‘Dexter’ Ending: Showtime Wouldn’t Let Writers Have Finale They Wanted

Published 2 years ago by , Updated October 9th, 2013 at 6:21 am,

Dexter Season 8 Plot Details Dexter Ending: Showtime Wouldnt Let Writers Have Finale They Wanted


[WARNING: 'Dexter' Finale Spoilers Ahead!]


September marked the end for two of the most popular dramas on television. While Breaking Bad finished with an incredible finale that tied up all loose ends – providing viewers with a sense of closure – Showtime’s Dexter ended the series with mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. Many believed the series was past its prime, but fans stuck with it until the bitter end.

Now new information has surfaced about what happened behind the scenes before Dexter’s final send off.

Dexter ended in a strange and unsuspecting way. When Deborah died, Dexter dropped his plans of spending the rest of his life with Hannah and Harrison for the much more logical idea of driving his boat into the eye of a hurricane about to hit Miami. After the hurricane passed, viewers caught a glimpse of Dexter, still alive and living out the remainder of his life as a lumberjack.

Many fans were unhappy with the ending and it seems like the writers may have been, too. Recently, Variety spoke with producer John Goldwyn about how the writers decided to end Dexter. According to Goldwyn, Showtime wouldn’t let Dexter end in one particular way:

“They [wouldn't] let us kill him. Showtime was very clear about that. When we told them the arc for the last season, they just said, ‘Just to be clear, he’s going to live.’ There were a lot of endings discussed because it was a very interesting problem to solve, to bring it to a close. People have a relationship with ‘Dexter,’ even if it doesn’t have the size and the ferocity of the fanbase for ‘Breaking Bad.’ But it has a very core loyal following.”

Goldwyn doesn’t seem to be too happy about how Showtime denied them the option of killing off Dexter. Goldwyn mentions the fans of both Dexter and Breaking Bad, and how they are both incredibly large and passionate. Although both shows ended, only one show’s fanbase was almost unanimously satisfied with that ending.

Though it’s possible that Goldwyn wanted to conclude the series with the death of Dexter and was denied the option, executive producer Sara Colleton told TV Line that Dexter’s death was never in the cards because it wouldn’t have been “a fitting enough punishment for him.” So perhaps the point was moot?

Dexter Cast web Dexter Ending: Showtime Wouldnt Let Writers Have Finale They Wanted

Regardless, after eight seasons, it’s surprising that Showtime wouldn’t allow the writers to kill off Dexter at the end of the series. The writers have been crafting the story of Dexter Morgan for eight years – shouldn’t they be the ones who decide whether the character lives or dies? Obviously, their request that Dexter be kept alive had to do with leaving open the possibility to revisit the character in a spin-off series or feature film.

Personally, I’d very much like to see a spin-off or a film because of how betrayed I felt with the finale. Besides Deb, no one else in the series was given any form of closure. Dexter abandoned his son and girlfriend, killed his sister, and may have possibly ruined Quinn’s life. Quinn broke up with Jamie for Deb, and now she assumes that the child she has raised for years is dead. Besides Dexter and Deb, the characters that fans have been watching for years didn’t get any kind of proper ending.

Hopefully, Showtime will make the decision to not kill Dexter off worth it by actually continuing his story and giving it another shot at a great ending.


Dexter aired October 1, 2006 – September 22, 2013 on Showtime.

Source: Variety & TV Line

Follow Al Mannarino on Twitter @almannarino
TAGS: Dexter
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  1. Speaking of spoiler alerts, how about the title of this post?

    • It’s been two weeks since it aired. I don’t think it’s a spoiler anymore.

      • Then why did they warn us on the article anyhow? LOL

        • Haha, didn’t notice that before. I don’t think this is a spoiler anymore, but if they are going to put a spoiler warning in the article, they also could’ve put one in the title.

          • For is in the uk it’s a pretty massive spoiler, thanks screenrant!!

      • So? Two weeks isn’t a long time. Not everyone has seen it.

        • If you have time to read screenrant, you have time to watch the finale of Dexter.

      • Yes it is.

      • Seriously. I would hate to be friends with you if two weeks out is spoiler free for all.

        • If this were a movie, then I would agree that two weeks is not a lot of time to be spoiler-free. However, this is a tv show; we are living in an age of technology where we can instantly watch the shows online in great quality. If you wanted to see it, you would have watched it the week of its airing. That is all!

          • I will add that Screenrant could have at least titled it differently, such as saying “Dexter writers wanted it to end differently”.

