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
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Sorry, meant to say @Gary …

  2. Well, i guess this can turn to the very first beginning when harry teach everything to dexter…and this could lead dexter to do the same with Harrison (10/12 years older)!
    There are many possibilities for the next season, lets wait to see!

  3. Remember that in one of the past seasons the camera pans up after showing dexter at the dock to show a security camera that has apparently recorded all his nightly body dumping trips. Maybe this will play a role in his eventual downfall.

  4. Remember, Dexter was a killer long before he “remembered” the incident with his mother: one doesn’t “remember” such an experience in anything but a subconscious way. And maybe Harrison will inherit his evil genetically – Brian and Dexter had different experiences of the “event”, and subsequent futures, but both became butchers.

    The whole theme seems to be can Dexter become a human being by incorporating his evil. If it is locked in, then it will be for Harrison too, no matter how good a father Dexter is – because that’s what Dexter wants to prevent.

  5. I liked the show but it doesn’t add up. Trinity was in Debra’s apartment-frustrated. He would have walked out right away. He wouldn’t search a stranger’s house for clues. He had no internet connection and his search only turned up one name. How did he find Dexter? How did Dexter find Trinity(who was at large)? And how did Dexter have time to tamper with Trinity’s car if he didn’t know where he was? Are we supposed to believe Trinity miraculously found their home, showed up just in time to catch Rita there and then allowed himself to get caught? It’s a stretch.

  6. @Chris – it does add up. After Trinity left Deb’s apartment, he would have consulted either the phone book or internet again (which can be done in any library). It’s expected that the viewers would put this together even though it wasn’t shown onscreen. Trinity then finds the other “D(exter) Morgan” address and goes there where he obviously encounters Rita and realizes it’s the right place, then kills her out of revenge. It already showed how Dexter found Trinity – by piecing together the car stuff. Dex obviously snuck onto the lot and hid in the car, knowing that Trinity would be by to pick up the vehicle. Trinity didn’t ‘allow’ himself to get caught. Dex simply outsmarted his getaway. But in the end, Trinity had the last laugh since he had taken something important from Dex.

  7. I think if they were going to end Dexter this would have been the perfect way but another season what could come out of it? just want more money i guess.

  8. @cyn

    and in the end, trinity kind of finishes his cycle (kind of missing the first part though), but it has the bathtub, suicide (his daughter), and the bludgeoning (done by Dexter)… Maybe that’s why he feels read to go… If they put a little more into the script, they could have had a Se7en thing going on…

    I still can’t believe the ending!

  9. @David – actually, last year it was announced that the show would go on for at least another two seasons (through 4 and 5). So it was going to go on anyway – even before season 4 started.

    @Jay – good points!

  10. @cyn ok well I love this show Im glad there will be another season I just dont see where season 5 will go. If anything it will ruin the show nobody wants to see dexter teaching “the rules” or “code” to his son we want action excitement and drama. Maybe thats just me though. I think the ending we had at the end of season 4 would have been a great series finale. I cant imagine season 5 ending any more dramatic than this.

  11. @David – I think that season 5 will bring with it a Dexter we’ve probably never seen before. He’s not bound to humanity like he was when Rita was in his life. But it is possible that his connection with his son will be what keeps him from going over the edge to truly monstrous. Perhaps through his son he can find the salvation and normalcy he thought he’d attained just before Rita died.

  12. @cyn thats very interesting I like that interpretation never thought of it like that. well I wonder when next season will start I imagine next year like fall ’10 cause they haven’t thought of next season according to this interview.

