Former Dexter Showrunner Scott Buck Talks New Blood, Reveals His Own Idea For Season 9/Spinoff: "Dexter Would Be a Doctor Or a Paramedic"

"I did write that script for Showtime, and I guess Michael just didn’t respond to it."


Remember Scott Buck? Yup, he was a writer in the original Dexter series since season two, who later on became the Showrunner for seasons six, seven, and eight. In this new, interesting interview with website Bloody Disgusting, Scott Buck discusses his own idea for a Dexter spinoff, the story it would have told, and why it never happened.

"The one thing I was told I could not do is kill Dexter, because [Showtime] wanted to bring him back, so that meant, at least to me, that I also couldn’t have Dexter get captured. Because if he is, that makes him the most notorious serial killer in the world, and you can’t really do any more future episodes because he’s going to walk down the street and everyone he sees is going to recognize him. So that’s what sort of led to the way the show ended."

"The feeling out there seems to be that people were so unhappy with the [original] ending, and that’s why they had to come back all these years later and give it a new ending. But from my perspective, it was really the other way around. We ended the show specifically in a way that it could come back, because that had always been the intention. And it was actually the network who pitched to me that Dexter be a doctor. I was intrigued by that, but it seemed a little farfetched that, in just a few short years, he could jump through all the hoops and become a doctor. There was also something interesting about him faking his credentials, but there’s also something a little unsatisfying about that. So I pitched the idea that he’d be a paramedic. In a lot of ways, it seemed to make sense, because he’s still working on some level with human bodies as a scientist."

"And it was never that he wanted to help people, that he wanted to atone, but rather... if killing was his heroin, then holding lives in the balance [as a paramedic] would sort of be his methadone. And it’s not that we would draw a whole lot of work-related stories. It was just the background to sort of place him in."


"It was all sort of going on at the same time we were doing the last season," he says. 

Bloody-Disgusting: So if that was the case, that a follow-up was being developed before the flagship show aired its final episode, then was it ever in discussion that the show might not end, and would simply receive a rebooted Season 9? 

Scott Buck: No, not really. Michael was absolutely done with the show. Part of it, I would have to say, was my inexperience as a showrunner that I didn’t have lengthy discussions with Michael. If I’d had a better sense of how much he did not want to do Dexter anymore, that would have also informed the ending in a way. That we would not go right back the next year, it would be at least three years before we would have come back with the new Dexter.

If it would no longer be Dexter, one wonders if this project would have premiered under a modified title, much as New Blood eventually did. "It would have happened with a new title. The whole idea was to completely reinvent Dexter in a new world and a new situation, but still the same character. So we were very careful about making it not feel like a Season 9."

BD: Was there ever a real possibility of a non-Dexter Dexter spinoff? 

Scott Buck: No. I think that because Showtime was sort of hinting that there was more to come... reporters and journalists were trying to figure out what that meant. Would there be a Jennifer Carpenter spinoff, or Miami Metro? So it was just people guessing, but I don’t think the network ever had any intention of doing something like that. I mean, the show is Dexter, and what made the show special was Dexter and Michael C. Hall. So the idea of doing a show without him... it just doesn’t make much sense."

BD: So what story would this new show have told?

Scott Buck: The idea basically was that Dexter, several years later, had resisted killing all these years. He does get at least some small satisfaction, working as a paramedic. But he’s still living in the Pacific Northwest somewhere, which seems to be the haunting ground of serial killers. So some new Big Bad starts terrorizing the area, and Dexter... he’s telling himself, just out of curiosity, he’s going to look into this. He’s certainly not going to do anything about it, but he finds himself gradually being pulled into it more until finally, the challenge is – this person has to go.


BD: Given where we left Dexter in the final moments of “Remember the Monsters?”, toiling away his days as a lumberjack, would this new show have explained how exactly he made the transition to paramedic?

Scott Buck: You sort of pick it up along the way. It makes perfect sense, that several years have passed, he needed to find a new career. You know, when we see him at the end of the series, he’s driving a truck for a lumberyard. I don’t think any of us believed that’s something that he was really going to do for a long time. It was just him getting on his feet, I think.

Some people loved that ending, and obviously quite a few people didn’t. For me, the idea was that if I couldn’t capture him and I couldn’t kill him... we all felt in the writer’s room that, as much as you might love Dexter, there needs to be some sort of consequence. So if no one else punishes him, the idea was that Dexter is punishing himself. That he’s finally realized what he’s done, and that he needs to suffer the consequences.

