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Julie Benz dead in Dexter Alive in No Ordinary Family on ABC

Posted by on September 28, 2010 at 4:41 PM EST

juli-benz-no-ordinary-familyJulie Benz has gone from dead in Dexter to alive in No Ordinary Family on ABC tonight.

Julie Benz has never been hotter than she is now that she has died. That is, of course, figuratively speaking and her new show No Ordinary Family proves it. For over 20 years Julie Benz has made a living in Hollywood by playing guest roles. She has been on many different TV shows, but normally for just a few episodes and has done everything from singing on a show soundtrack to providing a voice for the hit game Halo. In 1997 she landed a recurring role as Darla on the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Buffy spin off Angel. After several more years of guesting on different shows she landed the role of Rita on the Showtime hit Dexter. She would play Dexter’s love interest and things would never be the same.

Rita, like Dexter himself, was a controversial figure. There were fans of the show that loved her. They thought she brought the best out of Dexter and helped make him more human. She was his heart and maybe the heart of the show. Others hated her. They didn’t like the way she was written and thought she just got in the way of allowing Dexter to do what he does best – kill people.

The evolution of Rita over the first four seasons of Dexter allowed Julie Benz to flex her acting chops. When we first meet Rita she is a mousy, shy woman who’s ex-husband is in jail. She had been physically and emotionally abused by him and is damaged goods. She is actually the perfect match for Dexter because he has no real interest in sex so he doesn’t have to worry about her wanting more from him that he can give. They can just hang out and watch TV and have a fun, platonic relationship. As Rita heals from her wounds and gets closer and closer to Dexter she finds her sex drive returning and the mousy, damaged woman morphs into a more confident sexual being. Rita starts to want what every normal person wants and she forces Dexter out of his comfort zone and into an area where he must provide some real intimacy both physically and emotionally. The role opened a lot of eyes and showed that Benz had what it takes to play a quality character over a long time frame.

As Season 4 of Dexter came to an end and Rita met with her ultimate demise at the hands of the Trinity killer it shocked audiences and caused an outpouring of love in Benz’s direction. Benz herself has said of this, “You know, there was a lot of Rita hatred when I was on the show so it’s interesting to see this outpouring of love. My Twitter blew up during the Dexter premiere, with people giving Rita the honor that she deserved. She was an amazing character to play. It was very touching to me to have that response, because sometimes you don’t know that people care that much.”

Benz played a small part in the Season 5 premier of Dexter and may well make recurring spots as the season goes on, but starting tonight her new show No Ordinary Family places her firmly in the spotlight as one of the leads. No Ordinary Family is about a family who suddenly develops super powers after surviving a plane crash in the Amazon. Benz’s character Stephanie is an overworked mom who struggles to balance her family life and career. When she develops the power of super speed she finds it very helpful, but as a scientist she wants to know how it happened. Michael Chiklis plays her husband who develops super strength while Jimmy Baker and Kay Panabaker play her teenage kids who develop incredible intellect and telepathy.

No Ordinary Family could develop into a fun, interesting show. It has a good premise and the super hero theme is hot right now. For Benz it provides the opportunity to step fully out of the shadow and lead a cast. She may have died on Dexter, but her death there gave birth to what could be a very promising future.

See No Ordinary Family tonight 8/7 c on ABC.



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