The end is near for Dexter.
And while I’m talking about the series, the same could be said for the character of Dexter Morgan, played to perfection these past seven seasons by Michael C. Hall.
Yes, now is the time we’re all dreading, as this Showtime smash moves into its eighth and final season on June 30.
What is Dexter Season 8 all about and where will things go with Dexter and the people around him? How will things develop with the women in Dexter’s life, including his in-the-know, spiraling-out of-control sister and loose cannon ex-girlfriend Hannah? Along with the new, inquisitive serial killer expert Dr. Evelyn Vogel?
I jumped on the phone last week with Executive Producer Sara Colleton to find out what we can expect when the final season begins airing this Sunday. Read on for some major scoops and tidbits...
TV Fanatic: Tell me first of all just how you approached this final season.
Sara Colleton: Two years ago we arced out the last two years, but the biggest challenge was to make sure that we evolve Dexter, and that we wrote great scripts, and that we got it right. And we all sort of knew in advance that this was an awesome responsibility and something that we all felt had to be done right. But I don’t think any of us anticipated as we got down to what I call ‘the final three’ how that pressure would come to bear of just realizing how we had to get it right. We have now finished the last script, and I am tremendously proud…and the script is one of the best scripts in the Dexter canon, so now we just have to execute it and go about finishing it.
TVF: From past talks with you and [Executive Producer] Scott Buck, I know you’ve had the ending mapped out for awhile but did it change at all as you moved closer to it?
SC: No. Things obviously, writing and characters, take on a life and there were little sort of light turns but never in the major arcing points of Dexter's story.
TVF: Dexter and Deb have been such the core relationship for the whole series and they're definitely going through a lot in the season opener. What would you say these characters are looking for in this last season, just to find out who they are?
SC: Well, isn't that everyone's quest? Isn't that a question we all ask ourselves? For both Deb and Dex it's been a journey. Two years ago at the end of season six, when she sees her brother taking out the Doomsday Killer, from that moment on, that knowledge set Debra on a dark and treacherous path for her to navigate. And she'll continue to do that, but Deb is a strong, resilient character, so for both of them, it's a journey of ‘who am I?’
TVF: Can they operate independently of each other? That definitely seems to be a part of their conflict this year.
SC: Part of it, yes. She is so traumatized by what happened at the end of last season that when we open this season she wants nothing to do with her brother. She says ‘I killed the wrong person. All my life I thought you were my touchstone and now I realize you're the one that's lost.’ And so it's a real reversal and for Dexter it's a devastating loss because Debra was his touchstone. He's at his most vulnerable point ever in this history of the show.
TVF: Talk to me about Charlotte Rampling's character. Her character is definitely not what I was expecting! What does she bring to Dexter’s story?
SC: Well, first of all, the Dr. Evelyn Vogel character is a scientist so she has a cool medical side, but she has also discovered a maternal side to herself that she had repressed. She has to be very, very seductive in a way because she needs Dexter to do something for her. But what's so seductive about her is that she, to Dexter, brings him the last piece of the puzzle of who he is. She really does see herself as his spiritual mother and, of course, he thinks of her as Dr. Frankenstein at first.
Dexter's never really had a mother. Doris, his stepmother, was sick and died young, and obviously his real mother was chopped up into pieces as a baby. And she understands him and, at his most vulnerable, with Deb saying ‘you lost, get out of my life, I don't need you anymore,’ this woman comes into his life and says ‘you don't understand. In my theory, sociopaths are the alpha males of society and without them civilization would not exist, and you, Dexter, are perfect. She comes at a vulnerable time in his life so it's very bonding. They become very close.
TVF: I talked to Sean Patrick Flanery recently and he couldn’t say much about his character except that he works with Deb but what can you tell me about his character?
SC: We do want to let that evolve, but he is [Deb’s] new boss and he's an interesting, sort of complex character. They have a very good bounce off each other. He plays largely throughout the season and that is all I'm going to tell you.
TVF: That's enough to keep me watching! [both laugh] I know Yvonne's coming back as Hannah McKay. I'm just curious when she's going to pop back up.
SC: It is a bit of a secret but we do have a really just wonderful surprise way when she reappears, so I don’t want to spoil that for the audience. But it is wonderful when she comes back.
TVF: How has that worked when you bring somebody in for a guest arc and they're just so wonderful you're like we need to keep them around. Is that a challenge?
SC: It is and sometimes in order for that season to work, no matter how great they are, if that's how it's been designed, then they must go. But Hannah was never designed to disappear.
All I can tell you is I read the first draft of 812 [the series finale] last night, and it's everything I wanted it to be, and I'm really happy. I just wanted that to end as strongly as we started and I think we have a shot, at least for us.
TVF: I know Scott wrote the season premiere. Did he write the finale as well?
SC: Yes, he did. He and Manny Coto did together.
TVF: They know what they're doing!
SC: It doesn't get better than them.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.