EW.com sat down with Dexter creator Scott Buck along with cast members -- David Zayas, C.S. Lee, and James Remar for an exclusive interview about the final season of Showtime's veteran serial-killer series.
On the seventh season finale, Debra killed LaGuerta in order to protect her brother, Dexter. Now that the show is heading towards the final season, fans have wondered -- What could be the comeuppance of her actions? And just how badly will she deal with the guilt of killing an innocent person?
Read on for the bunch of spoilers we've learned about Jennifer Carpenter's character and other inside scoops from the Miami Metro team!
What to expect from Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) this season: “Dexter is a character who has evolved so much over the years that’s he’s almost unrecognizable to who he was in the beginning when he was in the brain of a psychopath. We’ve gradually seen him evolve and become more human. As that’s happened, the show itself has become more real because we’re seeing it through Dexter’s eyes. The trick of the show is that he’s a likable serial killer. But we don’t ever want our audience to forget that he is a serial killer and I think we take him on that final journey this season. This is the person you’ve been loving all these years, but this is ultimately what happens with a serial killer.”
What to expect from Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter): “We’ll see an even darker side to Debra this year — I don’t know if you can go much darker than killing [Maria] LaGuerta — but we’ll see how that has affected her and we’ll see a different side to her than before.”
Bringing back Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski): “For Dexter, this was his first adult relationship, his first time feeling real love in an honest way because he was able to be himself with her. I don’t think he’s been able to get over her and she hasn’t gotten over him. But after what they each did to each other, can they get beyond that? They are two killers, can they ever fully trust each other? That’s the question.”
On the odds of bringing more characters back from Dexter’s past — like Sgt. Doaks (Erik King) last season: “You don’t want to become too gimmicky and keep pulling characters out of the past … I don’t think we’ll be seeing Lumen [Pierce].”
On Vince Masuka (C.S. Lee) getting a bit of a personal life this season: “Masuka discovers something about his past he was unaware of and somebody new enters his life.”
Debra’s sexual feelings for her brother: “It will always color her feelings for Dexter. But after everything she’s been through with him it’s hard for her to entertain any serious thoughts of romance with him. Her feelings are so much more complicated for him now.”
Wrapping up the show: “We want to go out as strongly as we came in. From season 1, [the audience is] asking, ‘Is it weird that I like this person?’ I want them continue asking those questions about this character. I want them to relate to him, but perhaps not on as easy terms as they initially did. If you were to watch the first season of Dexter, you would never imagine that this is what the final season would be like. But to watch it all as a whole it feels like the only natural place to take this character. It’s scary and thrilling and very touching all at the same time.”
The ending itself: “I think ideally it will make our audience sit back and see Dexter a little more clearly than before. People love him for what he does, there’s a lot of wish fulfillment, I think [the ending] will help you see him more of as an actual person. It feels like the exact ending we should be doing. It will be pretty clear and understandable and should absolutely make sense to everybody watching it.”
Det. Sgt. Angel Batista (David Zayas): The good-hearted investigator was planning to retire last season and run a restaurant. But LaGuerta’s death changed that plan. “He’s back this season, especially with the revelation of LaGuerta’s death,” Zayas says. “He’s going to have an interesting way of dealing with certain things.” Zayas doesn’t know how the season ends, but hopes his character eventually learns Dexter’s secret and, when he does, that Batista will “maintain his dignity, maintain his honesty, hopefully do the right thing. I feel like Batista has a big heart, which sometimes leads to bad choices as well as good ones. But hopefully when and if the truth comes out he’ll handle it like a professional.” Zayas says his reaction to the show concluding was initially sadness, but notes, “It’s also a wonderful way to end the series while it’s still on top. It was a great experience and I learned a lot and made a lot of life-long friends.”
Forensic investigator Vince Masuka (C.S. Lee): Lee points out he’s held a very unique position on Dexter. As the comic relief, his pervy character has managed to skate blissfully around all the life-and-death drama that’s impacted all the other characters on the show. But perhaps as a result of that, we’ve also never really seen anything of Masuka’s personal life. That’s going to change in season eight, when Masuka learns something about his past. “There’s going to be some personal stuff you’ll see from Masuka that you haven’t seen before,” he teases. “It has something to do with his personal life that people have wondered about.” Lee hopes his character eventually finds a partner on the show. “He’s a romantic at heart, really,” Lee says. “He loves women, he loves people. I think the best way for him to end up is to find a girlfriend or get married.” Lee notes, “It would be nice to go another year or so, but it all comes down to the story they want to go with and eight seasons is fine.”
Harry Morgan (James Remar): Dex’s deceased father is part of Miami Metro too — or was, at least (Harry might as well be still on the beat considering how often he pops up). But this season we’ll see flashbacks to Dexter’s youth showing how Harry formed The Code that Dex uses to manage his psychotic impulses. “We get to see Harry as the real person, not just as he exists in Dexter’s mind,” says Remar, who notes that he plays the character differently in flashbacks vs. when he’s appearing as Dexter’s projection. “I have to tread the line where I don’t become differentiated from Dexter,” he says. “I play it like I’m speaking in his voice, in his memory — that’s Dexter talking to himself filtered through the voice of Harry. So I have to be careful not to be too much of my own person. When I play the character in flashback he’s slightly different.” Remar says the show ending is “very sad,” and noted, “We formed a beautiful family here. We’re making a great show that has a strong audience. I’m not happy seeing it end.” We also asked Remar if he feels any pressure to keep his appearance the exact same — since it wouldn’t make sense for Harry’s ghost to age. “It’s the miracle of makeup,” he says. “We all age but, we’ve all aged together. So it’s kind of imperceptible. You look at the first season we look substantially younger. I’m not running out to get a face lift!”
Dexter season 8 premieres Sunday, June 30 on Showtime.