  13. I thought they telegraphed the ending pretty quickly. Every word out of Rita’s mouth sounded like her last words. Too rich with irony. Our crowd saw Rita dying in the first few minutes. Seems like they strained credulity to the limit with the twist. And how did Dexter know that the car would run long enough to be out where there was a private space? And how did Dexter get him there if the car blew its engine? Too many coincidences and plot holes. But worst of all for me is that now it’s going to require everyone in the show to be absolutely dense when it comes to Dexter. They’ll have to be really stupid not to piece it together. And also the whole subplot thing about the marriage was pretty uninteresting. Anyway, it was a very Shakespearean ending but I”m not sure how they get out of it with any credibility. The ending was such a gut punch that it felt the end to the series for me. I’ll probably check it out next year but I’m very doubtful that it will hold the same fascination now.

  14. Cyn you made yet another good point, and got me thinking about it. Trinity’s cycle was completed in the end. Think about the elements necessary for a kill cycle. Trinity needed a Child sedated and buried, a bath tub victim, a jumper suicide, and a bludgeoning victim.
    Ok this differs from the original events in a few ways, but we can passably say the following:

    1) The child represents Arthur Mitchell, and in the original event he didn’t die. Duh >.<
    Arthur locked his innocence away in a dark place, so no one could get in. Just like he does to the child victims.

    2) The bath tub victim of course represents his sister, so if it’s a female bled out in a tub of water then were good.

    3) The jumper represents his mother. This is subject to adjustment since suicide is a chosen end as opposed to the random circumstances of fate. The point is that it’s a suicide directly associated with Arthur’s actions.

    4) The bludgeoning represents his father, and yea enough said.

    So the order goes:

    Bath Tub Victim = Rita Morgan
    Suicide = Christine Hill
    Bludgeoning Victim = Arthur Mitchell
    Innocence Lost = Harrison Morgan

    Harrison of course didn’t die. Just like Arthur didn’t die in the original event.
    Which if logic follows reason means that Trinity’s kill cycle was not only completed, but the legacy was also passed on to Harrison Morgan. It even covers that whole “Sin’s of the Father” aspect. The writers did a bang up job on this one.

  15. The ending sucked bring Rita back make it a dream Dexter had she was good for him. Afterall he was exhausted chasing trinity and could have dozed off picking up his bags to meet Rita (WE WANT RITA BACK!!!)

  16. @Larry – not ALL of us want her back. :-D

  17. I’ve read alot of comments in different places where people are analyzing Trinity’s cycle, like Cyn and Justin above. What everyone seems to be forgetting, though, is that Trinity had just begun his new cycle with the boy Dexter saved from being buried alive. That boy didn’t die, but he was the begining. Rita was an organic kill for Trinity. But even better because it was also payback for Dexter messing with Trinity.

    Remember, in the police station, he warned Dexter that he had no interest in Dexter, unless Dexter got in his way. Well, Dexter had already gotten in his way by preventing the death of the first victim in the cycle — the boy. Trinity was telling Dexter (and the viewers), there, in the police station, that he was now interested in Dexter’s life, and death. He just happened to catch Rita first.

    I didn’t catch that until afterwards.

  18. I could not understand how Dexter didn`t think the next place trinity killer was visiting it was his house… I thought that he just be waiting for him there….. he could prevent his to happen… IT REALLY SURPRISED ME… SHOCKING SHOCKING

  19. I just got around to watching the finale, and I must say I was impressed that the show had the balls to kill off Rita. I hated Rita at first, but she grew on me as the seasons progressed, and I’m actually bummed now that she won’t be around next season.

    As far as what I’d like to see in Seasons 5 and 6, I’d like a return to the theme from season 2 where the police force is on to Dexter – maybe he gets sloppy while dealing with the death of Rita and begins leaving clues. I see Quinn and Dexter playing a cat and mouse game, Deb becoming suspicious as well and there has to be a reveal to her at some point in the next 2 seasons.

    As far as season 6, which I think will be the last season, I’d like it to be about Dexter being caught. It’s unreleastic to think that he can get away with all this stuff forever. I think a cool way to approach this would be with two time frames, the first being his trial and incarceration and everyone dealing with the truth, and the other being flashbacks to show how he got caught and maybe a few episodes of him on the run as a fugitive. Series ends with Dexter being put to death, Deb gets custody of Harrison who is shown killing an animal in the closing seconds.

