[WARNING: This article contains major SPOILERS from seasons 1-4 of Dexter. If you’re not caught up till the end of season 4 then stop reading now. You have been warned!]

If, like me, you’re a big fan of Showtime’s serial killer drama Dexter, you’re probably still recovering from the brutal and shocking way season 4 ended late last year.

Just when Dexter finally “got his man” and killed the sinister and masterful Trinity Killer (played magnificently by John Lithgow) he arrived home to find his beloved wife, Rita, dead in a bathtub full of blood and their young son, Harrison, sitting in a pool of blood on the floor next to her, just like Dexter had been when he was a child.

It was truly a shocking conclusion to arguably Dexter‘s finest season yet. But where do you go from there? How do you top the Trinity Killer and one of the show’s main-stay characters being killed off? Well, EW recently spoke to exec producer of the show, Sara Colleton, before PaleyFest a couple of nights ago and she gave some hints as to what us eager Dexter fans can expect from the highly anticipated season 5.

[Further SPOILER warning for anyone wanting to stay completely in the dark about season 5. They’re not really spoilers but more just hints at the general things they’re thinking about doing next season]

First up, Colleton revealed that they won’t be jumping forward several years in time – they’ll be picking up pretty much where the last season left off:

“We have spent the last month sitting around, talking and really debating how best to deal with the aftermath of [Rita’s death]. We uniformly decided that we don’t want to jump ahead. We need to see Dexter go through the process that we’d all have to go through if such a horrible thing had happened to us. We need to see him doing everything from the big emotional things like grieving the loss, to the mundane things like arranging a funeral, getting the kids dressed, and all the other things that are usually done for men because their wives or mothers do them. They have no idea how to handle all of these things. As we saw, Rita was really the caretaker of their baby. It would be cheating the audience of their catharsis to not see Dexter go through that mourning period and see how it affects him or to not see him dealing with the blowback of what he essentially caused. So we will not jump to Harrison as a 5 year old yet.”

I’m glad to hear that. Colleton is right in saying that it would sort of cheat the audience if they didn’t show Dexter immediately dealing with losing Rita head on. He dishes out death as a way of life and so to see him having to deal with the other side of that – of losing something close to him – is really interesting.

As to the question of just how the heck you follow up Lithgow’s Trinity Killer, it looks like the show isn’t going to try to in the next season:

“John Lithgow is a tough act to follow. If there was ever a year that we could take a step back from the Big Bad formula and go deeper into Dexter and his psychology, this would be that year. That said, Dexter has a dark passenger that won’t go away no matter how much he yearns to be normal. That rears up and needs to be dealt with. He may even dive deeper after this traumatic loss of Rita.”

“We are working on a way that feels original and fresh and unique to what he has just gone through. It cannot be the way it has been before. In [Season 1], he was terrified of any kind of intimacy because intimacy equaled being discovered. Then he slowly realized he had a need to be known and he set up a family and tried the best he could to balance it all. And now, he sees what being known brings him and he had it ripped out from underneath him suddenly and that will have some affect on him.”

Dexter vs. Trinity - How do you follow that killer face off?

I’m glad to see they’re trying to take the show in a new direction, or at least not just retreading old ground. We’ve had the “other killer” for Dexter to face-off against in both season 1 and season 4 (season 3 to some extent as well) so to see them concentrate more on Dexter’s psychology is a good way to go in my eyes (although I’m sure they’ll try and bring in another enemy of sorts if there’s a season 6).

Colleton also talked about the fact that Dexter probably won’t have another love interest next season. After losing Rita that’s entirely understandable:

“Anything is possible, but I don’t think Dexter will be in the mood for dating or love anytime soon. That’s not even on our radar right now. He very much loved Rita and they were in a good place right before she was killed so that wound will take quite some time to heal.”

Anyone else placing bets that Rita will show up in Dexter’s imagination like his father always does? Seems a good way to keep the actress who plays her, Julie Benz, on the show in some capacity.

That’s it for the Dexter season 5 hints for the time being. But for those wondering how Dexter himself, Michael C. Hall, is doing with regards to his battle with cancer, you’ll be glad to know he’s in full remission and he’s getting his energy back. Colleton says the show will definitely go on without production needing to be halted for Hall to recover (he was filming season 4 while he was receiving cancer treatment, FYI).

Thoughts on what’s been hinted at for season 5 of Dexter? Are you happy with the direction they’re thinking about going?

Dexter season 5 is set to start shooting in April or May this year, and is slated to start airing on Showtime in September (all as usual).

Source: EW (The Ausiello Files)