Clyde Phillips Talks Dexter: New Blood, Says The Original Series "Lost Its Way"

"I think the show in the last couple of years of its original incarnation lost its way".

Getty Images

Dexter star Michael C. Hall and Showrunner Clyde Phillips were recently interviewed by Variety, about the new episodes, and the seasons after Clyde left. He also describes some scenes that involve main characters so, you should expect minor spoilers in the following article.

via The killing is “a lot wilder and a lot less regimented and less totally within his control,” says Hall.

“I think of people who are addicts and who go a long time without indulging their addiction and then start up again, and they discover their addiction is as formidable, if not more so, than ever. So once he sees it’s still in there, he almost immediately gets caught in this riptide.”

“I think people are attracted to things like ‘Dexter’ because the characters are so compelling and so identifiable. What they do is, they often act out on the worst impulses that we secretly have that we don’t act out on,” Phillips says.

“I think the show in the last couple of years of its original incarnation lost its way. It was only seeing as far into the future as the headlights on a car and had broken the covenant with the audience about everything that Dexter does has to be code-worthy,” says Phillips.

Hall says that “Dexter has been reeling because of the fallout of those choices,” noting that his belief he could have a real life got him and the people around him in trouble. “It’s when his appetite for humanity is whetted that he gets into hot water,” Hall says. “And Dexter, when we visit him in this incarnation, is someone who has taken responsibility for all of that wreckage.”

Getty Images

Phillips recalls that he first got a phone call two years ago from Levine, who said, “Michael’s ready to do ‘Dexter’ again and wants to know what you think.” Phillips took two weeks to come up with a “rough idea” of what the season could be before flying to New York to meet with Hall. That meeting went so well, Hall told him he was in immediately, and Levine greenlit a writers’ room. This was all pre-pandemic, but the world was already tumultuous, amid a post-#MeToo era and a complex political climate. Although neither Phillips nor Hall wanted to get too preoccupied with the larger landscape when creating, they knew they had to acknowledge certain elements.

“The character has grown, and the audience has grown,” Phillips says. “We touch upon many modern subjects — the opioid crisis, school shootings, how Indigenous people are treated in this country. We are doing our damnedest to be as contemporary as possible.”

“I have a daughter who’s 24, and I draw a lot on my experience with her,” Phillips says of creating Angela and her relationship to her teenage daughter.

He also really wanted to “personify a modern woman in difficult circumstances.”

“Angela’s character is a bit at odds with her nation because she’s in the white world as much as she’s in the Native world. She also has a huge case that she suspects is real that nobody else believes, but she won’t give up,” he previews. (For the former, he notes the show hired a consultant to tell the story as authentically and honestly as possible.)

Having a “formidable female lead” with “complete agency” was one of the first things Phillips knew he needed to have to bring “Dexter” into a new decade. Others included flashing forward in the timeline of the story to the present and incorporating Dexter’s now-teenage son, Harrison, to continue the theme of fathers and sons that the series began a decade and a half ago with Dexter and his adoptive father, Harry.

Getty Images

“The Deb character plays his conscience — that part of your brain, however big or small it might be, that’s that question mark in your head that’s always there.”

At one point in the season, Phillips shares, Harrison asks his father if he ever thinks about Debra, “and she is standing there, though Harrison can’t see her, and Dexter says, ‘She’s in my thoughts every day.’” That she is such a big part of his thinking process and attempts at staying on the morally straight-and-narrow says a lot about who Dexter is trying to be.

“One of the benefits of his abstinence [from killing] is that he remains in the good graces of this internalized version of Deb. When you first see them, it’s a relationship that is very lived in and comfortable and seems to be in some ways very soothing,” he says. “I do think his aspiration to live a normal life is genuine, but he’s almost damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t when it comes to having a certain kind of life. In spite of himself, he’s always been a bit of a darkness magnet, and I don’t think he’s been demagnetized. One of the challenges was modulating the way that relationship starts to unravel, not just because he indulges his Dark Passenger, but also because he embarks on a genuine flesh-and-blood relationship with his real-life son.”

“I wanted to put some space between myself and the character, both imaginatively and chronologically,” he says.

But as time went on, the actor “realized there were some storytelling opportunities that were there organically that weren’t there before, mainly having to do with the fact that Dexter’s son, who’s out there somewhere, has become a full-fledged person in his own right. The possibility of their paths crossing again became a lot more thrilling,” he says. “I think my openness to the idea had to do with that — the storytelling opportunities. Harrison emerging in this world is suggesting to all of us that you can’t run away from your past.”

Getty Images

Whether that past will fully catch up to and create a comeuppance for Dexter by the end of “Sins of the Father,” “New Blood’s” finale episode, which Phillips wrote, is not something anyone will confirm outright — though Phillips notes that question is “part of the ecosystem we built” for the show.

“The show takes place in the middle of the winter, and we had written a huge Christmas Day scene where the bad guys confront each other but have to be polite with each other because they’re in a church. But we had to completely rewrite that because we couldn’t have 300 extras in a small church in a small town,” Phillips says.

Source: Variety | Images via

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form