Dexter: Season Finale Questions Answered

Published 5 years ago by

dexter finale logo1 Dexter: Season Finale Questions Answered

[Be Sure to read our Season 4 Finale Review & Discussion Post First!!!]

Wow, I knew last night’s season finale of Dexter was controversial, but I didn’t know it was going to be this controversial. The comments in the review & discussion have been going crazy since the show ended. Hopefully, with executive producer Clyde Phillips stepping in, it will help answer some fan questions regarding what may or may not have happened.

While talking with Entertainment Weekly‘s Michael Ausiello, Phillips lays it all out.


Is Rita really dead?

Is Trinity really dead?
Yes. Cut up and drifting in the Gulf Stream.

Did Trinity kill Rita?
Yes he did. That’s partly what he meant when he said: “It’s already over.”

Well, there you have it. Straight and to the point. While I may have screwed up some of the spoilers and myth debunking, most of them were correct and the “it’s not a dream” aspect was one of them. Still, I know Dexter fans, and a few yes or no answers aren’t going to be enough to keep the masses quite. So, here’s some insight behind the finale and decision of Rita’s fate.

When was the decision made to kill off Rita?
I would say we made the decision pretty late in the season. We didn’t quite know what we were going to do [in the finale].

Why Rita?
The story evolved and it kind of became inevitable. We knew that we had to do more than kill Trinity. It’s a little bit of a corner that we paint ourselves into. Last year we tried to avoid that and actually I think we didn’t do as well as we could have. We killed off Jimmy Smits’ character [in the 11th episode] of 12 episodes and then we had to figure out what we were going to do in the 12th episode. This season, we knew that we were going to take Trinity out in the 12th episode and we think that the audience knew that, too. We had to raise the bar to as high as possible and then figure out what to do next year.

Might she return as a ghost like Dex’s dad?
The answer, at the moment, is no. However, had you asked me two years ago if Lundy was coming back I would’ve said no. We didn’t know he was coming back until this year. It just seemed expedient to the story — to Dexter’s story and to Deb’s story.

Will next season be about Dexter juggling serial killing and single fatherhood?
He is a single father. But, beyond that, we don’t know. We don’t know if there’s going to be what we call “a Big Bad,” like Jimmy Smits and John Lithgow, or if it’s going to be more individual, stand-alone stories.

I understand you wrote two endings to throw people off. What was the other ending?
While Dexter was packing to leave, he saw on the television that a child murderer had just escaped from prison. Either escaped or fallen thru the cracks. So he’s thinking, “Do I join Rita on vacation or do I…” and then he looks towards the camera and he has this big decision.

I don’t know whether the bigger shock is that Rita’s dead or that people were actually thrown off by the “other ending.” I would have been disappointed if that was the ending of an episode of CSI: Miami with Horatio Caine pulling off his sunglasses and The Who “YEAAHH!!” playing in the background, let alone Dexter.

dexter phone Dexter: Season Finale Questions Answered

Have these notes from Phillips answered all your questions or do you have more? If so, let’s hear them because I was more or less content with the episode, but you, the fans, have stirred up all these questions in my head… and I don’t like questions in my head.

Source: The Ausiello Files

TAGS: Dexter
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  1. My problem is that I just can’t wait for the next season. The last few episodes had me on the edge of my seat.

  2. For me the only future i see for the show is the fall of dexter!

  3. I agree with Mr. Milkfromacow. From the sound of it, it seems they did make it up as they went along. They seriously don’t have a plan for Dexter’s life after the death of his wife? Killing off a character this important has to lead in to something significant. The show is huge now and it doesn’t really sound like they’re taking it seriously. Next season better not be random stand alone episode plots. The 4th season kept me going because every episode plot was crucial for the next.

    The show has been amazing for the past 4 seasons so I guess they know what their doing. I’ll just have to trust them, even after such a daring move.

  4. It seems like there’s no place to go but down. Dexter’s character development and emotional progress stops here, does an about face, and totally regresses. I’m mourning Rita, and the death of my favorite show.

  5. @MilkFromACow – I doubt that much of what he said was true. The story wasn’t really written that way as John Lithgow has known since pretty much the beginning what was going to happen to Rita. The only major thing that they toyed with changing was whether or not to let Trinity get away.

    I’d figured out Rita would die a few weeks ago, actually, based on some stuff I’d read in a couple online articles. While not directly coming out and saying specifically what was going to happen, there was enough information to put the puzzle pieces together. I also realized right away that it would be a good way to end the series, as next Season will show us a Dexter trying to deal with what he brought on to his family as well as now being a single Dad. Rita’s death brings a newness to the series that had never existed before (not counting Season 1, of course). It was a bold move on the part of the writers and hopefully they can make gold out of it. Given their history, I think they can!

    We’ll see how it all comes together.

