Those of us who continued to watch Showtime’s Dexter well into its unremarkable, disappointing final season (back in 2013) all knew — as soon as Dexter showed up in Alaska as a lumberjack — that it was only a matter of time before the network brought it back. The biggest surprise here is not that Showtime is reviving Dexter as a limited series, but that it took this long.
The best news of all, however, is that — though we didn’t necessarily ask for its return — at least it is the show’s original showrunner, Clyde Phillips, who is resurrecting the series. Phillips ran the show for its first four seasons, and while Seasons 2 and 3 were not perfect, the series fell off a cliff after Phillips left, ending its run with Scott Buck as showrunner, and all that need be said about Scott Buck is that his next two shows were Inhumans and Iron Fist. In other words, his work on Dexter was not an aberration.
Knowing that Phillips is returning, we can also assume, then, that the revival will make logical sense (unlike that final season). That means we can expect Phillips to right some wrongs, and before we get to those wrongs, let me just quickly remind you how the original series ended: Debra dies in spectacularly anticlimactic fashion when she is shot by a serial killer and survives it, only to succumb to a massive stroke and fall into a coma. Before she dies, Debra confesses her love to Quinn (a terrible character by the end of the series), and it is Dexter who removes Debra from life support as a hurricane is bearing down on them. Meanwhile, Dexter’s on-again, off-again serial-killer girlfriend, Hannah, takes Dexter’s son, Harrison, and flees to Argentina, while Dexter takes a boat out into the sea in the midst of a hurricane. The waves should have killed Dexter, but instead, he relocates to Alaska and starts his life over again as a lumberjack.
With that in mind, there are three things that hardcore fans of Dexter probably insist upon fairly unanimously:
(1) Notwithstanding the ridiculous incestuous storyline between adopted brother and sister Dexter and Debra (all the weirder because Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter were going through a divorce in real life at the time), Debra obviously must return to the series. However, because Debra is dead, and because Clyde Phillips is smart enough not to try and put that toothpaste back in the tube, the only way to make that happen is for Debra to be Dexter’s dark passenger, the devil on his shoulder telling him what to do. She would be very well suited to that role.
(2) That brings us to the second thing that needs to happen: Hannah has to die. In fact, this can even be the main storyline. She continues to kill people, putting Harrison’s life in danger (or doing something that gets Harrison killed), and Dexter returns to avenge Harrison’s death. This works well with Debra as his dark passenger, because no one hated Hannah more than Debra (who was once poisoned by Hannah). She’ll be happy to encourage Dexter to kill Hannah, although I’m sure that Dexter will continue to wrestle with his sexual feelings toward her (Hannah was a terrible character, but Yvonne Strahovski, who played her, was terrific, and I’d love to see her return if she can schedule around Handmaid’s Tale).
(3) Meanwhile, the biggest mistake that Clyde Phillips must clean up is this: the revival must remain a limited series, and Dexter must be caught or killed. If they want to revive it again in a decade with Harrison (who would be in his early 20s by then), that’s fine. But Dexter must die. That was the single biggest problem with the way that the original series ended. Dexter had a code: yes, he was a serial-killing vigilante, but he only killed bad people. By the end of the series, he’d broken that code more than a few times, and by then, he deserved to be captured or killed. We wanted to see justice brought to Dexter.
Now, if they want to capture Dexter and bring the series back in the future with him as a sort of Hannibal Lector type character who helps the cops capture other serial killers, I’d be fine with that. But Dexter must finally face some consequences for all his ill actions. The blood slides must be found. There needs to be a manhunt, and he needs to be arrested and/or killed. If Masuka arrests and/or kills him, all the better!
That’s it. That’s all we ask: Debra needs to be Dexter’s Dark Passenger, Hannah must die, and we need to close the book on Dexter as a serial killer, either by arresting him or killing him. Don’t let us down, Showtime.