Showtime's 'Dexter' turns in another killer season

At the beginning of season three of Showtime's Dexter ($42.99, $57.99 Blu-ray), Rita (Julie Benz) finds she is pregnant. She's the girlfriend of the title character — a blood-spatter specialist in the Miami Police Department who also is a serial killer.

A sociopath, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) has learned how to channel his homicidal tendencies by targeting bad guys. What makes the show so provocative are the moral dilemmas, and Hall's seductive performance.

Season three added Jimmy Smits to the cast as a prominent assistant district attorney who becomes a twisted ally (would there be any other kind?) for Dexter. Do you call the character an anti-hero or simply a killer? Wishing someone dead and following through on a homicidal craving — even if the victim is a murderer himself — are very different things, but this is the dark territory that Dexter mines — sometimes brilliantly.

Smits and Hall have been nominated for Emmys, and the show is up for outstanding drama.

Eli Stone ($39.99) was one of those quirky ABC shows, like Pushing Daisies, that never found an audience. The network blamed it on the writers strike, but my guess is that it was not an easy show to jump into. It was the story of a cutthroat lawyer (Jonny Lee Miller) who, because of an aneurysm, has visions and becomes a better person. Some of those visions are full-blown musical numbers, so you see how it might seem a bit confusing at first. Too bad; it was a charming show.