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Sunday, January 9, 2022

Michael C. Hall: "The Way the Season Concludes Is One That Resonates With Me, It Feels Justifiable"

"Some people will accept it, some people will reject it".

Michael Nagle/For The Times

Michael C. Hall predicted that the finale for Dexter: New Blood will spark a strong response similar to the one from 2013. “Some people will have predicted it, and some will be shocked by it,” the actor said in a Zoom interview last week. 

“Some people will accept it, some people will reject it. I think it will be difficult for people to grapple with his fate given that he is someone that they have spent a lot of time with and have a lot of affection for — at least in some cases.”

While the ending may be jarring for many fans, Hall is pleased: “The way the season concludes is one that resonates with me. It feels justifiable. As upsetting as it may be, I hope audiences will appreciate the resonance of Dexter dying this way at the hands of his son.”

He added, “People moaned about an ending that was admittedly open-ended and without any sense of closure. He flashed a Dexter-like smile: “I guess you have to be careful what you wish for.”

Clyde “I don’t know of any other show in the history of television that gets a do-over of a finale,” said Phillips, who developed the reboot and reprised his roles as executive producer and showrunner. “I think the audience is going to be surprised. Hardcore fans are going to be disappointed that he’s gone. But the smart hardcore fans are going to understand that this was inevitable.”

“Out of the desire not to get caught, Dexter kills someone that in no way fits the code,” Hall said. “And it’s someone that his son, who he loves above all others, revered. In that moment, Dexter apologizes to another human being for all he’s done to that person, and experiences a sense of connection to a person he’s never experienced before. It’s like, ‘I’m having a full experience of being a human being now, and could you please kill me because it’s unbearable.’”

In writing those climactic scenes, Phillips drew upon his own experience of “having a terrible father and needing years of therapy.” He also referred to a term in psychiatry that “the son has to ‘murder’ the father to proceed with life, to proceed with business, to proceed with love, to proceed with starting his own family. You can’t always have a father figure there holding you down. That was part of the impetus of having Harrison do the deed. Except here, he’s actually doing the deed. And make no mistake, this is fiction. We’re talking about sociopathic characters, and maybe psychopathic characters. Certainly Dexter is a psychopath.”

When Phillips pitched Hall on the reboot and its ending, the actor was intrigued. “The fact that the character was going to expire was a way for me to close the book on him in a way I haven’t been able to do,” Hall said. “I didn’t come to the table saying, ‘Dexter must meet his maker.’ But when that proposition was floated, I didn’t resist it.”

“The events of the season take place over about two and a half weeks, but we shot in Massachusetts from February all the way into July,” he said. “So we shot all the stuff that was snow-dependent early. That scene came on the third week. It was really challenging to imagine everything we had left to film — it was strange to do it so early, and also strange to realize having completed that work that we had four to five more months to film.

“But in a way, it was liberating to know where we were headed as we filled in all the pieces.”

Clyde said he is open to the possibility of developing a spinoff centering on Harrison, who was grappling with demons even before killing his father:

“If Showtime wanted to pursue that — I have a lot of stuff going on, but I would drop everything in a minute to do it,” Phillips said. “He’s so damaged. I write a lot of damaged people and I would love the opportunity to explore his psyche and put him in another world and to take this show and bring more people to it.”

Michael suggested that “Playing Dexter all these years was a kick. It was an experience I’ve never had before and can’t imagine ever having again. But the desire for closure had to do with wanting to move on. Ever since the series proper ended, I would be asked periodically in interviews or on the street, ‘Are you going to do more “Dexter”? Please bring him back. What’s up with that ending? I hated the ending, I loved the show...’ This puts all those hypotheticals to bed.

“I’m not operating under the illusion that with the end of this show no one will think of me as Dexter any more. But this calms that noise.”


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