At this point, it’s difficult to remember that, once upon a time, Showtime’s Dexter was an excellent TV drama. In its first few seasons, the gruesome and tonally varied series, starring Michael C. Hall as a serial killer with a somewhat admirable moral code, was one of television's best character studies; futthermore, in its fourth season, Dexter was all-around spectacular, featuring one of the small screen’s all-time great villains, the Trinity Killer (played by John Lithgow).
It’s tough to recall those better days, though, since Dexter jumped multiple Godzilla-sized sharks throughout its final three seasons. And, cringe, it ultimately wrapped up in what will remain one of the worst final TV seasons ever—by, yes, turning Dexter Morgan into a bearded, lonely lumberjack. (That still feels ridiculous to say and type, let alone believe actually happened.)
Hall himself, it turns out, shares some of the audience’s disappointment over how Dexter concluded. In an interview with IGN, the actor, while promoting his superb new indie thriller Cold in July (seriously, everyone needs to see it this weekend), discussed the show’s final season quite candidly. If you, like millions of other reasonable Dexter viewers, still think the character should be dead, or at least in prison (since, you know, he murdered countless people over eight seasons’ worth of TV), you’re about to like Michael C. Hall a whole lot more.
"You know, Dexter morphed. It was a many-headed creative monster, and certain heads were lopped off halfway through the life of the show. It was difficult to maintain a cohesive narrative in many ways, but primarily, in terms of the conception of the character, once he started to move into murkier, blurrier, more human territory, it became a very difficult thing to wrap my head around. But in the end, I think Dexter was always a pragmatist and, well, self-centered. I think it was his version of selflessness upon recognition that anyone close to him was going to be destroyed if he continued to indulge in intimate relationships… I honestly find it to be a pretty dark ending, and I think it upset a lot of people. Certainly, the shakiness of certain aspects of the eighth season maybe made that ending less palatable to people. I don't think people were ready to be told that, because they were already feeling a sense of ambivalence for the show. But the idea that he imprisons himself in a prison of his own making I think is fitting [for the character].”
“It's tricky. Sometimes I wish he'd offed himself, wish he'd died, wish Deb had shot him in that train compartment—of course, that would have made an eighth season difficult to do.”
Which, of course, would have been so much better for all of us. Because, lumberjack.