Heeeeee’s back! And there will be blood. After an eight-year absence, everybody’s favorite avenging serial killer, “Dexter,” will return to Showtime on Sunday.
But make no mistake, this is NOT the ninth season of “Dexter,” says the showrunner and executive producer Clyde Phillips. “This is a whole new embodiment of the show, a whole new imaging of the show,” he says of “Dexter: New Blood.”
“And I keep using the word ‘new’ because it’s NEW blood. Obviously, blood has a lot to do with the show. It is, after all, ‘Dexter’ ... It is the fact that almost a decade has passed since the finale, and we want to acknowledge them.”
For those who don’t remember, Dexter was a Robin Hood killer, choosing only victims that deserved to die but living a seemingly normal life in sunny Miami as a blood-splatter forensic expert. His friends and police officer sister, Debra, at first had no inkling about his macabre secret life.
When HBO’s popular, “The Sopranos,” ended with Tony Soprano and his family seated in a restaurant, suddenly engulfed by a blank screen, audiences were frustrated and confused about what happened to poor ol’ Tony. The same goes for the finale of “Dexter.”
“I think the way the series proper ended has a great deal to do with why we’re revisiting the show and the character,” confesses Michael C. Hall, who plays the devious Dexter.
“I think a lot of what was mystifying or dissatisfying to people is a lot of what creates the appetite that we’re hopefully satisfying now. The show did not end in a way that was definitive for people or gave anybody a sense of closure,” he says.
“We didn’t hear from Dexter. He didn’t say anything to us when the show ended. And I think it left audiences — if nothing else — a sense of suspended animation. I think a big part of our motivation was to definitively answer the question: ‘What happened to this guy?’”
One thing that happened to this guy is that he’s moved to the bucolic burgh, Iron Lake, N.Y., says Phillips, who navigated the first series.
“Putting Dexter in the small fictional town of Iron Lake, New York, population 2,760 means that there is so much less temptation for him to go out and do what he does,” says Phillips.
“And it’s one of the runners through the show. Of course, this is Dexter, and people are going to die, but it’s a new Dexter. And he will find himself struggling with the urge, struggling with his dark passenger, struggling with the fact that he was born in blood, and finally gives in to that struggle,” Phillips says.
“But the whole point is to put him in this tiny town so that everybody he passes is a potential victim. He’s really got to do the work to find who deserves for him to take a stab at it, as we would say.”
Phillips and Hall discussed possibly resurrecting Dexter in the interim. “Over the years, Michael and I have chatted. Occasionally he would be interviewed somewhere, and somebody would ask about ‘Dexter’ coming back, and he wouldn’t deny it. And then I would see it, and then I would call him, and we would talk about a couple of things.
“But the timing was never right for Michael. And it had to be — it had to be right for Michael — Michael’s psyche, Mike’s character, Michael as an actor, as a man.”
Hall says he kept imagining how Dexter had ended up. “There were all kinds of things that would float through my mind, some of which I’d follow, some of which I wouldn’t. I think my mother wanted him to be in a monastery. She just wanted to watch him meditate for 10 hours. That didn’t happen. I mean, honestly, I think from the day the show ended until we started, and perhaps even finished principal photography on this revisitation, it’s been percolating.
“It’s been something that’s been a conscious, maybe sometimes unconscious preoccupation ... There’s been a sense of it being unfinished business,” says Hall.