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

Published 1 year 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

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[WARNING: 'Dexter' Finale Spoilers Ahead!]

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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.

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

Source: Variety & TV Line

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  1. Showtime didn’t want Dexter to have the finale it deserved as well I guess. These writers should be ashamed of themselves for robbing the fans for the way they finished the finale. And killing Dexter would not have made it any better. One of the worst finales I have ever seen from a show that was loved by so many! Shame…

  2. how about a sequel series in five years following a non-Miami based Dexter…

  3. Death would of been great ending, sad but unexpected by most
    As far as spin off goes, almost any character including Debra could of been a watchable

  4. Death would of been great ending, sad but unexpected and realistic cant escape everytime
    As far as spin off goes, almost any character including Debra could of been a watchable

  5. The entire last season should have been different. He should have been found out and been on the run…

    …end it with him either in prison or deep hiding.

    Hell, anything would’ve been better than what they gave us.

  6. The problems with the finale was basically logic. Of course that’s been a problem throughout the series so why stop now? Just a couple of the biggies…He’s able to kill the guy who killed Deb while on camera and is declared to be a self defense kill by his fellow cops and basically dismissed..(Oh wait…It is FL…They basically did the same with Zimmerman so I guess that isn’t so outlandish). Then he’s able to just walk out of the hospital with Deb on a table without anyone even asking him where he was going. Then he heads into a hurricane where later his boat has only pieces found…Yet we’re supposed to believe that he somehow survived the hurricane without being on the boat? Then to top it off he is shown to suddenly be a log hauler as if that’s something a person with no previous truck driving could just slip into….I’m a trucker and with todays regs…No way…

    I tend to agree with those who have mentioned the episode seemed rushed in the end….Maybe Showtimes directives made the ending less than it should have been. I would have liked to see more attention to logic though.

    One last point. If they plan to do another Dexter movie or series….How does he continue killing using Harry’s rules without being in law enforcement? He had a lot of insider information with the cops, but on his own? Doesn’t seem practical.

  7. I certainly see that there were a number of people upset about the original title of this article. Obviously there are people who haven’t seen it despite it occurring more than two weeks ago. So out of genuine curiosity, what, in your opinions, is an except-able amount time after airing, to be able to speak freely?

    • 48 hours is fair. But as far as I’m concerned, if u didn’t make the finale a priority to watch when it aired u aren’t a true fan. So too bad for them. Then can sail a boat into a hurricane for all I care!

      • Or maybe people have LIVES? Today with Streaming TV, TiVos and other DVRs, you don’t have to be there every second a show airs to watch it and use of that technology to handle other things doesn’t make anyone any less of a fan of a show. I’m an official “cord-cutter” because I don’t like to be glued to shows and let them dictate my schedule. Just about every decent spoiler-containing blog/site post about a popular show that I’ve seen recently had the courtesy to announce a spoiler alert. To do otherwise is just inconsiderate.

  8. I googled dexter and this is the first thing that came up…did you really need to put that spoiler in the title? In the future I would really appreciate it if you would keep your article titles spoiler free.

  9. THIS IS THE RANT TO READ:

    I want to preface what I am about to say with, I did not like the finale either. Something I’m curious about was why so many “fans” wanted to see Dexter die in the first place. Seems kind of strange that so many people’s argument is DEXTER SHOULD’VE BEEN CAUGHT AND KILLED. Are u a fan of the show? Lol.

    Secondly, there was some positives and interesting imagery in the final few scenes:
    -no dark passenger (inner monologue)/compulsion is gone perhaps?
    -Dexter sits at an “empty table” in the end (table symbolic of how he always killed his victims…nothing on the table represents nothing left in Dexter’s life to bring him joy.)
    -the aging of Dexter shows he is long removed from his days in Miami, and his gray skin represents his new, crime-free life is causing his demise. (or maybe he’s just removed from the Miami sun in exchange for cold Canada weather, I don’t know).