  6. Also, the people involved in the show lied about the fate of Rita – including Julie Benz. This tells me that they like to keep their plans VERY close to the vest. I wouldn’t trust too much of what they talk about with regard to their specific plans or story arcs.

  7. I’m very hesitant to believe that they pretty much make this show up as they go along. It’s just too great for it to be all spontaneous story lines and surprises, just too damn good.

  8. well I think dexter is one of the greatest shows ever the last season also was very good and mind blowing. so much tense!

    but when rita died…. well I think it was a little too much. it almost freaked me out.

    i still do not no what to say about this. just one think :

    to the dexter production staff: keep on doing this great work its just awesome! keep on keep on!!!!

  9. I don’t think they make it up as they go along. But they do draw outlines and plot points, from those points there are several paths the stories can take. Once they choose the path they then fill in the holes. So I thinks it’s true they didn’t know they were going to kill Rita when the season started. Stand alone and a few multi-episode story lines would be good.
    I don;t think Dexter will be darker than he already is heck he’s pretty dark already. He has 3 children and he’s learned a valuable lesson this season don’t frack with the code. Next season my bring an impressive body count total as he puts his effort sinto fatherhood and his other passions.

  10. Seriously, WTF? The ending was horrific.

  11. The ending is what makes this show great, I hate seeing Rita killed off but it sure has me looking forward to next season. It will be hard to top Lithgow though, amazing performances throughout, stand alone cases and more killing may be a good way to go, we’ll see.

  12. I seriously say how could they top this season, then they come back and do it again and again. Bravo.

  13. I think what we’re missing here is that they’ve been setting up Dexter to be in a lot of trouble next Season. He has been followed constantly by Quinn (who thinks he’s cheating), was just arrested for losing his temper, he punched Elliot in the face and had motive to kill Rita after he found out she cheated on him, has no alibi for why it took him so long to get home after she had been murdered (he was killing Trinity), was found out by Deb to have a mother who was murdered in front of him and a serial killer brothe, he has Trinity’s blood on the slide in his pocket still, and he may be exposed by Trinity’s son if he sees him on TV after the press finds out about Rita’s murder. Next season is going to revolve around him trying to cover up everything he did this year. Also, he’s going to regret more and more not killing Arthur when he had the chance, or letting him kill himself.

    My question is, why did Arthur kill Rita when he supposedly was dedicated to following a cycle and didn’t successfully kill the boy Dexter saved? I understand he was trying to get back at Dexter, but he seemed to really be a slave to the routine of the kipnapping/murder, and 3 subsequent murders. They could’ve set it up that Elliot got jealous and killed her (in a similar way to Trinity so it looked ilke he did it and Elliot wouldn’t be caught) and then made Dexter figure that out while he was being pursued by the cops himself, but then also “have” to go after Elliot for revenge. Guess they aren’t going that route since Phillips assured us it was Trinity all along.

  14. I thought that Rita would be in the tub, but alive waiting for Dexter to slide in behind her (as when Trinity did this with his wife —- and faked us out). Dexter would be contemplating whether he is more thrilled by the satisfaction of what Trinity might of felt in his “routine” or the sexual satisfaction that Rita feels. Has Dexter crossed over to human emotions or not —- as we wait to see next the answer next season.

  15. @Dan – yeah, there are bound to be suspicious eyes on him next season. As far as why Trinity killed Rita … as you already indicated, it was to get back at Dexter – nothing more than revenge. Even though it broke his cycle, Trinity showed (by killing Kyle Butler) that he displayed a propensity for violence that doesn’t always match his kill pattern. That propensity seemed to reveal itself when he was pushed to a breaking point – not unlike how Dexter made stupid mistakes when he became emotionally affected by what was going on at the time.

  16. Shock city. Totally bummed … not Rita! I’ll only continue to watch next season if this is a dream he’s having? Hmmmmm

  17. The tragic thing is if Dexter had left Trinity alone as he promised at the start of the episode,
    Rita would still be alive.
    He was leaving town.
    He was no threat .

  18. I Love The Writing On This Show, After Dexter’s Finale, I’m Still Saying WOW!!!!!!! But Let’s Talk About The Time Line Of The Events That Happened At The End Of The Episode. The Message Rita Left On Dexter’s Cell Phone Without Going Into Detail of Every Word. She Said “I Hope We Are Looking At The Same Moon.” For Her To Make That Statement It Would Have To Be In The Evening. When Trinity Pick His Car Up From The Auto Repair Shop It Was Still Daylight, When Trinity Car Broke Down That Evening Dexter Was Right There To Get Him. If Trinity Killed Rita, It Would Have Had To Happen In The Daytime. Which Was His Only Chance To Do It Because Dexter Had To Be Following Trinity From The Time He Left The Auto Repair Shop. For Trinity To Kill Rita It Woud Had To Be Before He Picked His Car Up. Which Was Still Daytime. In My Veiw Trinity Did Not Kill Rita. If Rita Was Killed In The Evening. ” I Hope We Are Looking At The Same Moon!”

