Clyde Phillips: "We Are Not Going To Have Dexter Wake Up From the Dream Or Do Anything Like That"

"Dexter's observing and testing Harrison all the way" the showrunner said.


Is Dexter Morgan really dead? Did our favorite serial killer break his code in episode 10 "Sins of the Father"? Executive producer and showrunner Clyde Phillips recently spoke with website TV Insider about the shocking and divisive finale.

Jumping to the ending of the episode, was Dexter dying at the end an easy conclusion, or was there a lot of back-and-forth about how it should end?

Clyde Phillips: 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.

Once you had Jack as Harrison in those scenes in the first couple of episodes, did any of that trajectory between him and Dexter change?

Well, no. What’s interesting is we had all 10 scripts written. So we shot this like a movie. The first day we shot a scene from Episode 6 and the second day we’d shoot a scene from Episode 1 and from Episode 5, and all of that.

To answer your question… we wanted to get Michael and Jack as comfortable with each other as possible. We realized we wanted to do that therapy scene early on to get Jack and Michael connected as actors and as people and as friends. It was a snowstorm day and we gave up a day of snow to shoot that therapy scene so that we could then go shoot the final scene that we’re talking about. It was a very emotional day. The crew was emotional, the actors, of course, were emotional. In preparation for this interview, I just rewatched the show and I was just sitting there with tears streaming down my face.

Going back to when Logan was killed, did Dexter break his code, or was it self-defense?

To lead up to that, Angela sends Teddy out to go cover Kurt’s house. Esther leaves. And then Dexter very cleverly says to Angela, “Turn off the camera, I’m going tell you about Kurt.” And basically what he’s doing is he’s getting her to leave the station so that there’s only one obstacle left instead of two obstacles, instead of three obstacles. So now all he’s got is Logan. And Logan makes a mistake. He doesn’t tell Dexter to go to the far side of the cell when he brings him the water. And we watched it. I’m not quite sure that we were 100 percent successful, that when Logan takes the gun and as he fires Dexter goes down and accidentally breaks his neck. All he wants to do is get to his son and get the hell out of there.

Watching Episode 9, Harrison witnesses Dexter’s code and how he kills and I wondered, ‘What if Harrison doesn’t want this?’ So in the finale, when Dexter says ‘let’s leave town,’ Harrison doesn’t want to because he’s established roots there.

Dexter’s observing and testing Harrison all the way. To the point where at the end of Episode 8 he says, “Now I need to tell my son everything.” But don’t forget, we’ve seen Harrison break that wrestler’s elbow. We’ve seen Harrison slash that kid with a razor because he wanted to know what it felt like. And yes, it’s a big chance for Harrison to stay home and feel rooted, but Harrison’s a kid and he doesn’t really know what he wants.

Dexter’s asking a lot of him and testing him saying, “We can’t stay here we need to move someplace. Maybe L.A, it’s warm without the Miami humidity.” And Harrison takes a little bit of convincing but not a lot because there’s something going on inside of Harrison. Another thing is, Harrison in his own teenage naivety looks at taking out bad guys as saving future victims. Dexter looks at bad guys as taking out evil not thinking about the future. He’s not really too into the future of it, so the future lives that are saved. So he’s really surprised and gratified and learning from his own son. It’s a reverse teachable moment, if you will.

Angela basically is going to cover for Harrison and tells him to leave, which he does. Is that just an instinctual reaction of hers?

It was parental instinct kicking in. She’s gotten to learn a lot about Dexter in all the interrogation scenes, which were great fun to write. The first thing she says is, “Drop the rifle. Hands on the ground, hands on your head.” Much like she had said to Dexter in her house. And Harrison’s offering himself up to be handcuffed and everything. Anybody can interpret this in any way, but I think it’s a maternal instinct saying, “This poor kid has been screwed over his whole life, and he’s got a chance and I’ve got a chance to do something right here. And I can cover for him.”

I think it’s a very warm moment that there’s a line in there where Harrison says, “Say hello to Audrey for me.” In Dexter. “Say goodbye to Audrey for me.” And she says, “I can’t.” “Why?” “Because I haven’t seen you.” I wrote that line three months after I wrote the script. It was just one of those things that popped into my head.

So because I have to ask this, is Dexter definitively dead? And is this the beginning of Harrison’s story in a lot of ways? I could see his story continuing if there’s an opportunity.

Yes, Dexter’s definitively dead. We’re not going to have him wake up from the dream or do anything like that. Insofar as Harrison is concerned, I would love to do it. This show as Showtime’s number one asset and if they come to me and say, “We want to pursue Harrison.” I’ll say yes in a heartbeat.

Source: TV Insider

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