Dexter fans are nothing if not dedicated, sticking with the show through thick”¦and thin (season 6, anyone?). We’ve been through a LOT. On the crest of its last season on air, Showtime’s Dexter made its final San Diego Comic-Con appearance Thursday evening in Hall H.
The panelists included series star/executive producer Michael C. Hall, and past and present co-stars Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, Aimee Garcia, Desmond Harrington, Yvonne Strahovski, Lauren Velez, Eric King, and Julie Benz. Also appearing were executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Scott Buck, Clyde Phillips and Manny Coto. Ralph Garman moderated. He mentioned that the complete series will be available on Blu-Ray November 5th, in a box that resembles Dexter Morgan’s blood slide collection case. This announcement was followed by a retrospective look at Dexter Morgan’s most famous kills.
Colleton was asked how it felt to go from the source novel to the final, eighth season. She said she hasn’t been able to process its finality yet. Buck said the writing staff was unusual in that it’s 50 percent women and composed of all walks of life. Harrington and Velez were overwhelmed by the scope of the Comic-Con audience, it being their first attendance. John Lithgow gave a special message of congratulations via pre-recorded video, thanking Dexter’s fans for him now being recognized on the street as a psychopath.
Carpenter said that her new character change in season eight felt like being a stunt car driver, being so far removed from her real self. Zayas congratulated the fans for being so invested in the characters. It feels like home for him when people come up to him and recognize him. King is blown away by the public reaction he gets, despite the fact that his character has been dead for the last few seasons. Garcia felt honored to be able to explore her character’s ‘naked side’ over the past couple years. Harrington is blown away by Hall’s work ethic, at one time feeling he had to “straighten up or be out of work” just to meet Hall’s expectations. Strahovski hinted that her character will return to seek vengeance on Dexter.
Q & A began with a question to Hall if he had any rituals to get into character. He said putting on the kill suit was a good ritual, but it’s an environment where everyone on the cast and crew is doing their job to help everyone else get into character, so it feels like second nature by now, and it’s much harder to get out of character at this point. Hall said that Charlotte Rampling (Dr. Vogel) is so mesmerizing to work with. Colleton said Rampling was their first choice for the role, they took a chance in asking her to participate, and luckily she said yes. Coto was asked how the writers build so much tension in the show, to which he said the tension comes from getting inside the characters heads. Phillips mentioned that Dexter Morgan was voted one of the 101 best characters in the history of television by TV Guide.
Aimee Garcia showed her geek side by admitting her love for Japanese animation, while Hall said he felt Dexter was a chance to portray his take on an Incredible Hulk-type of split personality. Zayas said the crew likes to blow off steam sometimes by playing football with a prop dismembered foot on the set. Velez appreciated the opus of her role on the show having and chance to get a great finish to her character. Carpenter felt morally conflicted about the fact that her character has to defend Dexter, yet sometimes wants to kill him.
Hall felt fortunate to be attached to two successful TV shows (Dexter, Six Feet Under) during a golden renaissance in television. A fan asked if Dexter is an unreliable narrator or does he really believe he’s a pure psychopath. Hall said the lines will get blurred as the season (and series) concludes. Carpenter said she feels Deb still feels like she wants to die, but admits sometimes she wants the writers to write her is a scene where she’s ‘normal’ again. Benz said that she had to go through a mourning process to deal with Rita’s death, because it was so sudden and it affected her on a deep level.
Someone asked how far ahead do the actors know what’s coming, to which King said he knew at the head of the season that Doakes was going to die, to which he appreciated the writer’s having that kind of trust in him. Velez said she knew before Maria was promoted to captain, but still was surprised and didn’t know how to deal with the loss. Harrington noted that Quinn is still alive, despite many thinking he wouldn’t last past a season.
The panel was asked what part of the set they’d be taking with them. Hall said Dexter’s watch, his lanyard, and a nine-foot portion of the railing outside his apartment. Garcia took Jamie’s necklace. Harrington took all the gold jewelry Quinn wears. Strahovski took the black orchid. Carpenter said she took “a lot, bags of stuff.” Zayas kept some of Angel’s wardrobe, particularly the Cuban shirts.
The panel ended by expressing their final goodbyes and appreciation to their fans and the Comic-Con audience for the last eight years.
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