          • I want to see it. I haven’t watched any of Dexter but I am very interested. In this “age of technology” I can consume, in bulk, and entire season of a show in a week, anytime I want. I don’t have to watch it when it is aired. Which is how I want to do it. I just started watching Revolution. I just finished Buffy last month. I caught up on all of the seasons of Parks and Rec on Netflix this month.

            I am well aware that spoilers are everywhere. I should be able to browse the title of articles on my favorite movie/tv news site without reading a massive, series end spoiler. If it was “Why Showtime wanted a different ending” I would have known it was about the ending of Dexter, it contains spoilers and I should steer clear.

            It’s like going to a nude beach. You can go if you want, and you know what you are getting into, because it is a nude beach. Whereas a nude man in the mall is surprising, unexpected and can ruin your day.

      • I’ve seen the finale, but yeah, it’s a big friggin’ spoiler. A bit of consideration for those who don’t have the time or means to watch everything right away goes a long way.

      • I don’t care if its been 2 weeks or 2 years. I just finished watching the Wire about a year ago. This title is unacceptable. Screenrant, your better than this…..I just finished watching Dexter last Sunday night. Damn I would have been pissed if I read this.

        • Hey guys,

          I’m sorry that I just now came across this. That is not the type of headline we typically allow. Just good ol’ fashioned editorial oversight.

          I’ve changed the headline. Apologize again.

          Kofi Outlaw

    • Right come on screenrant this is lame.

  2. Dexter’s ending has been unanimously criticized, so it’s time to play the BLAME GAME!!!

  3. Jeez, blaming Showtime is stupid. Just because they couldn’t kill off Dexter didn’t mean they couldn’t think of a great ending. It’s so stupid. Breaking Bad’s ending is praised for wrapping everything up. Not because Walt died. Dexter didn’t wrap ANYTHING up, as they could just begin another g****** season next year (that’s how stupid the ‘conclusion is’). Plus, the show has been going downhill, and that’s the writers’ fault.

    • +1
      The decline began season 6, the characters got weak, there was the typical formula each episode, up until Deb catching Dexter in the act there was no real memorable moments. Those shortcomings couldn’t have been reconciled in a big finale episode, perhaps if the entire last season didn’t seem so sloppy and rushed the series could’ve been saved. There was a time I would’ve denounced the very mention of doing a dexter movie, but if it can salvage what was trashed season 6-8, I’m all for one.

      • i would it started to suck from season 5, pretty much the show went downhill with rita’s death

    • Well thank you very much for that huge Breaking Bad spoiler man. You totally ruined it for me.

  4. I haven’t been able to watch the last few seasons of Dexter yet, and even though your article has a spoiler warning, your title pretty much gives it away that Dexter will survive… So there goes the suspense of whether or not he might die in the finale… Thanks…

  5. the whole last season wasnt satisfying enough for us the fans coz am a die hard dexter fan,and yeah a spinoff movie would be great!!!to fully conclude the serie!!!!

  6. I didnt mind the ending of Dexter, wasnt really how I wanted it too end but I didnt hate it like the majority of people although the alternate ending sounded much better, plus never got too see the manhunt for dexter which would of been great.

  7. This is the second time a Screen Rant article title has spoiled something for me. It’s pretty frustrating. So thanks for that SR.

  8. Thanks guys… please think about the title of your posts before you post them up…

  9. Not only was the episode unsatisfying, it didn’t work on so many levels. It didn’t even stay true to the characters. Really surprising for such a great show.

    Why couldn’t they end with the implication of a twist? Deb doesn’t die. Dexter hits obstacles. Hannah believes he’s dead or not coming. Then he shows up. All seems well, but just before it ends, we see a cloud in the distance … Poison plants growing in the garden, Dexter eyeing a new kill, Harrison showing an unnatural interest in blood…

    So it doesn’t end with a thud. It implies there’s trouble ahead, as we know there is. Was that so hard?

    Are you dense?? Yeah some people havent seen it yet!

    • Dude. If u didn’t see it yet, and have gone this long without spoilers, why are u on screen rant or google searching Dexter? Are u dense? And if it mattered that much for u, why didn’t u watch it yet? Ur obviously at fault for ur own spoiled finale. Maybe don’t troll around spoiler sites. The site is called Screen Rant, and many people have ranted and raved for weeks about the finales poor story. Did u think coming to screen rant would be a good place to go if u don’t watch? Your fault pal. Don’t blame anyone but u.

