Dexter Producer Dishes on Major Series Death

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Warning: Don't read any further unless you are caught up on last night's stunning Dexter season finale.

Once you've caught your breath from the shocking conclusion to the episode, check out the must-read interview below. Michael Ausiello spoke with Dexter producer Clyde Phillips about the decision to kill off a series regular...

On Rita's demise: The story evolved and it kind of became inevitable. We knew that we had to do more than kill Trinity. It’s a little bit of a corner that we paint ourselves into. Last year we tried to avoid that and actually I think we didn’t do as well as we could have. We killed off Jimmy Smits’ character [in the 11th episode] of 12 episodes and then we had to figure out what we were going to do in the 12th episode.

This season, we knew that we were going to take Trinity out in the 12th episode and we think that the audience knew that, too. We had to raise the bar to as high as possible and then figure out what to do next year.

Dexter and Family

Dexter's happy family life took the biggest hit possible at the conclusion to season four. How will the dark passenger respond?

On Rita's possible, Harry-like return as a ghost: The answer, at the moment, is no. However, had you asked me two years ago if Lundy was coming back I would’ve said no. We didn’t know he was coming back until this year. It just seemed expedient to the story — to Dexter’s story and to Deb’s story.

On season five storylines: He is a single father. But, beyond that, we don’t know. We don’t know if there’s going to be what we call “a Big Bad,” like Jimmy Smiths and John Lithgow, or if it’s going to be more individual, stand-alone stories.

Were you happy the show killed off Rita? Where can the show go from here? Where will it go?

So many questions, (unfortunately) so much time to ponder them. Weigh in with a comment today!

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


I just watched the Last Show....State of shock they killed Rita,Yeah i thot she was a to goodie goodie alot but killer her?
I have to watch again to get my head around it...I love this no other in my whole life...The writing most the time is fab. Micheal C. Hall is fantastic as Dexter, they get an Emmy for that pick for sure...Now I will wonder for 9 months "Dexter now Father of 3 alone???I bet the two older go to the Grandparents and Dexter some how raises the Baby with Deb's help??? It is so bizzare how a tv show and get a hold of you the way this one think it's real at some level....Thank you so much keep up the good work all of you.....Portland, OR


When Rita's cell rang and the baby started crying, I knew. My heart started to race, I then saw the bathroom and was very upset that the writers could do such a thing. Now that I have cooled down after a few days I can say that there is some really good writers involved that make me love this show. I cannot wait for next season already to see what happens to Dexter, the kids, and everyone else connected to them. Great job and thanks for the thrills!


After watching the season finale of Dexter, I could not get the last few minutes out of my head! I think it was a mistake to kill Rita off! She was demanding on Dexter, but she was a wife and mother, and that was how she was supposed to be. Dexter was starting to realize that he could possibly have a good life, and he was nothing like Trinity. I do think that at least Harrison has a chance of not ending up like Dexter because he was so much younger than Dexter was when his mother was killed in front of him. I have mixed emotions about watching the next season though, and just hope that they can deliver a good season that I hope does not end up with Dexter being caught.


I think killing off Rita is HORRIBLE! Dexter cannot be a single father! He needs Rita just as much rita needs him! He was just starting to realize he actually loved her and his kids! I think the start of season five should start by this all being a bad dream and dexter wakes up in the florida keys with rita laying next to him. She just cannot be killed off at this point. There are so many places this could go. Dexter hasn't even confronted her about her first husband. They JUST got married! She cannot just die like that!


I was so sad to see that ending. And I must say, it reminded me of the movie SEVEN. Not very original writers. I am really disappointed, I almost cried, and I'm contemplating giving up on watching any future Dexters. I LOVE Dexter's character, and I loved the arc he was experiencing. It's just really disappointing that this was all they could think up.


season 4 was great, the finale was intense, but i think the battle between trying to be a good father and husband and being a serial killer was very entertaining...i think rita added so much to the show and i was devastated to see her killed! and knowing that trinity is dead and he can't avenge her death makes me even more sad...i have no clue where the show will go from here, but i'm sad to see his wife murdered


Confused! Dexter. Serial Killer. Single Father of 3 kids. NOOOOOOO! What the hell?? I get Rita was sometimes annoying with badgering him but COME ON, Trinity killed her? What? Shocking. Yes. Heartbreaking. Yes. Julie Benz broke my heart in that scene, such a painful look in her eye, like her last moments were spend looking at poor little Harrison. But what's gonna happen next season? Dexter starts dating again. Dexter tries to avenge Rita's death... oh wait he already killed Trinity! Dexter tries to explain to Astor and Cody what happened? I'm not going to watch that sad convo. She could have found out the truth about Dexter or something creative like that but DEATH. Why do writers always think "I don't have any creative ideas, I know DEATH?!" How unoriginal half way through the episode I thought she would maybe die, but then I thought "No they won't be that stupid!" Well what do you know? They are! Either it's creative genius and the show will be awesome next season. Or it will flop and they will need her to come back from the dead! Either this season finale I'm not so anxious but angry to find out what happens.
I have never been disappointed with a season of Dexter but sadly this season I was! Killing Rita LOW BLOW!


I was stunned by the season finale, and can't wait until season 5 starts. Normally shows start to go stale around the 4th season, but this was Dexter's best season yet. I would like for there to be a season story arc, as well as smaller individual stories. This is what I have come to expect from Dexter. The season arc can just be Dexter vs. Dexter, and I would be satisfied with that. I'm sorry to see Rita go, but it probably was inevitable. Dexter knew he would have to say good-bye one to his family one way or another, as Harry foreshadowed. I still think there is more to Deb and Dexter, like it might turn out that Harry was actually Dexter's biological father. They touched on that briefly at one point. I wouldn't want Deb and Dexter to get together, that would just be weird. I have enjoyed reading the books by Jeff Lindsay, but I think overall the show is much better, and brilliantly written.


My husband and I have been watching Dexter on Showtime since it debuted. The writing of the series is intelligent, witty and will keep you on the edge of your seat, leaving you wanting more, more, MORE! The character of Dexter is brilliant, as well as Michael C. Hall, who plays the character to a tee. You will not be disappointed with this purchase.


@Rob- it has already been confirmed that this was NOT all a bad dream, it was real, so sorry. And also, Dexter was never going to be normal. This season he had less kills, and as a result he was angrier, more impulsive (and not in a good way), lost his temper, and was generally on edge and tense. Obviously killing was how he let out his anger and bottled-up craziness. I think next season should be the last. It should have Dexter slowly losing control, and Deb eventually finding out about him. I don't know where that would lead, but I think it would result in a satisfying end to the series one way or another.

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Dexter Quotes

Deb: (excitedly) A baby? a motherfucking rolly-poly, chubby cheeked shit machine? Are you kidding me?
Dexter: I've never heard it described in quite those words before, but yeah.

Tonight's the night. And it's going to happen again, and again. It has to happen. Nice night.

Dexter Morgan