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Why Dexter: New Blood Wanted To Take A Second Crack At The Ending With This Weekend’s Explosive Finale

Michael C. Hall in trailer for final Dexter: New Blood episode.
(Image credit: Showtime)

Big spoilers coming for anyone who is not caught up on Showtime’s revival of Dexter, subtitled New Blood. The final episode is here, and it’s not one to be missed. 

When it was announced that Dexter Morgan and co. would be returning to the small screen for another round of murder and drama, it seemed like an opportunity to tackle the ending concerns star Michael C. Hall and other creatives related to the show have made over the years. In fact, many people have spoken out about fixing the oft-panned finale of the original Dexter series and New Blood gave the show the opportunity to do just that. 

First and foremost, if you caught the finale for Dexter: New Blood you should know that Dexter Morgan met his demise this time around (unlike last time, where he ended up off the beaten path and working as a lumberjack). Perhaps more fittingly, his death came at the hands of his own son Harrison after the elder Morgan had broken his own code and killed Logan, who was basically collateral damage. 

The father and son had made plans to escape and find a new life, but Harrison couldn’t reconcile with the person his father said he was and the path his father had just gone down in order to avoid jail time and his past life in Miami coming back to haunt him. Harrison confronted his father and decided that killing Dexter was the only way. Michael C. Hall’s character in fact even tells Harrison he’s going to have to take the safety off before the moment ultimately comes and he's left bleeding in the snow.

This ending gave the show a second opportunity to move forward in a way that would be satisfying to the fanbase after the blowback related to the show’s original finale in 2013. Though the finale drew a slew of viewers, in subsequent years it has been panned, and showrunner Clyde Phillips told TV Insider that it wasn’t an “easy decision", but that New Blood was conceived in order to right the wrongs of the original. He noted: 

No, it wasn’t an easy decision but it was a decision early on that it was time. And it was time for the show, it was time for the audience. I believe to keep the show going and having him get caught and get out of being caught and get caught and get out of being caught, it’s kind of a dilemma that I ran into on Nurse Jackie when I was doing the finale of that… Particularly after the previous finale [of Dexter in 2013], which has received so much dissatisfaction, we kind of felt we owed it to the audience to redeem ourselves, redeem the show, and redeem their experience and their faith in us.

It’s an ending that Clyde Phillips says was in the works for a long time, even as the new series of Dexter episodes was in its early days of inception. In fact, lead Michael C. Hall was told about this ending for his character about two and a half years ago, per a Deadline interview. When he was told how things would go, he reportedly gave Phillips a hug and greenlighted Morgan's demise by saying, “I’m in.”

There was no looking back after that. In many ways this story reminds me a lot of Daniel Craig’s James Bond ending and how Craig himself signed off on his 007 finale early on. Dexter Morgan’s obviously a very different character and Dexter: New Blood is definitely a different sort of project, but it’s nice to hear when shows have a clear end goal and are working toward that from the get go. 

From what I can tell, Dexter dying was where the show felt it needed to go at the end of the day, as Phillips also told Deadline:

Yes. We knew this had to happen, and I think it had to happen for the audience as much as for the character. To see him get caught time and time again and get out of it at a time and time again is a disservice to the audience. And I think there’s a certain truth in this storytelling, in authenticity in the storytelling.

While Clyde Phillips does “lurk a lot on social media” for fan reactions, as he put it, he also noted that even the polarizing original finale has its fans, and I can’t wait to hear more about what fans think this time around. In the meantime, the finale is available on the Showtime app or airing at 9 p.m. ET Sunday on the subscription cabler. You can see what else is heading to Showtime with our full TV premiere schedule

Jessica Rawden

Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.