  11. Did they say that you couldn’t write a quality season either?

  12. You really should change the title of this article, ive seen the finale but think about people that havent its gonna take alot of suspense out of it for them. AND everyone is saying the ending was rubbish, but i didnt have that much of a problem with the last episode, it was fine. it was everything leading up to it the whole final season was terrible and really boring, there was no sense that things were wrapping up or coming to a head, it couldve been another boring indistinguishable serial killer arc from 3 years ago, so by the time the ending came it was impossible for me to care what happened i was just glad it was over so i could watch something better. Shouldve had 5 seasons.

  13. Which is curious, for all I saw during season 8 was Dexter slowly dying anyways. The faults are too numerous to list to be frank, and those with even half an eye would’ve noticed with ease how it demystified itself to the point of irrelevancy, so, as sad as it is, I have pretty much moved on from the show with barely an acknowledgement. Which in itself is tragic considering how good it once was.

    I agree though, the headline is a spoiler. If I were to publish such a headline on Twitter, there would be plenty of people from many a country following me who would rightly kick me up the rear for such a thing. I tiptoe very carefully (hell, wouldn’t reveal who Benny Cucumber played into ‘Star Trek Into Darkness until the home release). Little caution next time, lads.

  14. Funny you guys were talking about spoiler-related goodness on the podcast, looks like that article will be coming up sooner rather than later based on these comments!

  15. It increasingly became a parody of itself after season 2 anyway…..

  16. Here, let me show you how to write a spoiler-free, yet compelling title;

    Dexter’s fate in the series finale was in the hands of Showtime (Warning: Spoilers)

  17. I’m sorry but I don’t care what Showtime said about killing Dexter or not the ending and final season as a whole was terrible and the writers have no one to blame but themselves.
    Once season 6 ended and Deb found out all we heard was how the writers had a 2 season arc planned and had a very clear idea how the show would wrap. I read article after article and listened to interview after interview about it but now that the writers realize their plan was universally hated the blame game starts and that’s ridiculous.
    Even if they killed Dexter that can’t make up for the half realized ideas or dead end plot points.
    The 2 most infuriating elements of the finale IMO were…
    1. Dumping Deb in the Ocean when she had Quinn and a group of friends who would probably have liked to mourn her. Heck she may have even got a memorial bench like LaGuerta. ;)
    2. Leaving Harrison with Hannah when he has an actual family to be with like his Grand Parents and Brother and Sister!!!

  18. kofi outlaw would never screw us like this! lets start a petition!

  19. i used to reccomend screenrant to people! not anymore this is garbage! whipe your at it why dont you get some george r martin reading fan to spoil game of throne for us all?? huh? huh?

    • Seriously? At this point, if u didn’t watch the finale, u probably aren’t really a fan and it shouldn’t really matter to u. And if u type Dexter into google, ummmm common sense should tell u that u may run into info about the now world renown awful dexter finale.

      Bottom line, if u didn’t watch, it’s ur problem if u found out Dexter lives. Lesson learned. Don’t go typing dexter into google if u didn’t watch the finale. Fool!

  20. i never understood that hollywood “unwritten” rule of not killing off the lead

    • Thought the exact same thing, but didn’t want to be the one to potentially spoil BB :)

    • I would have kept from spoiling Breaking Bad, but someone has already posted a comment earlier spoiling Breaking Bad. So I do not regret my post.

  21. they should have used the original idea for the finale with dexter dying on the execution table. That would have been a much better ending then the crap we got

    • I couldn’t agree more. Seriously, some people will just never be happy. And why are so many Dexter “fans” wishing he would get caught or die anyway? Jeez. I wanted to see him win the Argentina lottery and be a millionaire in South America wit Hannah and Harrison.

  22. Show jumped the scalpel when his wife was killed, after that it was like watching the blood drip out of a corpse, sad and messy . A once great character slowly bled out, by writers who didn’t have a clue about what they were doing ..

  23. Dexter ended after season 4 or 5 imo.

    No point bringing it back for another terrible season, just let it go.

    What I dont get is why they didnt have him kill Deb, fake his death and then go be with his kid and Hannah? WOuld have rather seen that, let Dexter be happy, he doesnt have to worry about deb anymore, he can focus on his kid and Hannah and be happy.

  24. They’re acting like letting Dexter live was the only problem with the finale. There were MANY problems with the finale (and the final season in general).

  25. It was like the final season of Lost where half of it doesn’t really matter because it’s the sidewayverse.

    All that build up to Dexter being “cured” because of his love for Hannah, Harrison and Deb… only to have him not be with them in the end? Bleh.

  26. Just when I think I’ve seen the most pointless argument on the internet.

  27. Ah, I see. So it was Showtime that ruined this show.