Michael C. Hall in Dexter (2006)

Can Dexter: New Blood Redeem the Show’s Universally Hated Finale?

Fool me once, Dexter Morgan.

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It’s been 8 years since the notorious series finale of Dexter. Showtime’s serial killer drama ended not with a bang nor a whimper, but an aggravated “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me?!?” from its fanbase. The beloved series starring Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, forensic technician by day and avenging serial killer by night, was on a downward slope in later seasons, but truly fumbled the finale by killing off fan-favorite character Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) and seeing Dexter abandon his son Harrison to be a lumberjack in a remote town. The finale was so bad that it soured many fans on the series, which had legitimately good seasons before taking a nosedive.

And it’s this fandom that the series is hoping to win back with the new limited series Dexter: New Blood. The sequel picks up ten years after the events of the series finale. Dexter Morgan, under the alias Jim Lindsay (a nod to the author of the book series), now lives in the fictional small town of Iron Lake, New York, where he runs a local hunting and fishing store. He’s dating the local police chief Angela Bishop (Julia Jones) and has sworn off murdering, but when children start going missing in town, Dexter’s Dark Passenger threatens to return.

The trailer also gives us our first look at Ghost Debra, who seems to be replacing Ghost Dad Harry (James Remar) as the voice in Dexter’s head. We also get a sneak peek at teenage Harrison, who has tracked his estranged father to New York. Carpenter’s return to the role is somewhat of a surprise, given she and Hall got divorced in 2010. But the two have remained friends, and a fan of the series, the show simply doesn’t work without Debra.

Carpenter discussed her return to the series in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, where she says, “I thought the only reason to bring the show back was so we could see what would become of an unmedicated, unchecked, unpunished, decoded, serial killer. What would the dark passion passenger look like if it had an all-access pass to this man? I wanted to come back and haunt him, comfort him, console him, encourage him, love him, hate him, and ruin him.”

She also addressed her character’s demise and burial at sea, a plot point that dismayed the series’ hardcore fans. Carpenter said,

“When I watched it, it broke my heart. He sort of whisked her up, her hair dusting the bench of the boat, the engines have cut off, Dexter putting his cheek next to hers, and he literally slams her into the surface of the ocean only to descend into the graveyard of the other people who meant nothing to him. On behalf of my character, I thought that he vandalized her and disfigured her entire being. But we are talking about a serial killer who is deranged and prone to hurt others. Everybody wants to look at him like a real boy or a real man. The story always seemed to have this sympathetic attitude about him wanting to be a neat monster. But he’s sick and it made me realize what a dead end he was.”

So much of the failure of the Dexter finale is the fact that Dexter experiences no consequences for his crimes. And while those closest to him die or become estranged, Dexter himself is given a second chance and a fresh start. Will Hall’s “evolving monster” actually evolve and seek redemption? Or will the series continue to treat its title character with kid gloves?

Carpenter’s return is a huge selling point for me as a fan, as is the return of showrunner Clyde Phillips, who ran the show during its first four seasons. Phillips’ departure caused a major decline in quality, so I’m curious to see how he will choose to end the Dexter saga.

Dexter: New Blood premieres on Showtime on November 7, 2021.

What do you think of the series trailer? Will you watch Dexter: New Blood or are you over it?

(image: Showtime)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.