‘Dexter’ star hopes to get away from dead bodies

  • By David Bauder Associated Press
  • Thursday, September 19, 2013 3:34pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Dexter Morgan’s life seemed well-ordered at first glance, including the serial killer thing. That turned out to be unsustainable.

As “Dexter” reaches its finale, to air on Showtime at 9 p.m. Sunday, the character portrayed by actor Michael C. Hall is no longer strictly ruled by the code set down by his adoptive father upon noticing his son craved killing.

Dexter was told only to murder people who are proven killers themselves and likely to kill again, and to thoroughly cover his tracks.

The narrative device made it possible for viewers to tolerate, even like, someone who did reprehensible things.

“He’s so far from anything I experienced him to be at the beginning,” Hall said, a few weeks after filming the 96th and final episode of the series that began in 2006.

“He’s the same character, but he’s in many ways a different person,” Hall said. “He had successfully compartmentalized efficient killing and convinced himself that he is, in fact, incapable of authentic human emotion when we first met him. But that all falls apart, slowly but surely.”

Without the writers providing challenges, “Dexter” ran the risk of becoming an unimaginative murder-of-the-week procedural. Dexter’s boundaries were most severely tested at the end of the fourth season when his wife, Rita, was killed and in season six when his half-sister, Debra (real life ex-wife Jennifer Carpenter), saw him knifing someone in the chest.

He can appreciate people who say they like his work in “Dexter.” People who say they like Dexter is something else entirely, although Hall has his theories about those fans.

“We live in a world where we have an increasing sense that we’re not in control … and Dexter, in his micro way, controls his universe and that is very appealing to some people,” he said.

“We all have a sense of injustice in the world, and Dexter is certainly exacting some form of justice within the confines of his own.”

Of course, he said, “maybe it’s not that deep. Maybe people have murderous impulses they don’t act upon and enjoy watching somebody who gets away with it.”

“Dexter” is going out strong. Ratings are higher during the current eighth and last season than they’ve ever been.

The series was pivotal to Showtime’s development, said Matthew Blank, the network’s chief executive.

“It really felt like this is what Showtime should be,” he said.

Showtime will look for ways to keep the character alive even after “Dexter” ends, Blank said. He wasn’t clear on how that would happen.

Hall, 42, is measured in how he makes sure to say nothing revealing in advance about the finale (“Some people will be happy with it, some people will be troubled by it,” he said. “Perhaps some people will be a combination of those things.”)

He will miss certain things about playing Dexter. The character was decisive and didn’t hesitate to take action. He’s looking forward to portraying people whose emotions are not stunted or buried.

Extreme emotional control was similarly a hallmark of David Fisher, the sexually conflicted funeral director that Hall played in the early 2000s on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.”

Projects that aren’t open-ended like a TV series are interesting to him now. He was very active onstage before joining “Six Feet Under.” He’s filmed roles in two movies that aren’t big stretches from past characters: a manipulative, gay janitor who gets murdered in “Kill Your Darlings” and a man who shoots and kills an intruder in “Cold in July.”

Hall jokes that he can’t seem to get away from dead bodies, professionally speaking.

“I don’t think I’m anybody’s first thought when it comes to romantic comedy,” he said. “That might be a door I’ll have to do some kicking to break down.”

Watch it

The final episode of “Dexter” airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on Showtime.

More in Life

Secret garden: Privacy trees that won’t outgrow a small space

These plants offer some height to block out unwanted sights without taking over your yard.

‘Young Sheldon’ was born out of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The hit TV show about Sheldon Cooper now has a spinoff series about him when he was a kid genius.

Reminder: Historic Everett’s self-guided home tour is today

The featured home depicted in the tour poster painting by Everett artist Elizabeth Person.

Home and Garden calendar for Snohomish County and beyond

Seattle Home Show 2: The fall version of the oldest and largest… Continue reading

Great Plant Pick: Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This red-foliaged switch grass makes a good specimen but also creates a bold statement in a drift.

Plant these late bloomers to brighten up your shade garden

In this follow-up to a column on sunny borders, Steve Smith lists flowers to liven up a dark yard.

Do you know the joke about a set of special-order dishes?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A black-and-white design for colorful plates was sent to China…

Megyn Kelly hopes for a Trump-free zone with new daily show

She says her morning talk show, which debuts Monday on NBC, will not focus on politics.

Beer of the Week: 5 Rights Brewing’s Fresh hop imperial IPA

The Marysville brewery named its beer Wobbly the Laborer after the Industrial Workers of the World.

Most Read