    Also, I loved that Dexter’s final words to Harrison were so similar to Harry’s words to Dexter when he was a child. “Daddy will always love you.” I feel like this is a point many people did not pick up on.

    Finally, my favorite thing about the finale, was that I loved that Dexter’s final kill was Deb. and the absence of black bags wrapping a body, replaced by a clean white sheet. Although Deb technically fit his code, I feel her beauty and purity was clearly represented by having dexter drop her body in a white sheet and intact (not sliced in pieces). Beautiful change from the normal Dexter disposal routine.

    Now, with that said, it’s so #%@&$ unfortunate that we now learn that Showtime had their final say in the outcome of the show, but that does not give Dexter show writers the right to miss on so many important factors that could have made this finale so great.

    1. Uninspired final season writing.
    2. Unceremonious send off for all supporting characters. It was most frustrating that we didn’t see an end to Masuka, Quinn, Jamie, Batista, Matthews, or Aster and Cody.
    3. Are we as fans really imposed on to believe that Dexter would totally give up on being a father to Harrison and lover to Hannah? Come on, if he’s done killing, why would he believe he can bring harm to his loved ones? I know many will say it was a precautionary move, but I call b*******. In a moments time, he abandoned all love for Hannah and Harrison and made a game time decision to just walk away? Again uninspired writing. Dexter wouldn’t do that. He’s not a monster. :)
    4. Unfair to characters lost that they did not have a final moment of reflection. Especially Rita, Doakes, and LaGuerta.
    5. No one wonders what happened to Harrison back in Miami or Orlando? I was imagining, Maybe Elway returned to Miami Metro and told Batista that Harrison left the country with Hannah. And if so, does that mean Miami Metro may think possibly Dexter DID fake his death and ran off? If so, why the article in the news about Dexter presumed Dead? Again, when u leave doors open, it just brings up more questions. But I feel like with no closure, these aren’t fun, but frustrating questions.
    6. Argentina is at the absolute bottom of the globe. My assumption is that Dexter jumped the border and is actually living in Canada, the northmost part of the globe. (farthest he can be). Can we get some semblance of where Dexter moved to?!? For Christ sakes at least give us Deciples that!
    7. Probably the best question, if Showtime is the bad guy here and they are taking the heat for Dexter’s finale fail, why did Dexter’s top producer say he was happy with the way it finished? Dude, your entire audience is telling u no and u stick up the bird and say yes? How arrogant are u?

    Well I can go on and on, but all I can end with his a hope and prayer (“that stuff never worked for anyone.”) that one day, we will get the closure we fans deserve. And if it’s a Clear History type of 2 hour Showtime special, a big screen feature film (doubtful–see Sopranos), or a highly appreciated Season 9 with writer creative control out from under the thumb of Showtime execs, we deserve something. I’ve invested 8 years, as all of u have, in this show. And I deserve to be rewarded for my loyalty. Bottom line.

    Fix this Dexter Producers and, if need be, Showtime bastards!

    • This was amazing. Bravo.

  10. Oh…and for the people complaining that the title of this article has spoiled the finale for u…

    1. It doesn’t. Nothing in the title spoils the finale.
    2. If ur a “fan”, and u didn’t watch the final episode of a show that has been on for 8 seasons on its original air date, then u aren’t a fan.
    3. If 2 weeks isn’t enough time for u to watch the finale, YOU DESERVE to have it spoiled for u. Jesus, it’s been 2 weeks! You rightfully had 48 hours to watch. If u didn’t, it’s your problem.
    4. Why are u searching Dexter on google if u didn’t see the finale? Common sense, which u obviously don’t have, should tell u to avoid google if u don’t wanna run into a spoiler.
    5. Just bc u didn’t watch, here it is for u:
    -Deb dies
    -Hannah and Harrison get away to Argentina and think Dexter is dead
    -Dexter fakes his death by steering his boat into a hurricane, and escapes north to become a lumberjack.

