'Dexter: New Blood' finale shocker: Breaking down the big deaths as series set Showtime records

·5 min read

Spoiler alert: This story contains details from the finale of Showtime's "Dexter: New Blood," now streaming.

"Dexter" fans were disappointed with the infamously ambiguous ending to Michael C. Hall's serial-killer vigilante series in 2013, after eight seasons.

Hall made it a mission to right this wrong with his return in Showtime's "Dexter: New Blood" after an eight-year break.

With Sunday's finale, the 10-episode limited series broke Showtime ratings records, averaging over 8 million weekly viewers across all platforms.

Additionally, we're sure that Hall succeeded in bringing an absolutely unequivocal ending to Dexter Morgan in the "New Blood" season finale on Sunday.

Dead sure.

"I'm just gonna say three words because it's not like that was all a dream or anything like that," says executive producer Clyde Phillips. "Dexter is dead."

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Michael C. Hall as Dexter in "Dexter: New Blood," “Sins of the Father.”
Michael C. Hall as Dexter in "Dexter: New Blood," “Sins of the Father.”

That's right: Dexter Morgan, who started a new life in upstate Iron Lake, New York, posing as regular guy Jim Lindsay, lay fully deceased in a pool of his own blood at the end of Sunday's finale, "Sins of the Father," that puts this chapter of the franchise to rest permanently.

On the other end of the rifle was Dexter's own son, Harrison (Jack Alcott).

"I can't think, in the history of television, there's ever been a redo to a much-maligned finale," says Phillips. "We got a chance to give Dexter the right send-off."

Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Jack Alcott as Harrison in "Dexter: New Blood," “Sins of the Father.”
Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Jack Alcott as Harrison in "Dexter: New Blood," “Sins of the Father.”

Why Dexter had to die

The previous run ended with Dexter mercifully pulling the plug on sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), dumping her body in the ocean and driving his boat into the eye of a hurricane to certain death. His rationale was to keep loved ones from getting hurt anymore, including Harrison. But that ending also revealed Dexter faked his own death and began living as a lumberjack in Oregon.

Grown Harrison tracked down his father in upstate New York in the "New Blood" season and, as the title suggests, began following in his father's killer footsteps. Dexter became a fatherly guide to Harrison's own "dark passenger" killing side. The two even started hatching dreams of being a vigilante serial killing team in a new town.

Angela (Julia Jones) started getting suspicious about her boyfriend Jim, who turned out to be Dexter Morgan.
Angela (Julia Jones) started getting suspicious about her boyfriend Jim, who turned out to be Dexter Morgan.

But that was before Dexter was arrested by his increasingly suspicious girlfriend and police chief, Angela Bishop (Julia Jones), who discovered his true identity and was about to bring down the legal hammer. To escape from his jail cell, Dexter was forced to kill the key-carrying Sergeant Logan (Alano Miller), who was also Harrison's mentoring wrestling coach. Small-town problems.

Logan's death was too much for Harrison, who decided he would not escape with his fleeing father, but rather stop him. Dexter, close to freedom, also realized he was irredeemable. According to Phillips, it was Hall's idea to have Dexter remind Harrison how to take off the safety on the rifle.

"Dexter says, 'This is the only way out. For the both of us.' And then shows him the kill spot on his chest," says Phillips. Harrison fires and Dexter falls into the snow.

The writers and Hall had planned to kill off the character early on in the revival season. "It was determined that Dexter must die," Phillips says. "We can't turn Dexter into a superhero getting out of impossible jams every season. It has to end, viscerally and inevitably."

The death signifies the first time the psychopath is "feeling love, and it's for his son and that's as human as he's ever been."

The final moment sees Deb, an increasingly active part of Dexter's fraying imagination, pulling her hand away from her dying brother. This was Carpenter's idea. "She said, 'Deb is the core of his brain that's still alive. If I pull away, then that's his life leaving him,' " says Phillips.

Harrison (Jack Alcott), left, and wrestling coach Logan (Alano Miller) were close. When Dexter killed Logan to escape jail, it broke Harrison.
Harrison (Jack Alcott), left, and wrestling coach Logan (Alano Miller) were close. When Dexter killed Logan to escape jail, it broke Harrison.

Will there be a new 'Dexter'?

In the final moments, Harrison drives out of town and listens to the letter his father had written explaining his departure at the end of the original series, and how difficult it was to leave his son.

"Dexter talks about his son being his 'phantom limb,' " says Phillips. "His final words are both human and loving."

Whether Harrison reverts to following in his father's foreboding killer footsteps – or continues to turn away from his dark tendencies – is the franchise's lingering mystery.

"I would love to define that question, given the opportunity," says Phillips, who is eager for a spinoff franchise series on Harrison.

He insists any follow-up will not involve a live Dexter. This death will stick. "We're not gonna pull a fast one on the audience. I have too much respect and gratitude for them."

Showtime's President of Entertainment Gary Levine would not comment on the future of the franchise, or any new franchise with Harrison.

"' Dexter: New Blood' is a limited series and any further discussions of Dexter will have to wait until we finish airing the limited series and see where we are with our stories and our characters,” Levine said in a statement last week.

While fans howled about the original series finale, Phillips predicts fans will be disturbed in a different way with Sunday's ending.

"They've fallen in love with the show and want more and more seasons," he says. "Many viewers will be disappointed that Dexter is indeed dead."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Dexter: New Blood' finale death explained; series sets ratings record