The following post contains MILD SPOILERS for Dexter season 8 (as well as MAJOR SPOILERS for seasons 1 – 7). If you are not caught-up on the show or are sensitive to potential spoilers proceed with caution!

Less than one month remains before Dexter returns to Showtime for its eighth season and the cable network has been kept very busy promoting the highly-anticipated final chapter of the Bay Harbor Butcher story. In addition to introducing new cast members with very important roles this season, Dexter season 8 will also tie-up loose ends and character arcs that the showrunners have been planning for over two years. Anyone who has been following the series for the last couple seasons will remember that the Dexter writers and producers set an end date for the series – initiating long-term arcs that stretch back into season 6.

Now, with only 12 episode of the show left to go, we’ve got new details on where the story will pick-up (following the shocking events of the season 7 finale) as well as how the final Dexter Morgan story will tie all the way back to the character’s humble serial killer beginnings.

The EW report casually mentions a lot of interesting elements that have yet to be fully revealed in the trailers and featurettes that Showtime has already released. While it was clear in the first official season 8 clip, featuring a confrontation between Dexter and Debra, that time had passed – we now know it’s been a full six months since the events of the season 7 finale. In that time, Debra has left the Miami Metro force to work for private eye Jacob Elroy (played by Sean Patrick Flanery) – and is debilitated by guilt over her choice to protect Dexter by killing Captain María LaGuerta in cold blood. Previous trailers and marketing materials have proven the two are not on good terms and that Debra’s regret (and subsequent self-destruction) could result in serious implications for Dexter’s serial-killer lifestyle.

For months, we’ve also pored over the character Dr. Evelyn Vogel (played by Charlotte Rampling), who joins the cast as a neuropsychiatrist. Recent behind-the-scenes videos have shown that Vogel is brought into the Miami Metro fold to help investigate new “Big Bad” The Brain Surgeon (known for removing a piece of each victims’ brain). Still, the EW report goes one step further – revealing that not only is Vogel in Miami to help find The Brain Surgeon, she also has ties to Dexter’s past – and is actually the person responsible for helping Harry Morgan design “The Code” that would help Dexter control his deadly urges.

The report also mentions the return of Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski), which was previously confirmed by the actress, though it remains unclear if the former love-interest will be friend or foe this time. Could Hannah be the one to finally put Dexter down? Rampling recently stated that fans will be “very bereaved at the end” – suggesting that a Dexter (or Debra) Morgan death might be a very real possibility. However, nothing is certain, given that we still have twelve episodes left – leaving plenty of time to watch the drama unfold.

Still, the Dexter filmmakers claim that the wait will be worth it. Promising a satisfying conclusion to the series’ story, showrunner Scott Buck said, “It feels like the exact ending we should be doing. Ideally it will make our audience sit back and see Dexter a little more clearly than before. It should absolutely make sense to everybody watching it.

Similarly, executive producer Sara Colleton stated that the purpose of the finale is to complete the story – not leave the audience shocked (and confused), “It won’t feel like a ‘What the f- – -?’ We know we have the right ending, we just have to execute it correctly. There’s no emotional investments that aren’t going to be resolved.

Let us know how you think the final season of Dexter should be “resolved” by voting in our poll below:

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Dexter season 8 premieres on Showtime on June 30th, 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Dexter as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: EW