    Now instead of b I t c h I n g to the hard working people at screen rant, u can complain to me. And I can care less what u have to say. U should’ve watched and contributed to the legions of fan complaints against Showtime and the Show itself like all true fans did instead of sitting on your azz for weeks and now whining that it’s been spoiled for u.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Well put.

    • Some of us “fans” didn’t begin watching Dexter until recently. My wife and I just finished watching all 96 episodes in about 3 months, the finale being last night. I’d say we qualify as true fans…..latecomers, yes, but fans nonetheless.
      Luckily I never “Googled” Dexter to see the spoiler title. I made every attempt to avoid any spoilers.
      Personally, as I watched, I thought the finale was okay. But the more I think about it, it should have been so much better. Even something less dramatic, like Dexter meeting up with H and H in Argentina would have been more acceptable.

    • I just started watching the series this year. I watched all 8 episodes over the last few months. How could you say I’m not a fan? No, I didn’t watch it when it first aired because I was unaware of it. (I don’t watch a whole lot of tv). So, I just saw the finale today, Jan 8. If you want to say that I’m not a fan, I could in turn say I’m a bigger fan than you b/c I managed to watch 8 seasons in a couple of months.

      I also had the ending “spoiled” for me by yahoo news. They had an article of the top disappointing series endings. I started to read through and Dexter was in there. I managed to only see that he escaped to mountain life. I quickly closed out the tab so as to not spoil the entire season.

  11. There was no closure at all for anyone,it wasn’t reveiled that Deb killed LaGuerta, it wasn’t reveiled who Dexter is (all the bay harbour butcher stuff) it wasn’t reveiled that Doakes was right about Dexter, it wasn’t reveiled that Dexter was strongly linked to trinity, it wasn’t reveiled about Lumen and Dexters relationship and all the business with Jordan Chase, nothing happened about Quinn having multiple strong suspictions of Dexter,it wasn’t reveiled that Dexter knew who his brother the ice truck killer were. OVERALL after being a loyal Dexter fan for years so many questions still lack answers and so many doors are still open which should have been closed in this final series. Just disappointed as the ending was not the Dexter we had known and loved or the Dexter we found interesting and exciting it was a quick soap operal like way of ending a perfectly good series. A film/short series is needed to fix the mess of season 8

    • Hmmmm. I’m not sure you actually watched the show.

    • Get over it people..It ended the way it ended…I thought ending was good…Real life all loose ends aren’t always tied up,so why should they have to be in a TV series… Im glad Dexter didnt die…Also Dexter didnt swim to shore, if you paid attention(when he was trying to sell his boat) he mentioned it had a motorized life raft

  12. I never want it to end .. i saw a lot of truth in his character.

  13. I could of lived with Dexter being killed off. I thought that would of been a fitting end for a serial killer, instead of sailing off into the sunset he set sail into the eye of a storm. He was never going to get a happy ending.

  14. I thin the ending fits Dexter. He couldn’t just move to Argentina after what happend to Deb and his loved ones at all (Rita, the Kids, Dr Vogel, his Dad) but he couldn’t commit suicide either because it would have been the easy way out. I feel like the Dexter we got to know would be incredibly angry but he knows there is noone else to blame but himself,so he tortures himself by cutting the emotional bonds he accomplished to create after he was finally able to feel. I think it’s a very sad ending but one that fits given the prior events.

  15. If showcase made it so dexter couldnt die. I feel they should make them do another season of dexter. The way it ended made no sense. It seemed like the middle of a season.

  16. Hey you self proclaimed “true fans”.
    Please back down on the judgmental comments on how soon a true fan should watch the finale.
    I had a bad injury and just returned from six weeks in hospital and rehab.
    Watched it last night. Am as much a fan as you.
    Try some tolerance.

  17. A, also a fan but had to knock off two seasons quickly.
    Poor last season, poor ending.
    Would have been better to keep it the same, but show a newspaper headline at the very end – 4 lumberjacks missing, bodies not found, something like that ….

