Seeing Red (Dexter)
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Michael Cuesta|
|Written by||Kevin R. Maynard|
|Original air date||December 3, 2006|
"Seeing Red" is the tenth episode of the first season of the American television drama series Dexter, which first aired on December 3, 2006 on Showtime in the United States. The episode was written by Kevin R. Maynard and was directed by Michael Cuesta. In the episode, the Miami Metro Homicide Department team investigate a blood-soaked crime scene, where blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is confronted by a repressed memory of a traumatic incident from his childhood. Meanwhile, Dexter's girlfriend Rita Bennett (Julie Benz) is charged with assaulting her ex-husband Paul Bennett (Mark Pellegrino) and risks losing custody of their children, while Det. Angel Batista (David Zayas) investigates a hunch that the Ice Truck Killer has an amputee fetish.
Scenes for "Seeing Red" were shot at several locations around Long Beach, California. Particular attention was paid to the cinematography and filming of the sequence of Dexter's flashbacks to make them feel like "fragments of memory". The episode received positive reviews from critics, with particular mention made to the scene in which Dexter hits Rita's ex-husband, Paul, in the head with a frying pan because of his threats about the lengths he will go to in order to protect his children.
When a key to a room at the Marina View Hotel is delivered inside a jar of blood to the Homicide Department, Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King) and Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) visit the hotel, where they find a room completely covered in blood. Dexter is sent in first to investigate, but seeing the blood-covered room brings back a repressed memory from his childhood— Dexter at the age of three years sitting in a pool of blood—and he collapses and runs from the room. The forensics team surmises that the blood in the hotel room came from at least five different bodies, although none were in the room. Since there were only one set of footprints in the room, they assume that the victims were killed elsewhere and their blood spread around the room by the killer. Debra suggests that the Ice Truck Killer, who had five bloodless victims, may have been responsible.
Angel finds that he cannot stop talking about his divorce when trying to meet new women at a bar. After he meets a woman recovering from her own divorce, he has to leave her to speak to a prostitute whom he sees across the room with a prosthetic hand and fingernails painted in the same way as the Ice Truck Killer's first victim. Working on a hunch that the Ice Truck Killer is an acrotomophiliac, Angel decides to speak to Debra's boyfriend, Rudy Cooper, a prosthetics specialist and (unbeknownst to anyone else) the actual Ice Truck Killer. Rudy cooperates with the interview upon realizing that Angel does not know his identity. Later, Angel is stabbed in a parking lot by a masked man. Angel manages to elbow him in the face before two men scare the attacker off. Minutes later, Rudy - who had earlier fallen out with Debra due to secretly having dinner with Dexter - arrives with flowers. They kiss, but Rudy backs away complaining of a cut lip, suggesting that he was Angel's attacker.
Rita finds out from a county sheriff that Paul, her abusive ex-husband who attacked her the night before, is pressing charges against her for assault. She talks with a lawyer, who tells her that since she invited Paul into her house, she cannot prove that her intent was to defuse the situation. At a hearing, it is revealed that Rita violated her and Paul's custody agreement, making Paul's case against her even stronger. When Paul drops by Rita's house to return their children, he threatens Dexter when the two are alone in the kitchen, and Dexter responds by hitting him with a frying pan. Paul loses consciousness, so Dexter drives his body back to Paul's hotel and frames him for drug abuse. Dexter alerts the police and Paul is sent back to prison.
With encouragement from Rudy, Dexter decides to dig up his repressed memory rather than avoid it. He returns to the bloody hotel room, where he relives the memory, which he realizes was of the murder of his mother with a chainsaw, right in front of him, when he was three.
Since Dexter's producers try to shield the child actors as much as possible from the show's dark subject matter, executive producer Daniel Cerone urged the mother of his son's friend not to let her son audition to play a young Dexter, who is filmed sitting in a pool of blood. Erik King found the shot of the boy crying in the blood to be the creepiest moment of the first season. He described it as "very uncomfortable to watch, even when you know it's not real and you know these kids are actors." Cinematographer Romeo Tirone tightened the camera's shutter angle when filming these scenes to make them "feel like fragments of memory - subjective, with tight close-ups against an indistinct background. You don't see all the details of the environment." Series director Keith Gordon found these flashbacks "incredible" because he thought they were "like a Stanley Kubrick movie".
Several scenes from the episode were filmed on September 28, 2006 with a crew of 200 people in Long Beach, California at the Seaport Marina Hotel, along the Pacific Coast Highway, and on San Anseline Avenue. The Seaport Marina Hotel was used as the setting for Paul's motel, while a house on San Anseline Avenue was used as Rita's house.
The episode received positive reviews from critics. Eric Goldman of IGN reviewed "Seeing Red" warmly and gave the episode an "Outstanding" rating of 9.0/10. He thought that the scene wherein Dexter hits Paul was "one of the most jaw-dropping, intense scenes yet", and he liked that Angel's "seeming separate" subplot was well-linked to the main plotline of the episode. He noted the "fascinating dynamic" between Dexter and Rudy, sensing "interesting psycho-sexual undercurrents" developing. TV Guide's Paula Paige felt that "Seeing Red" proved that each episode of Dexter was a constant improvement on the last. She enjoyed Dexter's manipulation by Rudy and found his solution to Paul's threats "perfect". Jonathan Toomey of TV Squad wrote that he was "in awe" of the episode. He was particularly impressed with Dexter's choice to frame Paul rather than kill him, and a minor storyline involving Lt. María LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) and her betrayal of her superior, Capt. Tom Matthews (Geoff Pierson).
- Goldman, Eric (December 6, 2006). "Dexter: "Seeing Red" Review". IGN. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Hanh, Nguyen (March 8, 2007). "Paley: Blood will tell in upcoming season of 'Dexter'". Zap2it. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Bergstrom, Elaine (October 2007). "Erik King Loves Being The "Bad" Guy". Channel Guide Magazine. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
- Holben, Jay; Oppenheimer, Jean; Stasukevich, Iain; Thomson, Patricia (March 2009). "Cutting-Edge Camerawork". American Cinematographer. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- "Exclusive Interview with Dexter Director Keith Gordon". Shock Till You Drop. November 28, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- "City Report For Week Ending September 29, 2006" (Press release). City of Long Beach. October 2, 2006. Archived from the original on October 6, 2006. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Wayne, Gary. "Dexter Filming Locations, Season 1: Paul Bennett's Motel". Seeing-Stars.com. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Wayne, Gary. "Dexter Filming Locations, Season 1: Rita's House". Seeing-Stars.com. Archived from the original on December 24, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Paige, Paula (December 3, 2006). "Dexter Episode: "Seeing Red"". TV Guide. Retrieved December 22, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- Toomey, Jonathan (December 3, 2006). "Dexter: Seeing Red". TV Squad. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
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