Executive Producer Scott Buck: "We Finally Pulled the Trigger"

Via EW.com: Warning: Spoilers from Sunday night’s Dexter finale below: Debra knows! But loves him! Like reaaaally loves him. On Sunday night’s Dexter finale, Debra confessed to having non-brotherly love for Dexter, then caught him in the act of ritualistically murdering the Doomsday Killer. Below, showrunner Scott Buck talks to EW about the sixth season, that game-changing final scene and what it might all mean for the final two seasons:

EW: Please tell me that final scene wasn’t, like, a dream or something.
SCOTT BUCK: No, we finally did it. It was a long time coming and we finally pulled the trigger.

Will the next season start, I hope, right where this one left off?
We’ll certainly start somewhere very close to that point addressing all these issues. We started this season one year later and we’re certainly not going to do that. Read more after the jump below!

Let’s back up: Debra having romantic feelings for Dexter. How did that story idea come about?
It’s actually an idea that’s been discussed in the writers room years ago, like starting in season 2, because it always felt it — that this character was in love with her brother. And like Debra, we ignored it for a long time and it just kept coming back until we were all in agreement that it was just in the DNA of that character of why she was the way she was. It felt like it was finally time to tackle that issue.

It’s tough to imagine Dexter feeling the same way about her.
I don’t think Dexter has ever even considered those feelings. I don’t think he’s ever had those feelings for anyone, except, perhaps, a little bit for Lumen. But as far as Dexter being in love with someone, that’s just not the kind of person he is. I don’t think Dexter believes he’s capable of love like the way Debra feels.

How did Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter react to the storyline?
They were fine with it. They knew it was a big storyline, but had no objections to it whatsoever. They knew it’s part of the show, and are obviously professionals, and would go wherever the character takes them.

Since Debra is a detective, did you toy with the idea of having her gradually figure things out over the course of a season instead of finding out all at once?
It feels like she’s been gradually finding out things for years except not willing to look at them. She is a detective, she is very smart, but I don’t believe she believes he might be a killer. But there was always something tugging at her mind that there was more to Dexter than she realized. So let’s get it over with and pull the curtain off on that. It just seemed like a more fun and interesting way to go.

Dex trying to keep the Doomsday Killers to himself. He’s often done that to some degree, but we spent a lot of time with Debra this season so it made him seem more obstructionist than usual. Were you guys conscious of that?
Yes, it was a very specific storyline for one episode that there might be chemical weapons involved that this was bigger than what he could ever deal and he had to wrestle with whether to give it up or not. So we saw a progression in the character of Dexter, that he was willing to step away from his own need for the greater good. Of course, it all came back around and it fell back in his lap once again.

[Showtime entertainment president] David Nevins told us the last couple episodes sets into motion a storyline that will take us through the show’s end game. Do you pretty much know the major beats — including the ending — at this point?
Our ending, no. There’s only several ways we can end this show, and we all have our feelings about how it could end. There’s quite a few people involved at this point and it’s a matter of us sitting down and figuring out how this show should end. We’re all clearly heading in one direction, but that grand finale has not been decided yet.

Will next season have another Big Bad, or will Debra finding out about Dexter change the show in a fundamental way in terms of the format?
One advantage we have is we most likely have two seasons and then we’re out, so we can start working toward the end game. We haven’t even begun to consider who the bad guys are, but we are open to changing formats. We don’t feel like we need to stick to something just because we did it in previous seasons, though at the same time we don’t feel like we can’t do something just because we have done something similar before.

What are the storytelling goals for the next couple seasons?
Dexter is always a show that’s less about plot twists and much more about characters. Our allegiance is always most strongly to the character of Dexter Morgan. What’s the most satisfying, honest place to take Dexter over the next two years.

The creepy computer guy. I’m assuming he mailed the hand because he’s infatuated with serial killers and Dexter, or is there something more I should be reading into that?
Well, he had no idea Dexter is a serial killer — at least, not to our knowledge. I think he’s just got this weird love-to-hate thing for Dexter and has latched onto him and is seeking his approval. But to send the hand like that, we have no idea what kind of message he’s sending. At this point, it’s just to arouse our suspicion about who is this guy and what are his intentions.