  19. I don’t like Rita dead, seeing Dexter juggle kids isn’t tv for me it’s nanny cam. Gone wrong. Now it’s over? He said to late when he was going to die.. Shows going to fail.. Dexter babysitter, too sloppy.

  20. @Larry – Rita didn’t say “I hope we’re looking at the same moon.” (that was Dexter speculating as to whether she was looking at the same moon).

    What Rita said in the message was “The moon tonight is gonna be amazing.”

    Trinity killed Rita. No one else. Just him.

  21. I am sad. This changes everything and not in a good way for me. This will turn dark and ugly, there’s really no other logical way to go unless you strengthen Dexter’s own assertion that he’s a heartless monster. The other route leads to him going through the loss of love and all the emotional turmoil, the hurt, the anger that comes with it. Either way the charming charismatic character that I’ve come to love, that I’m excited to see each Sunday is dead. I really hate to say it because I’ve really gotten into this show, but it just doesn’t work without Rita. She was the cornerstone that kept Dexter human, she and the kids were his humanity. The kids will be changed too by this and the fallout will not be pretty. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement.

  22. The question, as always, has been: Will Harrison turn out to be just like Dexter? Is evil hereditary or situational? That is the big thread that has been left, now that Harrison has lived through the same terrifying experience that Dexter did.

    It seems like the show will have to last until that question is answered.

  23. I just hope that they will continue to maintain the suspense and excitability of the show. I just finished watching the finale, and as I search for others thoughts and feelings, the death of Rita has had a few minutes to soak in. I think they made a very bold move. I will admit I didn’t think of her role as being so crucial until now. I don’t know if I’m more stunned by what just happened or excited to see what happens next. It’s been a great ride so far, I think Michael C. Hall is a phenomenal actor, along with the rest of the cast. Hope they keep up the good work! =]

  24. I agree with John. It’s funny how no one is paying attention to Harrison. That was the most important part of the ending for me. Not only was it tremendously poetic and full of potent imagery, but it raises all sorts of interesting questions about the human psyche. It also makes us look at the true effects of Dexter. Deb and Rita always asserted that Dexter was a positive force in their lives, but maybe despite all his efforts, his darkness will always corrupt everything he touches. Rita’s murder demonstrates that Dexter’s life is a tragic cycle that, no matter what he does, cannot be broken. Whether or not that is true, it’s what he now believes.
    I think that would make a great element in the next season; whether Dexter reverts to his old perceptions of himself as a monster or if he can still move toward real humanity. No matter what the ultimate theme of the season is, I think we’ll definetly see an interesting evolution in Dexter, either towards the dark or the light. I’m looking forward to finding out how this loss affects him.
    I think we’ll also see him in trouble, as others have stated. That bit in the finale about how he was making a lot of messes and he’d deal with it later, maybe that’s forshadowing some stormy weather ahead. My guess is that Quinn starts catching on. Here’s hoping Quinn doesn’t go the way of Doakes though, since I do love me some Quinn. How cool would it be if Deb started to catch on too! Maybe that will be the theme; Dexter’s growing inability to hide his dark passenger, maybe as an effect of struggling with Rita’s death.
    Honestly, I’m happy to watch whatever they give us next season. Well, just so long as there isn’t too much Nanny Dexter. The single Dad angle just doesn’t fly with me.

  25. OK this is the greatest show I have ever watched and I can not wait till next season. but I do not think we will ever find out if harrison becomes like Dexter and think about it Dexter was older when his mom was killed Harrison is just a baby he will never remember. I do not think Dexter will ever teach any of his kids the code he doesn’t want them to become like him. And yes the writers have a lot to work with for next season so bring it on can not wait.

  26. @Megan – I don’t think it’s that we’re not paying attention to Harrison, it’s just that at this moment what happens to him in the potential future is so far down the road. But I agree, that ending with him sitting in Rita’s blood was profound – as it was supposed to be.

  27. I wouldnt say Harrison wont remember being soaked in blood.
    Dexter remembered.
    I cant believe people thought this might have been some sort of dream sequence .
    I mean, the two leads talked about it right after the show ended !
    I thought that coversation indicated very clearly that Trinity killed Rita .
    Phillips comments seem to hint before we get into the consequences of Dexters actions and him being a suspect, they are going to deal with the emotional aftermath first.
    I hope that is the case .
    Standalones are not a bad idea
    After all,Dexter will be so filled with vengeance that HE will be the Big Bad next season.

  28. @Harrison – Dexter was also about 3 years old or more … there was more chance for him to remember. Harrison is much younger than that and has less of a chance for those memories to stay with him. However, I don’t think anyone is saying for sure that Harrison won’t remember, or that he won’t be scarred in some way.

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