. There are moments where the series loses its way, and the show stumbles to recover. It also has a sticky ending that dissatisfied many viewers and could frustrate newcomers to the show.

However, for anyone who is a fan of crime dramas and shows about moralistic murderers, Dexter is not one to sleep on. Dexter features an array of incredibly talented actors, and dynamic, evolving relationships that take viewers on an emotional rollercoaster. The show is not for the faint of heart, and sometimes the risks it takes fall flat, but for many, Dexter is a hidden gem. Rotten Tomatoes offers a range of opinions, but even there, things are conflicted. If an experimental and unique crime drama is worth adding to the watchlist, then it should be Dexter.

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