  20. I am SO GLAD the writers decided to make it clear that Rita is LONG GONE and wasn’t killed by the smurfs, because those 9/11 conspiracies were driving me insane.

    I think the writers made it pretty clear in the first place, but hey, even after that people are still asking them to say it was a dream…

    Get over it people, I thought they couldn’t top last season, and I was watching the finale expecting a big disappointment, a weak sauce ending with Dexter killing Trinity and a dumb smile on his face and a repetitive 5 season.

    And the end both socked me and amused me. I was speechless for 10 minutes, and then I realized how perfect it was.

    As I said before, season 5 will be the climax of the show, at last we get to see Dexter on his own, and I can’t wait to see the choices Dexter will make.


    I like that Se7en idea lol


    The writers know what they’re doing, if they did “sellout” to the four pesky fans who want a lame resurrection, probably the real fans would be the ones who would quit watching the show, while the Rita fans would start complaining about how boring and repetitive the show gets and eventually quit watching it…

    But fortunately, they are always ahead of us, and that would never happen.

    Season five is going to be more of an emotional ride, even if the police is involved at some point, and if they do (which is somewhat likely) would be because of Dexter’s negligence caused by a breakdown like the confrontation with the police officer in the finale, and not really about the Trinity killings.

    In a season finale they always close all the doors and open the new ones for next season, so I’m positive that in episode one they’re going to deal with all the interrogations, etc, because, seriously, who would want to sit through half season of Dexter trying to explain what happened? The cops are going to go easy on him, because he always plays the victim, works with Miami Metro and has no police record. He’ll play the victim card, and that will be it.

    Quinn will probably be suspicious, the family will suspect he may have had something to do with his disappearance and cover his ass after thanking him.

    All loose ends can be tied in one episode to begin the real journey into Dexter’s mind, I’m hoping to see “Dexter in the Dark” ^^

    P.S.: Rita may come back as a smurf ghost though

  21. I think the ending was shocking, but agree there were some holes. Arthur’s family; wouldn’t they bring up the fact that Kyle was in the house when they raided it? A description would surely lead to Dexter. When did he take the oil cap off?
    And trinity find Rita?

  22. I am SO VERY GLAD that Rita is dead. Dexter is a monster and a monster he must remain for the show to go on longer. I LOVE Julie Benz, yet I HATED Rita. There are so many doors open now that he is finally without a partner. I have so many good ideas, I wish I was a writer on this show. To the current writers, BRAVO! Brilliant writing as well as BRILLIANT ENDING!

  23. I have never been so affected by a television episode, than I was with the season 4 finale of dexter. I actually didn’t like Rita in the beginning of the series, mainly because their relationship was borderline uncomfortable in season 1. However, I have grown to love Rita and what she has brought to dexter’s character. If Rita wasn’t killed, I think season 5 would have revolved around Dexter trying to put away his ‘dark passenger’ and segue into the life of a normal father. This whole season was consumed with Dexter realizing his priorities have shifted. In the final scene between Trinity and Dexter, Dexter said “I can’t believe I thought I could learn something from you”; which is untrue because Dexter learned who he didn’t want to be. Dexter found the antithesis of how he wants to live his family life within trinity.
    Now, for season 5, I think dexter is in some hot water. There is no way that he will go through the process of rita’s investigation without trinity’s family identitying him as kyle butler. At that point (or even probably before-hand) I think Quinn and Deb will be highly suspicious of him; ecspecially because he does not have an alibi. I think Deb will notice that there weren’t any ashes in the bathroom, and the idea of a copycat murder could arise. I agree that Dexter will be out of control in his killings because for the first time he will not be able to get revenge. Maybe Deb will move in with him to help with the kids. September 2010- Please come quickly!