  18. I liked the ending. Dexter is living in his own hell. He formed feelings for people, destroyed lives and now has to live with it. Dying would have been the easy way out. It wasn’t a sensational ending, but I expected him to live. For me the only thing missing is that devilish grin at the end to let us know he’s back! Dexter is a good guy, whether he kills or not, you root for him, he’s the hero. No one wants their hero to die. Maybe so many loose ends were left for a reason. Maybe Miami was getting old so they need a fresh start. I’m guessing he’s out west, possibly Canada? The series could return with a fresh start and be better, with new characters. It had to end like this. Killing people week after week doing the same thing over and over would get old fast. he had to have feelings for people and screw up lives, find people to know his secret. It’s what made you think. I for one thought it might end with Deb taking him out, but it didn’t look that way. She loved him too much. I’m glad he’s alive, it gives me hope. This was one of my all time fave shows and I’m sad it’s gone.

  19. Why dead, why punishment?

    Did it ever occur to the writers that a good ending with Dexter living and starting a new life actually fits better as an ending than dead and/or another kind of punishment?

    What’s up with these guys? Horrible depressing ending of an intense emotional series.

    And for the record: imo the serie was far from over the top. The many possibilities it still had.. For example the relation with Zach, it was so abruptly ended, as if SHowtime came half way season 8 and said: guys, this will be the last season wrap it up.

    How awesome would it have been if Dex learned the student everything making it the perfect killer, and then the student strays from the code and goed his own way after which Dexter has to now find and kill his own student who actually surpassed him..

    And then Saxon, a highly intelligent person who escaped from a mental facility when he was still a kid, so easily taken out by Dexter (and deb). Who would be so stupid as to walk into the hole of the lion without a plan, even though being highly intelligent?

    The final season, and mainly the second part, feels like a bad rushed and forced ending. And forced being the ending the writers really badly wanted instead om following the emotional line of the series. And imo, following the emotional line of the series a positive ending would have been the best fit.

  20. its based on a series of books, despite departing from the books significantly, HES NOT DEAD IN THE BOOKS AT THIS POINT IN HIS LIFE. I am glad that they did not allow this. Damn writers should have read the book series and stopped bitching about what they wanted to do with their “artistic license”

  21. I loved it! Deb could never really be whole again, so killing her off wasn’t bad. Dexter did what was right by being the one to do it *I cried * I thought Dexter was going to jump in with her and drown with all his victims. But him living alone, its what he always truly wanted. It was an amazing finally. But I wish Quinn would’ve gotten to kill the bastard who shot Deb. I hate to say it was all predictable though. But still loved it.

  22. depressing ending . T_T … but still worst part was rita being removed …

  23. I just watched this on netflix and hated the ending. I feel cheated. He should have went to Argentina.

  24. Perhaps another network could pick it up where Shotime failed so miserably. This reminds me of how George Lucas butchered Star Wars in Episode 3 by rushing the transformation of Anakin to Darth! It’s BS if you ask me. I’m a late bloomer in the Dexter saga, and it wasn’t until I subscribed to Netflix that I discovered this great series. Thanks for f-ing it all up s***-time!

  25. Spoiler Alert !!! I think the finale was brilliant …we have learned to love a psychopath, which made us forget the fact he is a psychopath. He is very protective and toward the end his feeling betrayed even his deepest nature. People might not like it because he reacts differently than the Dexter we know from season 1, but the point of 7th and 8th season was his change and hope for his future. It was reasonable for his life to begin in pain and death and to end partly on it. Debra was his only real support to become normal and the realization that her dead could be traced to him(partly his fault because he changed, old dexter would have kill him) was too strong. He lives a life of solitude and pain for the rest of his future, but this new Dexter would sacrifice his happiness for the women he loves and his son. He wont have to lie to the persons he loves especially Harrison. Real life doesn’t have all the endings tied up. I think is a logical ending, although people dislike it since isn’t happy, but how do you expect the life of a hugely traumatized psychopathic serial killer to end… ?? And also I’m from FL and in a hurricane you can go and steal a car and nobody would give a s*** …so him escaping with debra’s body is plausible

  26. So Showtime didn’t let the writers kill off Dexter, and that was the best they could do?! Give me a break! Sounds like scapegoating to me. The last show was horrible, even if they had to keep Dexter alive… they could’ve written a better ending than that crap!

