Warning: the following story contains major spoilers from the Dexter series finale, continue reading at your own discretion.
The cast and crew of Dexter have reflected on how it all ended in last night’s series finale.
Not without its controversial moments, find out below what Jennifer Carpenter and EPs Scott Buck and Sara Colleton had to say about the the death of Deb, Dexter’s future and the conclusion of the series.
Jennifer Carpenter on Deb’s death (THR):
Why do you think Deb needed to die at the end of the series? You’ve been adamant about that for a long time.
When I’ve been saying that in the press, it’s been for selfish reasons. Your readers deserve an element of truth when you’re talking about something that they care enough to read about. I wanted them to see the truth; I did want her to die. But it was more about me. Deb deserves some peace. There was this setup when she and Quinn (Desmond Harrington) were finally able to set their sights on a love that existed, but I don’t know what kind of peace she would have found there because Dexter always would have been in that place. She always would have been making sure she was piling enough dirt on the secrets that existed with Dexter. I’m not sure a happy ending was possible for her. This was her happy ending.
Looking at the scene when Dexter takes her off the ventilator to make sure she has a merciful death — do you think that’s what Deb would have wanted?
She would have wanted him to have the moment where he would have had to consider it, where he couldn’t help himself but to get emotional about it. I have to believe, unfortunately, that Deb dies not knowing how Dexter feels about her. She doesn’t have access to his feelings, which is all she ever wanted.
Full transcript at THR.
Scott Buck on THAT final look, Dexter’s decision to fake his death and more (THR):
What is the expression on Dexter’s face at the very end of the series?
We wanted to leave it all in the viewers’ head. I don’t know what he’s thinking in that moment; I know he’s in this self-imposed prison and the reason he locked eyes is essentially so we can feel as uncomfortable as he does in his world. He’s someone who was just moments from taking that final step toward humanity who then has to face himself as the monster he believes he is and decide his own fate. He gives himself what he deserves. I don’t think in that moment he’s fighting the urge to kill; he’s dealing with the reality of the misery of his life in that moment.
Was it always Dexter’s plan to survive after he sailed into the hurricane?
He knows exactly what he’s doing there; he’s putting his boat in the path of the hurricane, which will then allow him to escape in this way. It is mentioned in an earlier episode that he does have an emergency life raft aboard that boat and you can look back and see he had a plan, he just didn’t know what it was.
After Quinn (Desmond Harrington) sees how Dexter kills Saxon with a pen so swiftly, calmly and effectively, they exchange a look. What was behind that? It felt as if it solidified Quinn’s old suspicions of Dexter.
Quinn has never believed or thought that Dexter was a serial killer; he always thought there was something off and a little dangerous about this guy. He spent one whole season looking into him. Quinn believes Dexter is not the nice, easygoing guy everyone thinks he is but I don’t think there’s a thought inside his head that he could possibly be a serial killer. There’s darkness in Dexter the same way there’s darkness in Quinn.
This season introduced a lot of plot points that didn’t go anywhere: Masuka’s daughter, Quinn vying for sergeant. Was all that just closure?
We’ve spent eight years with these characters and we want some feeling of where their lives are going to go. With Masuka (C.S. Lee) and his daughter (Madison Burge), it was meant to be a simple nod to the fact that Masuka hasn’t been the most sexless character we’ve ever seen on the show and the irony that the one satisfying relationship with a woman that he would finally have would be with his daughter. It was really just attempting to give closure to a lot of our characters.
Full Transcript at THR.
Sara Colleton on the ending (TVGuide):
That look on Dexter’s face is a little ambiguous. You say it’s nothing, but I took it as maybe there was hope for him in the future.
Colleton: At this moment, it is silence. That’s all he has in his head. It’s all that’s around him. He is serving out a very solitary sentence. He’s exiled himself from everything he cared about.
Did Dexter always plan to fake his own death and go into hiding or did he plan to take his own life when he drove into that hurricane?
Colleton: We have seen over the years that Dexter has a lot of different passports and IDs. We’ve established that in many episodes. The specifics of how he got there, I don’t think he had ahead of time, but it was the furthest away from the warmth, the sun and the light of Florida to a place that is bereft of all of that. It wasn’t like bait and switch. It’s purposefully, obviously ambiguous when he says that it’s inevitable that he kills everyone he loves and he’s got to save Hannah and Harrison — the two people he loves the most — from himself.
How do you feel about the series as a whole?
Colleton: I am very happy with where it ended. It’s where it always felt it should go. I remember at the first [Television Critics Association press tour] before the first season even started, I was asked a version of that question. I laid this out, which I shouldn’t have, not ever thinking we’d get past the first year: As Dexter puts together all the pieces of humanity and realizes what he’s done, he will have to punish himself by killing himself. It’s one of those off-the-cuff remarks, but I always thought that as the journey of him getting closer and closer to becoming a human being, the cost gets higher and higher and there’s an ultimate price he has to pay. But again, killing himself would be too easy. He has to live with emptiness and deny himself everything.
Full transcript at TVGuide.
Sara Colleton and Scott Buck explain the ending (EW):
Before the season started, you said the core idea behind this finale has been in the works for years. What was the original concept?
BUCK: The kernel idea were the last few scenes. They were what I pitched a few years ago. The main idea was Dexter is forced to kill Debra. And there are many ways that could happen. But those final scenes were pretty much unchanged.
Why was it important to end the show this way?
BUCK: It seemed like the ending that was most justified. In season 1, you saw this guy who was so compartmentalized. The last couple seasons have been about breaking down those walls by having his son and his relationship with Hannah and having Deb discover who he is. Still he was able to justify what he did. We felt it took the death of the one person he cared most about to really look at himself. [His fate] wasn’t something that happened to him but his decision. He had to bear the burden of deciding his own fate.
Deb’s death is interesting choice because, for all intents and purposes, Deb basically “dies” off screen when she has her stroke and goes into a coma.
BUCK: In some ways. But I think we all feel the real moment is when Dexter hits that button. We also did it that way because in some ways it’s a little more shocking.
COLLETON: In their goodbye neither knows that they’re saying goodbye. I so admired [Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall] because they never let that this was their last scene slip through. They just tossed it off in a wonderful way. I really do think when Dex walks out of her room [viewers are going to] think everything is fine with Deb. But she doesn’t die off screen. When she takes her off life support she’s very much a presence there. I feel that’s what she wants. I would hope if it ever happen to me I’d have a big brother who would take that pain onto himself.
How did Dex get from his boat to the shore in the middle of a hurricane?
BUCK: Hopefully it’s not a question that will be examined too closely. The show has always been a half step away from reality; it’s a hyper-reality. We established there is an emergency life raft with an outboard motor on the boat. He could have gotten in the raft and made it safely to shore.
Full transcript at EW.
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