SPOILER ALERT: The interview below reveals Showtime’s top stories. Dexter: new blood final.
When Clyde Phillips met with Michael C. Hall about his return to the role of Dexter Morgan in what would become Dexter: new blood, he already knew that the serial killer’s life would end.
Hall signed up without hesitation.
Fans of the hit Showtime series Right handed, which ran from 2006 to 2013 over 8 seasons, rejoined the former Miami Subway blood spatter analyst – now known by the alias Jim Lindsay – who enthusiastically tuned in to watch his latest adventure unfold. And while that journey has come to an end with his shocking death, the beloved franchise can continue to expand with a little help from his progeny, Harrison Morgan (Jack Alcott).
Phillips spoke with Deadline about whether death was the only conclusion on the table for Dexter, the status of a possible sequel, and what happens to boss Angela Bishop (Julia Jones) after the show ends.
DEADLINE: Did Dexter have to die at the end of New Blood or did you have other ideas?
CLYDE PHILLIPS: Yes. We knew this had to happen, and I think it had to happen for both the audience and the character. Seeing him get caught over and over and out of it over and over is a disservice to the audience. And I think there is a certain truth in this narrative, in the authenticity in the narrative.
So when I first went to talk to Michael, it was about two and a half years ago, in early July 2019, I shared my ideas with him. We met after I got a call from Showtime president Gary Levine, who told me they were interested in reviewing this. Michael gave me a big hug and said, “I’m in.” I knew how this would end.
How do you feel that New Blood completed Dexter’s story?
How often does a show get to make a second ending? I think the answer is never. With the bad taste in our mouths that the original ending left on everyone’s lips, we had this unique opportunity to redeem the show and give the audience the respect it deserves, the authenticity it deserves, and the gratitude for staying with us. The numbers have skyrocketed for Showtime, I think we are their no. 1 active. I am so honored by that.
Knowing how strong fans feel about this series, there will be some who will hate the finality that Dexter’s death will bring. What do you say to that?
Well, it’s interesting. You should know that I stalk a lot on social networks. Maybe I have too much free time? [Laughs] But everyone has a different opinion. Some people say that the season 8 finale was great. Some people said that it is the worst thing they have ever seen. Some people have guessed exactly what is going to happen. Some people think that Harrison is not really Harrison and that the person we see killed the real Harrison. Some people think Harrison killed Hannah [Yvonne Strahovski]. There has to be a panoply of opinions. So I can’t take it personally. We are prepared for anything.
Dexter is shot by Harrison and is bleeding to death, but the viewer does not see that he is definitely dead. Can you confirm so that there is no doubt?
I have three words for you: Dexter is dead. He wouldn’t do that to the audience. It would be dishonest. Here, there is no doubt that this is the end of Right handed. Dexter is dead.
Harrison shared parts of his life on New Blood, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about him. Do you want to tell more next?
As I mentioned, this program is a huge bonus. When people start bingeing after the final, I’m sure the numbers will keep going up. It’s up to Showtime to call me if they want more. If you ask me if I would like to do a continuation of this, I would say yes. I have a lot going on, but I would drop everything for this and say yes in a second.
What would a continuation look like?
Harrison is such a complicated character and has within him the seeds of the dark passenger. He is capable. Look at that takedown of Dexter at the end, the thing about Harrison is that he has to kill this man.
Also, Harrison brings a different perspective to vigilantism in everything Dexter did, which was a bit of a surprise to Dexter. He brings that youthful, optimistic innocence that he and his father are basically Batman and Robin. Think every time we take out one of these baddies, how many lives are we saving, that this bad person is not going to kill. Dexter never thought of that. Dexter was only taking out the bad guys because that was his code.
Harrison helps Dexter realize that he has become the evil he wanted to rid the world of. How does that help Dexter accept his fate?
Yes. It helps him see that he is a villain. When Harrison yells at Dexter and says, “Open your eyes and see what you’ve done.” He has those flashbacks of all the innocent people who died because of him like Doakes (Erik King), Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) and LaGuerta (Luna Lauren Velez). People who, if Dexter weren’t who he is, he’d still be alive. Basically, you are talking to an addict.
Harrison could have done several things. And Dexter was going to get shot in the front or back.
When Dexter says, “I’ve never felt real love until now,” it’s a breakthrough. Remember when he tells Deb in season two that if he were capable of love, she would be the one. But now he is capable of loving. She was his stepsister, this is his son. It is a real awakening for him. He gives Harrison permission and tells him where to shoot him. With his last breath after being shot, he says, “You did well.” It’s acquittal for what Harrison has done.
And Deb is there.
Yes. Originally, he had written that scene to show Dexter pushing Deb’s hand away. But Jennifer said while we were filming, “What if I take my hand away and let it go?” That is what we end up using. It was much more powerful.
What can you joke about Angela and Harrison’s lives after the episode ends?
With Harrison, we don’t know. But with Angela, if you remember, call a shootout involving an officer. She will say that she had to get Dexter out because there is a lot of evidence that she murdered Logan (Alano Miller) and because Dexter is the Bay Harbor butcher. And Dexter probably killed Matt (Steve M. Robertson), though she’s not sure she can prove it.
I think Angela’s decision to let Harrison go was born out of the horror she had just witnessed. His whole life has been this missing persons board and now all these women are dead. She needed humanity and perhaps the maternal instinct to take over justice, just this one moment of grace.
We know that the FBI, the ITUC and all these people will come to the city and she will have to deal with all of that. He will have to talk about Dexter and he will have to talk about Logan. He’s probably going to lie and say that he had to kill Dexter in self-defense.
Let’s not forget that this was her lover. She trusted this guy and he could have been another victim.
Dexter: new blood it’s available to stream in its entirety through the Showtime app now.