  24. @Luzbell

    I second that 100%

  25. All are ridiculous who suggest that Rita’s murder is just going to blow-over. This investigation has to be the center of the next season and it’s already stressing me out. These are the reasons why it has to be the focal point…

    1. Deb knows that Dexter is the brother of the Ice Truck Killer. These will bring up natural questions about Dexter and though Deb will resist the notion that Dexter could be a murderer, they will always be in the back of her mind.
    2. The family of the Trinity killer know Dexter as Kyle Butler and a Kyle Butler was recently murdered. This investigation into the Trinity killer and the publicity of Rita’s murder will link these two. If it comes out that Dexter was hanging out with the The Trinity killer and his family, things could get ugly quick.
    3. Don’t forget that the feds just came in to START investigating the case of the Trinity Killer. As far as the world knows, he’s still out there and the investigation is being held in Miami.
    4. Dexter was found in the Trinity Killer’s garage before the task force arrived which brought up suspicion, which was quickly overlooked, but if an investigation focuses on Dexter as a prime suspect it could easily be used against him.
    5. Quinn senses that Dexter has been hiding something for a long time now.

    Take all these things and add the fact that Dexter will need to continue murdering during all of this makes season 5 look like a hell of a ride.

    When I watch these episodes and get tense, I always remind myself that Dexter always wins and that everything will turn out fine, but the end of this season just let us know that anything can happen and nobody is safe.

    I had a hunch that this show would ultimately end with Dexter finding a way to let go of his ‘Dark Passenger’ and go on living his happy life with his family but now I know that it’s not going to be a warm happy ending and that in the end he might die/be discovered and more of the people he loves could die.

  26. Totally shocked and totally agree that RITA dying was a twist and left me speechless. She was hot and I am sad to see her go. I agree with you Bob, yeah the family of Trinity is totally shaken by the raid, but no mention of the Kyle Butler dude…c’mon! Until late 2010, I will wait on pins and needles to see where they take the new season…and as much as I like watching Rita in revealing dresses, bringing her back would be kinda lame…

    Did anyone else notice Rita always got naked in the first few seasons then not so much, shame on you writers! Maybe instead of Rita coming back like Dexter’s father offering lame advice just to employ Julie Benz, Dexter could just sporadically think back to those magical times in season 2 when Rita’s bad roots and overwhelming insecurities led to some great action!

  27. For a blood-spatter specialist working forensics, you would think that Dexter would have the knowledge of using GPS tracking on vehicles to keep an eye on Trinity – this irked me the most this season… although, that would have been too easy, now wouldn’t it?

  28. Season 5 will be great, and I’m almost positive Dexter will think of something to cover up Rita’s death blowing who he really is..he’s smarter than that he’s going to think things through and think of an excuse before he calls it in. Quinn may remain suspicious but this could simply be the new Doakes. He’s probably just going to be on Dex’s case alot more now..
    One word to people who are predicting the end of the SERIES with another season still a year away. One thing I’ve learned especially now is that the show is completely unpredictable and you can’t really pinpoint the exact outcome of Dexter’s life. I thought Deb had caught on during the finale but she didn’t. Dex will pull through I think.

  29. I didnt think the season was as good as the other seasons. Reason why. First, the other seasons made you guess more as to who the killer was. I am not doubting the suspense in this season. Probably the most suspense full of all. However, i believe that suspense came at the cost of belief. What i mean is, Dexter’s character and his not getting caught is taken to the next level. For example, how do people not notice when he stalks them and sits outside thier home, especially a person like trinity, who you would think if is capable of getting away with so many murders would be a little more observant. Plus, how dexter can follow in his car/ not know when he was followed by trinity. I just feel like the writers, falling away from the first season, payed less attention in script to dexter the character as so much as building an intricate plot. I am not saying i didnt enjoy the season at all, I just feel like because i was caught up in the suspense i was made to beleive alot of coincidental things.