Finales are a difficult thing to nail for most long-running series. After years of buildup, expectations are typically through the roof, and with so many plot threads to tie up and characters to offer closure to, writers and showrunners can often drop the ball. Of course, fans of the Showtime mega hit Dexter are all too aware of this unfortunate reality, as 2013’s season 8 finale was one of the most divisive in television history.
As you may already know, Dexter followed the titular serial killer – played by the talented Michael C. Hall – as he attempted to blend into normal life in southern Florida, where he worked as a forensic analyst at the Miami Metro Police Department. After years of training from his late father, Dexter learned to use his thirst for bloodshed for good, killing only other murderers and, on occasion, other serial killers. And as expected, this intriguing concept made for some excellent television.
Following four seasons of expertly crafted storytelling that explored Dexter’s sociopathy and his quest to gain some semblance of emotional growth, a major event sent the series in a less interesting and more frustrating direction, which ultimately resulted in four more seasons of varying quality and culminated in the aforementioned disastrous season 8 finale.
Despite the last run’s overall poor narrative choices, viewers had hoped to see some interesting closure for years of investment in Dexter’s life but were instead treated to an open ended final moment that saw the character – having escaped Miami on a boat in the midst of hurricane – working for a logging company in Oregon. While some found the ambiguity fitting, a vocal majority of the fanbase felt betrayed by such a cryptic ending.
So, it goes without saying that the recent announcement that the show would be returning for a limited 10-episode revival has reignited hope that everyone’s favorite vigilante serial killer will finally get a conclusion that feels more appropriate for his character. That appears to be the case, too, as both Hall and original showrunner Clyde Phillips will be returning with the intention of expanding Dexter’s story and finally wrapping it up more tightly.
During a recent interview on the TV’s Top 5 podcast, Phillips shared his feelings on the matter, saying:
Ten years, or however many years, have passed by the time this will air, and the show will reflect that time passage. 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.
We’re not undoing anything. We’re not going to betray the audience and say, ‘Whoops, that was all a dream.’ What happened in the first eight years happened in the first eight years.
It sounds like longtime viewers of Dexter are in for a treat when the revival hits sometime in 2021. Until then, all we can do is imagine what kind of mischief the character has been up to over the past seven years.