In the finale on top of the skyscraper, are we to assume Dexter had a dummy needle prepared, so that’s why he wasn’t unconscious after injecting himself?
It was not a dummy needle. We didn’t answer that question, but we had an answer for it. It was just a little awkward to slip it into the footage. We showed him emptying the needle seconds beforehand, but it didn’t look right [in post-production]. We tried to address it in voiceover, it just became awkward and cumbersome.

There were no Harry scenes in the finale. What’s the right amount, how much is too much, in terms of having those in the show?
It’s a fine line. We feel like we need him. I’m a huge fan of James Remar, though it’s a character you have to be very judicious with as it’s a fine line. Sometimes it’s too easy to cut to Harry and have Dexter explain what he’s thinking or feeling when there are sometimes more artful ways of doing that.
Anything that’s been wondered about on the comment boards this season that you’d like to address?
I find it kind of interesting that people are uneasy about Deb’s love toward her brother. That on a show about serial killers, it’s the idea of love that makes people more uncomfortable. We did some research on that among adopted siblings: It does exist and it does happen, and it does create a very awkward situation.

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  1. this is outstanding. more, please.

  2. Bring on the awkward love! That storyline is kind of amusing and sad, especially since she knows what Dexter is capable of now. I can't wait for next season!!

  3. i wish someone would address how dexter got harrison and travis into the car..

  4. It's interesting that so many people are more creeped out by love than by murder; good job on the part of the writers!

  5. So let me get this straight. They don't even have a plan regarding the Louis plot? Yeah, great writing . . .

  6. The only solution other then opening up with Quinn in the shower and then coming out to wake Deb (and the viewers) out of the awkward nightmare that was Season 6, would be some very smart writing. Based on the interview with Buck that I saw, in which he said something about Deb's "dream" showed she loved him, I don't expect smart writing from this team. I'm sorry, but who amongst us hasn't ever had sex IN A DREAM with someone they wouldn't touch in real life? Not to rant, but I just wrote my own Season 7 Episode 1 outline, imagining how they could save the series.

  7. I love these insights into the plot lines of this season and the foreshadowing into next season. More please!

  8. Marion:

    That plotline is the best thing to happen to Dexter, most of fans who initially didn't get it are coming around. You can't go back and watch the earlier seasons and not see it now. No excuses left. BTW, aside from the general "prudishness" did you know that Debra and Dexter could get married by Florida law? Most states recognize incest as lineal consanguinity ONLY. Meaning "blood relations". There is nothing in religious laws, government laws, to prevent two people who are NOT DNA related to marry. The reason there is a taboo on it for actual relatives is that is messes up the gene pool and causes birth defects.

    Most adopted siblings aren't attracted to each other, but neither are many boys and girls who grow up together as "best friends". SOMETIMES however they are.. how many adopted or foster sibling marriages or romantic relationships are there in the United States alone? Probably hundreds if not thousands.

    I am not condoning it, but it HAPPENS all the time.

    Now, set all that aside, and remember.

    THIS IS A TELEVISION SHOW ABOUT A SERIAL KILLER and the foster sister who loves him.

    This is great drama. Get over your hangups and enjoy the story.

  9. I HATE the Deb loves Dex storyline, & the reason is that I don't see it coming to a happy end.

    I really like that Deb & Dex always seem to have each other's back, & I love cute little Harrison & how it shows Dexter's gentle side.

    Keep the rest of the show gritty, but it really needs this loving little family to offset that.

    Comments made by friends:

    - Wish there had been a serial killing in every show in S#6.

    - There's a huge satisfaction in seeing bad guys get what they deserve.

    - Love all the characters on the show.

    - The show needs more heavy-duty suspense.

  10. Dear Marion: I have never dreamt having sex with someone i don't like!


    - It would be the most disappointing twist to show to us that season 6 was all a dream!

    - I wondered too how Dexter managed to get Travis and Harrison to the car without being caught. Maybe he got first Harrison (we saw that somehow he had his car with him, probably in the building's parking). Then, using the elevator he got Travis to the car. It's weird of course that in this super-crowded skyscraper nobody else stopped the elevator, but that's why we watch Dexter, because he is a superhero!