BD: Those final moments reveal not only that Dexter is living in some sort of miserable self-imposed exile, but that his ever-present inner monologue is now silent (a development that New Blood undoes in its pilot). Would this choice have followed through into the new project? 

Scott Buck: No. To me, that was always so important to the show because that’s the only way you really know what he’s thinking. Almost everything Dexter says and does is a lie to some degree. And Dexter was never an honest narrator. He was never even honest with himself. But it’s only hearing that inner voice sometimes when you get to see who he really is and what he’s really thinking, and what his perception of the world is. So to me, that felt very important to the show. I never would have left that.


BD: In addition to having his inner voice, Dexter also held discussions with his deceased father Harry, who would appear to his son in visions. Would a similar conceit have been used in Buck’s proposed spinoff?

Scott Buck: As much as I loved Harry, we sort of ended that, so I think it would have just been more or less his inner monologue. [Dexter] talking to Harry was not something that was there at the beginning of the show. It was not there in the books. Because Dexter is so secretive, it’s hard to get story out when he’s the only one who knows the story. So introducing Harry was a way for him to do less monologue and be able to do scenes with another actor.”

BD: In addition to Deb and Harry, Dexter boasted a rich cast of supporting characters, each with their own stories and arcs. Would Buck’s spinoff have followed suit in this regard to provide Dexter with a new ensemble?

Scott Buck: There would have been a very small ensemble, much smaller than what we used in the original series. He needs to have people in his life, people that he can have stories with, but I think it would have focused much more on Dexter and his journey. The other characters would not have had their own original stories.

My idea with Dexter would have been more along the lines of what they do with Luther (BBC cop drama starring Idris Elba), where they come back every three or four years and do like six episodes. I would have loved to have seen Dexter grow to be an old man and see how his life gradually evolves over time.

That’s what I would have liked to have done because … you know, one thing that was so interesting about the character is that he just seemed so indestructible. As many times as he comes close to being caught, he just can’t be caught. He’s too smart. I sort of had the idea that if meteorites hit the earth and all life was destroyed, you would see just Dexter and cockroaches crawling out from underneath the rocks. You just couldn’t kill him. That was something that was so intriguing about continuing to do it for a number of years over time.


BD: If that plan had actually worked, would Buck have had Dexter pop up in different settings throughout his many adventures? 

Scott Buck: I think so, to some extent. You have to keep in mind the practicalities of shooting. Despite the fact that the show was set in Miami, it was shot in Los Angeles. You can’t simply just take off all over the world and shoot, but ideally that would have been the plan. I don’t think we had to be kept in any one specific location. It would have been fun to actually shoot Los Angeles as Los Angeles with Dexter there, but I would have also loved to have seen him going down to Buenos Aires to find his family.

BD: Speaking of his family, would Dexter’s girlfriend Hannah and son Harrison have made an appearance in Buck’s spinoff? 

Scott Buck: He was still sort of secretly watching Hannah and Harrison. Because we also showed that Dexter was very skilled with IT, he was able to tap into cameras and street footage and banking accounts. As much as he was trying to distance himself from Hannah and Harrison, he was still watching over them in his own way.

BD: Why didn’t this version of Dexter move forward?

"I did write that script for Showtime, and I guess Michael just didn’t respond to it. He got the script, and I never heard back from him. Not that he owed it to me in any way, but it all came down through the channels that he just wasn’t interested in doing it. This was like five years ago. I think, at that point, he was still pretty exhausted of Dexter. And that was the end of it. As far as I know, there were never any other potential spinoffs until Clyde did New Blood."


BD: Given how New Blood ends, with Dexter’s story definitively concluded and Harrison riding off into the sunset, this writer asks if Buck’s script could in any way be repurposed with Harrison as its lead.

Scott Buck: I don’t think I wanted it to go in that direction. I mean, one thing that was in the books was that (Astor and Cody) were much more involved in the killings. The daughter liked to watch, and the son was very interested. But we all found that bringing children into it was just a little too creepy. Also, there’s no one else like Dexter. We didn’t want to create a Dexter clone or replica.

BD: The former Dexter showrunner shared his final thoughts on this Dexter show that never was.

Scott Buck: It would have been something fun to do, but that’s the way it all worked out. I’m sure everyone is very happy with Dexter: New Blood. I’m glad that it finally came out, because it had been very long in the works that Dexter needed to be finished in some way.

Source: Bloody-Disgusting

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