At its best, Dexter was one of the sharpest shows on TV – a barbed, subversive serial-killer drama that dared audiences to side with Michael C. Hall’s mass-murder (albeit one with a stringent moral code, taking down the baddies who avoided legal justice) and watch with baited breath as he narrowly evaded detection from his own police squad. That freshness made it all the more disappointing, then, when the final seasons went completely off the boil – culminating in a finale that often ranks in lists of the worst (or, most disappointing) endings of all time. All of which made the recent news that Dexter is returning for a one-off revival series on Showtime both surprising and rather exciting – a chance to maybe alter the show’s lasting legacy.
And that’s partly how showrunner Clyde Phillips sees is. Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top 5 podcast, the series boss (who left the original run after the much-celebrated Season 4) opened up about what exactly the new series will be – and posited it as a ‘second finale’ for Dexter. “We want this to not be Dexter season nine,” he said, adding that the new series will pick up several years after the original ending. “10 years, or however many years, have passed by the time this will air, and the show will reflect that time passage. In so far as the ending of the show, this will have no resemblance to how the original finale was. It’s a great opportunity to write a second finale for our show, and Showtime was very gracious about that.”
By the sounds of it, the new series won’t walk back the events of the Series 8 finale – but it should continue them to a more satisfying place. “I believe that [Michael C Hall] was not completely satisfied with it, and this is an opportunity to make that right, but that’s not why we’re doing it,” Phillips said. “We’re doing this because there is such a hunger for Dexter out there. […] We’re 10 years later. We’re not undoing anything. We’re not doing movie-magic. We’re not going to betray the audience and say, ‘Oop, that was all a dream.’ What happened in the first eight years happened in the first eight years.”
It’s early days on the revival series yet, but current plans have it down for an autumn 2021 release. Here’s hoping Dexter manages to retrain as something other than a lumberjack within that time.