    - As for Louis, it was wise to kinda start this mysterious storyline, but the writers are not obligated to tell us if they have already decided where they 're taking this story! Maybe they really don't know, but maybe they do! Have patience!

  11. this all being a dream,or at least Deb walking in on him in the church, would withOUT doubt, with a shadow of reservation, be THE WORST STORY TWIST EVER!!!!!!!!! Oh my god,words can hardley do justice to how terrible that idea is!!! god i am nearly crying at the though

  12. I missed Masuka this season

  13. I'm fine with the crush-on-Dex thing. And the big reveal gives me hope for the next season. But apart from the first episodes this season felt pretty dang sloppy. And the worst part is there were actually some good ideas in there. Bringing Bryan back for instance looked like it could take the Dexter character into fresh territory but nooo, it just ended in a goofy detour instead. And way too many cheap solutions; Dexter's Houdini stunt in the boat for instance. If you can't write plausible resolutions for your suspenseful setups then maybe best not put them in there in the first place? They don't add anything but cheap thrills anyway.

  14. First, my God people, the shower thing was a JOKE! Based on Dallas. If you're too young to remember, read your television history. I wasn't seriously suggesting it was a good idea.

    Second, the Debxtership idea was not the only bad thing about the season. There was a lot of sloppiness.

    Third, I get that it isn't biological incest, but it is weird, especially when adopted siblings have grown up together. This isn't a blended family. Dexter was Deb's brother her entire life. And even if she suddenly came to the point of realizing these were her feelings, any decent therapist would have encouraged her to explore the feelings before running off to tell Dexter about them and see if he felt the same way (something she probably knows enough about Dex to realize is unlikely.)

  15. Another point about the skyscraper. Even if Dexter had gotten Travis body off the roof and out of there without a person noticing him there'd be security camera footage. After they discovered the cop dead on the roof they'd pull all the security camera footage as evidence and would notice Dexter coming up and down.

  16. Anyone who's saying the Deb/Dex sexual tension has been present for years is lying to yourselves. It's been implied that this only took place THIS season because Scott Buck - and I assume some other empowered writers - decided its what they wanted. It's been acknowledged that this DID NOT happen earlier because its something the previous writers DID NOT WANT. If they didn't want it, they sure as hell weren't slipping in sexual innuendo about it.

    As for Buck's commments on Louis.... is this a joke? NO IDEA where the story is going? Well that's great. Suppose they sit down to hash out season 7 and... no one knows what to do with Louis ! Theyre stuck with him now, so what are they gonna do? Force into the show the best thing they can come up with?

    You don't have Louis send Dexter the mother effing ITK HAND (!!!!!) if you dont know where youre going with it!!!!!!!

  17. Deb lines r annoying. The writers seem to force bad language into every line. Especially this season. It almost seems that one writer is only writing Debs lines. It has got worse since she promoted to lieutenant. She's a good actress who has become annoying from her bad lines. Am I being too synical or does anyone else see this?

  18. WoW! U guys have some brutal comments. I loved this season. Yeah there were some inconsistencies in the writing but geez use your imagination...Dexter is somewhat an escape artist and always has tricks up his sleeves. So when you see something like him escaping a boat about to explode just understand Dexter is super resourceful and lucky and found a way...You guys dont need to be babied and hand walk through every single detail. Its tv geez just sit back and enjoy the Big picture...which is absolutely GREAT!!!

  19. Well, I think Deb is the best. Without her constant cussing, the show would be so much more boring.

    I thought this season started a lot of great storylines and then just left them. Or worse, backtracked them. Like La Guerta. She had just become the villain you love to hate and you expect Deb to spend next season fighting with and finally coming up with some way to beat, and then - boom. "Oh, I'm here for you, the best interests of the department, blah, blah, blah." So much for that.

    Bring on a new guy to take Deb's old job and he gets a few lines.

    Quinn could have done something besides drink all season.

    It seemed like Dexter hardly killed anyone. Which, ya know, is kinda what you tune in for.

    But this is the first time I've watched a season normally. Usually I wait until it's out on DVD and then watch the whole thing through. I think it's better that way. Maybe I'll like it more when I watch it again.

