Judging by social media reaction, reviews and conversations I’ve personally had with other Dexter fans, there are a lot of viewers who did not appreciate where the show ended Season 8 when it went off the air back in 2013. Fortunately, all involved now have another chance after Showtime ordered a limited 10 episode revival, and original showrunner Clyde Phillips is openly acknowledging that it’s a chance to basically write a second finale.
The executive producer stopped by Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top 5 podcast earlier this week to discuss the recently announced revival, and during the conversation, he talked pretty openly about what limited series will be, what it won’t be and what fans should expect. Here’s a portion of his quote…
We want this to not be Dexter Season 9. Ten years, or however many years, have passed by the time this will air, and the show will reflect that time passage. So far as the ending of the show, this will have no resemblance to how the original finale was. It’s a great opportunity to write a second finale... This is an opportunity to make that right. But that’s not why we’re doing it.
For those of you who don’t remember or intentionally blocked the finale out of your memory, Season 8 ended with Deb being yanked off life support, Hannah escaping with Harrison and Dexter first driving his boat into the middle of a hurricane and then later appearing as a lumberjack in Oregon, seemingly having started a new life after disappearing. It was a shock to the system for a lot of fans who I think wanted to end things a bit tidier. I was a bit more middling than others on what happened, but it’s important to point out that nothing in the limited revival is going to chance or cancel out what we saw before.
Clyde Phillips was very clear on that during his interview. There won’t be a misdirect or an it was all a dream type situation. He and the writers aren’t planning on “undoing anything.” They’re just going to give fans a fuller picture of Dexter a decade or so into the future. Exactly what that looks like, however, is very unclear. We don’t know what other characters might be back. We don’t know if there will be flashbacks to characters who died during the show.
Michael C Hall was always open about expressing a never say never attitude about Dexter returning. He was, after all, a very well-liked character by fans, and depending on who you were asking, the show produced, at minimum, a handful of spectacular seasons. When I reflect on the show, I’m much more likely to think about those moments of brilliance, which is different than Hall’s other big show, Six Feet Under, which is widely praised for having one of the best and most discussed endings in the history of television. Those extremes are probably why he's talked in the past about thinking fans focus too much on where shows end.
I really hope this Dexter revival works. I miss the character a lot, and if the writers can recapture the magic, we’re all going to be in for a special 10 episodes when they premiere in 2021 on Showtime.