One of the more maddening aspects of the series finale of Dexter — BESIDES LUMBERJACK DEXTER — was the fact that this guy, who had gotten away with countless murders over the course of eight seasons (occasionally even of people that didn’t meet Harry’s Code) actually f#*$%ing survived. Not only did Dexter survive, but his sister — who actually had some moral compunction — died in one of the more least dignified ways. In Breaking Bad terms, this is like killing Jesse Pinkman and letting Walter White live. AS A LUMBERJACK.
Well, now we have a slightly better understanding of why Dexter survived.
According to John Goldwyn, a producer of Showtime’s biggest series of all time, the network wouldn’t let the writers kill the main character. From Vulture:
“They won’t let us kill him. Showtime was very clear about that. When we told them the arc for the last season, they just said, ‘Just to be clear, he’s going to live.’ There were a lot of endings discussed because it was a very interesting problem to solve, to bring it to a close. People have a relationship with Dexter, even if it doesn’t have the size and the ferocity of the fan base for Breaking Bad. But it has a very core loyal following.”
Here again is just another example of why Showtime is often the NBC of premium cable networks. When Dexter’s original showrunner, Clyde Phillips, was talking about how crap the final season was, he noted that Dexter was basically a collaboration between the writers and network suits, who should not have any say in the creative direction of the show. Likewise, Damian Lewis has also noted that, the only reason his Homeland character is still alive is because the network insisted on it. That’s a lot of meddling, which is basically the opposite of what we hear about FX, HBO, and AMC, which allow their showrunners more creative freedom.
But I wonder, why? Why would Showtime not want to kill off Dexter? Is it because they want to keep open the possibility of a return? They have discussed, at length, a Dexter spin-off, and if that happens, does the network want the audience to believe that Michael C. Hall could show up at any time? It doesn’t make sense to me, otherwise. I’m sure that, if Showtime has its way, Dexter will be around, in some form, for years to come.