Showtime’s Dexter panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego was less a preview of the drama’s final season and more of retrospective of the past seven. Much of the cast, including more than a few deceased characters, were in attendance: Jennifer Carpenter (Deb), David Zayas (Batista), Erik King (Doakes), Lauren Velez (LaGuerta), Desmond Harrington (Quinn), Aimee Garcia (Jamie), Yvonne Strahovski (Hannah), Julie Benz (Rita) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter). Also on hand were executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Scott Buck, and Manny Coto.
Hall refrained from giving away any spoilers about the remaining episodes, but he did jokingly hint there could well be a tie-in show 25 years from now when Dexter’s son Harrison begins to kill and Dexter appears as a voice in Harrison’s head.
Shy of revealing details, the actor did talk about one of this season’s new characters: Dr. Evelyn Vogel, played by Charlotte Rampling, who was Colleton’s first choice for the role. “Dr. Vogel really reframes the entire origin story,” Hall said. “Dexter is also reexamining his relationship with his father.”
Of course, when it comes to Dexter, all admissions should be taken with a grain of salt. “I think we’re meant to be suspicious about his claim that he’s a pure, 100 percent psychopath,” he said. “But I think that over the course of the show, as we see the things that he’s built for himself crumble, as he does, that he has a connection to those things beyond the pragmatic.”
Dexter will also reexamine his relationship with former lover and killer Hannah McKay, who may have a part to play in the last few episodes. “I’m coming back, and we don’t know if her revenge – if her motivation is going to be … I didn’t give anything away,” Strahovski said. She then regained her composure and rephrased her comments, free of spoilers. “Who knows if her motivation will be for revenge or love?”
The panel kicked off with a tribute video as much to the fans as to the show. Much of the cast appeared with simple “thank you” messages. Showtime also ran a highlight reel of Dexter’s greatest kills – not a short clip. Of course, Hall’s voice punctuated the video with his signature narration detailing Dexter’s codes.
John Lithgow, who played the Trinity Killer in Season 4, also recorded a special message for the audience. “Not a day goes by,” he said, “someone doesn’t recognize me as a psychopath.” He also dropped a challenge to Hall, asking him to reveal the ending of the show. Naturally, Hall declined.
For most of the cast and crew, the series has already ended because principal production is complete. “I don’t think it’s hit any of us that it’s over,” Colleton said. “Come August there’ll be a big, emotional blowback for us.”
We won’t know whether Dexter survives until the series concludes later this year, but Hall has already put his character in context. “Dexter was a chance for me to play my own version of the Incredible Hulk,” he said. Hall will also miss his chance to step into character as a retreat from the frustrations in everyday life.
Hall didn’t Hulk-out and destroy the set once filming wrapped, but he and many others took some large souvenirs with them. Hall said he’ll keep the white picket fence from the family home used on the show. Harrington has his character’s gold jewelry, while Carpenter walked away with what she described as “a lot.”
Zayas also admitted to using some of the gorier props to keep the mood light on set. “Sometimes if we have a foot, we’ll play a little football with it,” he said. “A little touch football.”
Dexter airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.