    Oh, and I thought it would be cool of Gellar had somehow killed Travis.

  20. Anon at 2:02

    As early as Season 3 it came up in public during a Q&A question with the staff and actors! Sarah Colleton addressed it, and hinted about what was coming in the future! So that doesn't make the producers and writers and actors liars, it makes you a liar. :)

    The people that are primarily opposed to this storyline are a small vocal contingent of fans who's idea of the show is that every episode has a kill room and a murder. You are FEITISHIZING the murder of show and missing the metaphors and memes and overall point of what this show is about.

    Dexter Morgan is a metaphor for all of us. We all have darkness within, we all suffer from destructive compulsions that we try to hide or deny - whether it's a drug addiction, fanaticism, sexual addiction, food addiction, uncontrollable anger or rage, bulimia, depression, et. We all have our dark passengers and they all lead to our own destruction!

    This storyline is divisive because everyone can see that Debra is the path towards Dexter's humanity, one way or the other, she is the catalyst that will force him to truly deal with his darkness. He may have to sacrifice himself for her to get rid of it (most likely) OR she can help him finally defeat it.

    The love story represents the end game, the fact that the series is coming to a conclusion, Dexter and Deb are coming full circle. The promise of "If I could have feelings, I'd have them for Deb" back in season 1 CANNOT BE DENIED! The resistance to this storyline is due to the fact that fans sense the journey is coming to an end and they cannot accept it yet.

    In order for this show to become the complete cover to cover classic, they had to go down this path. You have to look at the show as a whole, like a book, the book always gets the most uncomfortable and heartbreaking as it heads into the final act.

  21. Honestly, I think the only people who aren't pleased with this season either a) have ridiculously high expectations. b) have a big misconception about how the show always seems to go.

    Personally, I LOVED it. It was one of the best thus far, only 2nd to Season 4.

    I get how Deb's feelings for Dexter are weird for some, but really, guys? Saying it's wrong? Do you not remember the first some episodes of Dexter where he said (though this is a rough quote) "If I was to be with someone, it would be her (Deb)."?

    Even Dexter knows she is his best match. It's about damn time Deb realized it. And yes, you can quite easily develop feelings like that as long as you know you aren't blood-related. Which, they clearly both know.

    I cannot wait for season 7. I've secretly been hoping and waiting for someone to catch him in the act (though Deb was the last person on my mind, haha), so this is going to be fucking awesome.

    You guys need to stop being so picky.

  22. I love the show, keep up the fantastic work! I love the idea of Deb finding out about Dexter, although I find myself tortured by the idea I have to wait until next season to see how it develops. I'm sure that is what you were going for! All I want to see in the grand finale is a few mutilated animals from Harrison! The good vs evil serial killer cycle must live on!

  23. People also need to realize that Michael C. Hall and Scott Buck have been working together since Six Feet Under.

    Scott has written some of the very best episodes of Dexter, I can't even imagine what this show would be without him. He is an amazing writer and producer, and I for one, appreciate his courage to go through with this storyline.

  24. So wait, he emptied the needle? He would then be injecting himself with air. That will kill you.

  25. Wow I wish I could make a post on here that EVERYONE could read. I don't know that this means anything, but it could. I was just reading Clyde Phillips wikipedia page, those of you that don't know, he was a HUGE factor in giving us the 1st 4 AMAZING seasons of Dexter but left to be with his family on the east coast after season 4. But on his wiki page it says this...

    He has signed a deal with Lionsgate that involves transferring his entire crew on Dexter to the East Coast.

    Could this mean that Clyde will be coming back to helm seasons 7 and 8???? Hmmm???

  26. Excuse me, but season 3 was NOT amazing. It is still the worst Season of Dexter by a significant margin.

    No offense to Jimmy Smits, but I would rather listen to Travis mutter religious things to himself for 10 hours, than sea another 5 minutes of Miguel Prada! I wish I could go back to Season 3 and just edit him out...

  27. wow the anonymous poster above is an absoolute fucking muppet. Season 3 was amazing and if u had a brain a all u would be able to appreciate how terrific that was. The scripts were fucking amazing, the best,and the character interaction and development has been unmatched since. YOu're a muppet

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