Dexter Series Finale Post Mortem: EP Reveals Why [Spoiler] Had to Live and [Spoiler] Had to Die, Talks Alt Endings and Dissects That Final Scene
Now that you’ve had some time to process the events of the Dexter series finale — in which Dex became a reclusive mountain man, Deb died (sob) and Harrison most likely wound up as an illegal immigrant of Argentina — let’s delve deeper into the bound-to-be polarizing send-off with a little help from executive producer Sara Colleton.
Here, the EP — who has worked on the Showtime saga since the very beginning — details the decision to let Dexter live, explains why the ending fans saw was the only one on the table (pun intended), breaks down the significance of that haunting final shot and much, much more.
TVLINE | Was there ever a scenario planned in which Dexter actually dies?
No, and the reason there wasn’t is that it’s not a fitting enough punishment for him. Going into exile away from everything that he knows and has become attached [to] in his whole infrastructure is a more fitting punishment for what his journey toward being a human being has cost everyone around him. If the central idea from the pilot on was: Here’s a guy who thinks of himself as a monster and yet yearns to be human… We’ve seen him on this journey – he started off as faking it but then became real somewhere along the line – and we’ve seen year-to-year what this journey has cost him. So, in the finale, the final price comes through… If he had listened to the Dark Passenger and stuck to the Code, he would never have left Saxon, he wouldn’t have thought that he didn’t need to kill, that he’s got a stronger pull. Deb, who was his touchstone and soulmate, died — and this was the only fitting punishment. He banishes himself, if you will, into exile. When he looks into the camera in the end [of the finale], the rest is silence; there’s not even a voiceover there anymore. It’s just emptiness… Committing suicide is too easy; that’s letting himself off the hook.
TVLINE | It seems as though the writers approached the penultimate episode as Dexter’s happy ending and then the series finale as his realistic ending.
Yes! And that’s the cost of being a human being. Do you know how much easier it is to be a sociopath, and not to think and not to have anxiety and not to have hesitation or to love? I’m hoping that in addition to it making sense for Dexter’s specific journey, it is an analysis or a look at how hard it is to be a human being.
TVLINE | Is the takeaway meant to be that he’s no longer killing, but rather just living his life in solitude?
Yes. Anything that was a part of his life that gave it meaning is gone. He’s banished himself as far away from Miami and anyone he’s loved.
TVLINE | What went into having Dexter look directly at the camera in the final shot?
It’s that it’s just silence. There’s always been so much that you’ve been able to read into Dexter – twice before in the series, he looked into the camera, but always with a voiceover. And here he’s just got nothing. Nothingness. The rest is silent. Empty.
TVLINE | Was it always the plan for Deb to die?
Well, not from Year 1, but certainly two years ago when we mapped this out. Dexter [in the finale] is as close to being a human being as possible – he’s within a plane ride of achieving his happiness — but he hesitates that one moment. And Deb, who is the closest to him of anyone, [suffers].