DEXTER Part 2: Structure and Scene Length

Dex blood on face

So what can we learn from the scene by scene breakdown of our favorite serial killer?

5 interesting points:

  1. The episode is 52 minutes long.
  2. There are 50 scenes in total.
  3. Only 5 scenes are over 2 minutes long.
  4. These longer scenes pinpoint the major turning points (scene 2: set-up, scene 23: midpoint, scenes 30,31, 32: Act 2 Turning Point + scene 45: Climax.
  5. The longest scene is 3 minutes and is the Climax.

Here is a list of scenes and their length (Season 7 Episode 7). Notice a structure?

  1. 1.51
  2. 2.06
  3. 1.24
  4. 0.44
  5. 1.37
  6. 1.15
  7. 1.39
  8. 0.33
  9. 0.58
  10. 0.9
  11. 0.12
  12. 0.42
  13. 0.48
  14. 0.34
  15. 0.52
  16. 0.53
  17. 0.24
  18. 1.14
  19. 1.20
  20. 0.12
  21. 0.59
  22. 0.58
  23. 2.51 (MIDPOINT)
  24. 0.15
  25. 0.33
  26. 0.33
  27. 1.21
  28. 0.34
  29. 1.30
  30. 2.00
  31. 2.38
  32. 2.11
  33. 0.19
  34. 0.36
  35. 1.16
  36. 0.16
  37. 0.12
  38. 0.10
  39. 0.11
  40. 1.15
  41. 0.02
  42. 0.36
  43. 0.08
  44. 0.04
  45. 3.00 LONGEST SCENE + CLIMAX
  46. 0.51
  47. 0.25
  48. 0.27
  49. 0.28
  50. 1.34

Notice the 3 Act structure ?

Look at the scene lengths from Act 1 through to the Midpoint (scene 23) – quite short right?

Then we’ve got the Midpoint scene – a big important dialogue between Dexter and his lover Hannah on the nature of murder – which lasts almost 3 mins.

Then, from the Midpoint, scenes 24 through 29 are a series of short scenes until –

– the Act 2 Turning Point (comprising of 3 scenes: 30,31 + 32) which are all 2 mins +

Then, look at the length of scenes building up from the opening of Act 3 until the Climax – scenes 33 through 44 –

– eleven short sharp scenes just a few seconds long until BANG – the explosive Climax – 3 minutes – the longest scene in the episode – Dexter V Hannah OR Hero V Antagonist – 3 whole minutes of sheer high-voltage intense emotional drama!

Then, to wind us down, 5 mid-length scenes of the Resolution (between 0.25 and 1.34 in length) to resolve the episode and set up the next.

Brilliant writing, and tightly structured – especially note the short sharp scenes leading us to the explosive Climax.

Read the general scene breakdown here: DEXTER – Season 7 Episode 7

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