Dexter at TCAs: Will Season 7 Atone for Season 6? The Cast and Crew Say "Yes"

By Price Peterson

Jul 31, 2012

Note to self: Describing Season 6 as Dexter's "sixth best" to the cast and crew of Showtime's long-running serial killer drama is probably not the best way to ingratiate yourself to them. But the fact remains: Season 6 was divisive to say the least and those who may have been turned off by it might be curious as to whether Season 7 will continue in that vein or depart into new (better) waters. Well, regardless of how that pans out, the cast and crew of Dexter are indeed enthusiastic about the possibilities of the new season.

At today's Television Critics' Association session, star and producer Michael C. Hall described it this way: "This season feels as genuinely formed by everything that's come before it as anything we've done. There's a feeling of arrival. That we've earned this arrival in this new landscape. In a lot of ways it feels as rich as it ever has." Specifically Dexter's Season 7 mindset (after Deb's discovery of his true calling) presents a particular thrill for Hall: "It is without a doubt the most fundamentally game-changing development as we've had since we started telling this story. One of the things we've always been able to count on is that Dexter's secret is his own. And it's not anymore. It's been so invigorating to play these scenes, to be so preoccupied in a way that Dexter's never been preoccupied. To be in a seventh season of a show, to have that genuine sense, is pretty remarkable."

For her part, Jennifer Carpenter is able to channel her nervousness at handling such a revelation into the actual anxiety Deb must be feeling. "I have been looking forward to [this twist.] I've been very curious about how they would write it. And also terrified about it. It's perfect. All the anxiety I'm feeling is exactly what Debra would be feeling." But another benefit to Deb's discovery is the far-ranging effect it has on the series as a whole. As Hall puts it, "I think Deb finding out does sort of make an endgame feel a little more palpable and imminent." When asked for a definitive answer on whether that endgame will be at the end of Season 8, Hall answered, "I think the plan is to do this season and a final eighth season to really tell this story of the two of them negotiating their relationship in this new landscape requires about that much time. So yeah, it feels right."

"Can I add 'dangerous?'" Carpenter jumps in. "It's very dangerous this year."

But back to my question—phrased politely, I assure you—of whether the producers would give any kind of acknowledgment that Season 7 had room for improvement? In short, nope! Producer Sara Colleton insisted that Deb discovering Dexter's Dark Passenger via happenstance—as opposed to common sense or basic detective instinct—was the perfect character choice. "I think we handled it, for our show, perfectly. [Deb's discovery] felt very active and very much our show." Producer Scott Buck even went so far as to suggest that the very obvious reveal as to imaginary nature of Edward James Olmos' villain was not a big deal. "It was never intended to be this big season-changing twist that the season was hinged on." But he did admit that in the future they'd consider doing a better job of keeping the secret a secret. "If we were to have this big secret in the future we would be a lot more careful about it in the future, sure."

As one might imagine, it's hard to phrase the question "Will next season be better?" But despite qualifying it with the fact that Season 6 had a number of incredible performances, the question still provoked an array of uncomfortable responses. Colleton was blunt: Season 7 has all the same writers, so no, nothing in that regard would be different. Hall did at least offer an incentive for viewers whose passion for the show may have cooled during Season 6: "Dexter is never more compelling than when he's in danger. And he's never been in deeper trouble than he is now."

The most emotional response, however, came from Carpenter, who mulled my question over and came back to it after the conversation had moved on. Pointing me out in the crowd, she said, "If you had asked that question before we'd shot a frame of this season, that would've hurt my feelings. But I know we're doing amazing things right now and I'm excited for you to see that."


Dexter returns Sunday, September 30 at 9pm on Showtime.

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  • itsmemadie01 Sep 05, 2012

    I'm not so thrilled about season 6, quite disappointment to say since season 5 is good but I'm very hopeful with season 7 because of new developments like Deb knows and she will have her own struggles. I cannot argue of course that season 1&2 are great but I have learn to accept that even in TV shows evolve.

