If you have to watch one Netflix show this June, stream this one

A man holds a hammer in Dexter.

From the very beginning of its streaming era, Netflix has added legacy shows from other networks and outlets to shore up its lineup of original series. Even in the present, with one of the most robust libraries of content available online, Netflix still brings in outside shows to supplement more recent hits like Bridgerton. Last month, the FX animated comedy series Archer was our pick for the one show to watch on Netflix. But this month, we’re going in a completely different direction by picking Dexter as the one Netflix show to watch in June.

Showtime debuted the original Dexter series in 2006, which was based upon the novels by Jeff Lindsay. Six Feet Under star Michael C. Hall was tapped to play the title character, Dexter Morgan, a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami police who was secretly a serial killer. But rather than targeting the innocent, Dexter was taught by his adoptive father to channel his dark urges by going after bad people, including rapists, abusers, and killers who would have otherwise escaped justice.

The series ran for eight seasons on Showtime, and the network still has plans for a Dexter prequel series as well as another potential revival show. Now, on June 19, the entire original run of Dexter is arriving on Netflix. And while it’s a little early to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary, we can share the reasons why you should watch this show in June.

Michael C. Hall perfectly embodies Dexter’s inhumanity

Michael C. Hall in Dexter.

Even when he starring was on HBO’s Six Feet Under, there was always something off about Michael C. Hall. That otherness served him well in the role of Dexter Morgan, a man who didn’t have normal human feelings. A good deal of the show features Dexter attempting to act “normal” with varying degrees of success. Dexter doesn’t even experience love like other people do, although he does manage to have a long-term girlfriend, Rita (Julie Benz), whom he later married.

The only time Dexter feels truly alive is when he’s on the hunt for his next target, and when he methodically executes them in his kill rooms. Conversely, those are also the moments where Hall’s performance becomes convincingly terrifying. The underlying tension of the series is that Dexter’s secret life could be exposed to his colleagues in the police or his friends and family, including his adoptive sister, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter).

Each season is a largely standalone thriller

Michael C. Hall in Dexter.

One of the key reasons why Dexter is ideal for binge viewing is that all eight of the show’s seasons had their own stories with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. There were some elements that carried over between seasons, but by and large, each of the major plotlines were resolved in the season finales. This allowed Dexter to have some recurring adversaries whom he couldn’t easily dispose of in his usual manner.

The serialized format of each season also allowed Dexter to put its title character at a true disadvantage against a few of his foes, including the infamous Trinity Killer from the fourth season.

John Lithgow gives one of the best performances of his career

John Lithgow as Arthur Mitchell in Dexter.

Almost every Dexter fan will tell you that the fourth season was the best of the original series. That’s because John Lithgow spent the entire season playing the greatest villain Dexter ever went up against: Arthur Mitchell, a.k.a. the Trinity Killer.

In some ways, Dexter was fascinated by Arthur’s ability to separate his family life from his double life as a serial killer. Unfortunately for Dexter, his attempt to get closer to Arthur spectacularly backfired by allowing the Trinity Killer to discover almost everything about him. That’s what made Arthur so formidable. He knew so much about Dexter that he had the perfect way to strike before Dexter could do anything about it.

Dexter’s moral code is challenged throughout the show

Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall in Dexter.

One of the big reasons why fans supported this show is that Dexter’s code kept him focused on killing bad people. But it would have been boring if Dexter’s code was never challenged by other people discovering who and what he truly was. These were the type of situations that could have potentially led Dexter to death or incarceration. And the tension about his fate added a great deal of excitement to the show.

One of the best examples of this came in the fifth season, when Dexter saved a woman named Lumen Pierce (Julia Stiles), but he also unwittingly exposed his true self to her. This led Dexter and Lumen to share a complex relationship that took some surprising directions before the storyline came to an end in the fifth-season finale.

The show got a chance to create a new ending

Dexter Morgan from Dexter with a beard in the series finale.

Dexter fans aren’t shy about sharing their feelings about the show’s ending, which was uniformly panned by critics and viewers alike. Even the stars and the original showrunners of Dexter weren’t happy with that season 8 wrap-up. That’s why a sequel series, Dexter: New Blood, came together in 2021 to give the title character a more meaningful sendoff.

So if you work your way through eight seasons of Dexter and share the same response to the show’s ending, then you should know there is a better resolution for it in New Blood. You’ll just have to sign up for Paramount+ with Showtime if you want to watch it.

Watch Dexter on Netflix on June 19.