    • Here’s the president of Showtime’s email incase you’d like to tell him how much you enjoyed it lol david.nevins@showtime.net

  27. The last episode aired in the Netherlands yesterday, Jan. 28th, 2014. IMO killing Dexter in the final episode would have been lame. The whole notion of “death as a not fitting enough punishment for him” is beside the point in a society that seems to glorify violence and justifiable killings. May well be a matter of cultural differences and taste, but I guess that people here are more satisfied with the sort of open ending the series climaxed into than people in the U.S. Life is not about Hollywood-like happy endings.

  28. I don’t have Showtime, but I’m a Netflix Dexter binge watcher who just finished the series. Did not like the finale. Don’t care about loose ends but they tried to pack too much crap into the episode and everything was rushed. They could’ve deleted the chase of Hannah by Elway and the dumbest U.S. marshall to ever exist. They could’ve had Debra’s shot kill Saxon even though she is mortally wounded. This would’ve eliminated the whole silly scene of Dexter stabbing him with a pen. I would’ve rather seen Dexter jump into the ocean with Debra’s body after declaring that she was his only true love (which is the truth if you think about it) than to see him resurface as a logger. They could’ve ended with Hannah finding out about Dexter’s death as Harrison calls out her name only to show her some small animal like a rabbit, kitten or bird that he has killed. Picture this – Harrison yelling, “Hannah, look!” with bloody hands and a sheepish grin while holding up his fresh kill. Fade to black!

  29. Dexter will forever be one of my favorite TV series, but that favor is based entirely on the first four, nearly-perfect seasons. Beginning with Season 5, the show’s writing began to suffer and each subsequent season grew progressively worse than the one before it. The last 4 seasons were so poorly executed that I choose to pretend of the S4 finale as its ending. When Dexter discovers a murdered Rita and baby Harrison crying, it’s all at once shocking, heartbreaking and grotesquely beautiful. Those final seconds are truly poetic. In one horrifying second, absolute despair washes over a man that, until that moment, was both comfortable and complacent in the role of “monster.” In that moment, Dexter realizes his humanity. He cannot escape it; the consequences of his “Dark Passenger” bring everything full circle. And in that moment, Dexter can no longer enjoy the luxury and apathy that came with the otherness of being that “monster.” If the show had ended then, it would’ve been just perfect. It would’ve been upsetting and yes, there would’ve been unanswered questions, but no one could’ve complained that the show had lost anything, let alone its impact and its lifeblood (no pun intended). No one could’ve accused the show of what ultimately became: an absolute clusterf**k failure of astronomical proportions! No smart viewer could ever convincingly defend an argument otherwise.

    In fact, I implore anyone to re-watch even just the brilliant perfection of Dexter’s pilot episode. For contrast and to fully grasp just exactly how bad s*** got, I implore everyone to watch any of the latter episodes directly after watching the pilot. Actually, I could say the same about any episode from the first 4 seasons compared to any episode from the last four seasons. I didn’t need, nor did I particularly want a “happy ending,” complete with a tidy bow. I’m not disappointed that Dexter lived and the ending didn’t fail for any ONE reason! The ending failed for EVERY reason. The finale lacks even one redeeming or noteworthy quality. Forget the lofty, ridiculous writing and just look at the gratuitously-poor quality of that last episode! If any finale was deserving of pulling out the stops and employing its huge budget, Dexter is one such show. In those last moments, it’s those ugly green screen bits that detract from everything, making the last moments downright tragically embarrassing. There’s absolutely no excuse. The finale of Dexter was an abysmal ending to an equally abysmal final season.