  • Togana Aug 17, 2012

    Every time a new season come out, there's always ppl complaining about it. You can't please everyone and a lot of ppl seem to have their own ideas of how a show should play out and when it doesn't they get disappointed. I just sit back and watch. I don't really read spoilers too much, I'd rather just see what the show delivers without preconceived notions.

  • Togana Aug 17, 2012

    I loved season six. I have yet to be disappointed by a season of Dexter. the ONLY thing i didn't care for was that Deb was falling for Dexter romantically. I know they're not biological Bro and Sis, but still. I don't need to see that crap.

  • Hariboctane Oct 02, 2012

    Yeah, I've liked every season except the one with dexter's brunette mistress (season two?). I liked season six even if I didn't like Colin hanks, and maybe that because I was actually surprised by the fact that Gellar wasn't real. I don't get how people figured it out so early. And as to the Deb/Dexter plot, I guess I wasn't paying attention enough to see it coming, but that episode was the exact one that I finally got my sister to sit down for, so gawdamnit. It just seemed like it added some weirdness that wouldn't be there in real life.

  • MichelleAdamc Aug 04, 2012

    My only problem with season 6 was this......not enough Vince Masuka in it. Need to see more Vince before the series ends

  • Hariboctane Oct 02, 2012

    Absolutely. The skeezy outsider on a show is always the best. He's like the wizard in ugly americans.

  • ursinism Aug 04, 2012

    I still love this show. It's the one that makes me have all these feelings together. It goes into my mind and they way the play with it it's just incredible. Makes me feel plaeasure, guilt, fear, happiness and many more. M. C. Hall's performance is always so deep... let alone Jennifer Carpenter (I can't understand why is she never even nominated for big awards). I think it's being taken superficially and forgetting about that this is a journey about the mind of a person fighting with himself over and over.

  • MarkFromOregon Aug 03, 2012

    I'll keep watching until the end, but as many have said, the show is not as strong as it used to be. I remember being absolutely blown away by seasons 1 & 2. This was one of the best shows on tv, period. Season 3 was pretty good, and season 4 was really, really good. Season 5 was a bit of a dud. My least favorite season. Season six was decent, but certainly not great. One thing i remember thinking while watching season 6: Wow, this really isn't suspenseful. Not like the earlier seasons.

  • Grazzy Aug 01, 2012

    Honestly, my confidence in this show getting back on track is pretty shaky right now. I'll give season 7 the three-episode trial (the way I do with the new series) and that's it. I actually fear for the worst: they've kept the same writing team (blargh!). I loved the part when the producer said that the big reveal of Professor Gellar wasn't no biggie at all! Sorry? Come again? So why did you people spend 8 episodes or so on it?? What a lame excuse!! Apart from that and Debra catching Dexter in the act, there was nothing else in that season. Please don't insult us! We've been insulted enough!

  • Shreela Aug 03, 2012

    This!

  • Muderboy Aug 01, 2012

    If you people love Dexter you should download - legally of course - an English show called Luther. It makes Dexter seem tame and is the darkest show I've ever seen. There are only 10 episodes but oh what a ride...

  • Shreela Aug 03, 2012

    Yes, Luther was a deliciously dark mind-frack.

  • vivyrox Aug 01, 2012

    Season 4 with John Lithgow was definitely the peak for me.....I compare every new season with season four and it always comes out lacking.....let's see what this new season will bring, but I'm not sure if I can take the fact that Deb's decided she's in love with Dex and now she gets to see his dark passenger....it's too wierd....

  • AliKhansari Aug 01, 2012

    I loved season 4 very very much, seasons 3,5 & 2 were amazing then comes the first season & season 6 was the weakest but it wasn't that bad either! I just wish two last seasons be as good as 4th season!

  • Muderboy Aug 01, 2012

    Seasons 1 & 2 were clearly the best...

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