The crowd that gathered for the Paley Festival panel on Wednesday, March 7 was fairly normal looking, kept to themselves, and you know, were quiet. You’d never think that this would be a gathering of bloodthirsty fans who came out to honor Showtime’s serial killer drama Dexter.
Strangely, there was a sense of frustration with the proceedings. Since the first stellar season ended months ago, the crowd was raring for any crumbs about what came next. Unfortunately, the producers were fairly mum about Season Two, which would begin shooting May 21st and air on Sept. 30.
Even the traditional Museum of Television and Radio clip that was offered to kick off the evening was rather predictable: a clip from Six Feet Under of Michael C. Hall’s character working on the corpse of his father. With the museum’s vast archives, couldn’t they have come up with something more obscure, yet appropriate? Like anything else to do with serial killers, ice trucks, police forces, blood, etc.?
Regardless, the night offered fans a few insights about how the stars felt about their characters, the show and a behind-the-scenes activities.
Hall: (how his Six Feet Under character David Fisher compares to Dexter) I relate to them both. That’s my job. Dexter is a bit more of a go-getter.
Executive producer Clyde Phillips: In the pilot, Dexter says he’s empty, but he’s not. He’s like the coffee press. Everything is pushed down, but sometimes something gets to him and it comes bubbling up, like his feelings for children and Deb.
THE OTHER CAST
James Remar: (regarding Harry Morgan’s odd morality) We develop a code to live by. We all have a killer inside of us. And Harry confesses to Dexter that 10 years ago he would have put him away, but now he feels differently. He takes a different tack. I don’t think it’s that unusual. You have to justify playing this if the guy’s actually supposed to be sane. Dads send their boys off to kill all the time. He found him and fell in love, and his love is unconditional.
Jennifer Carpenter: Deb, she’s not mono-dimensional; She’s strong sometimes; but sometimes she’s a child, sometimes she’s a partner, sometimes she’s a lover, sometimes she’s a fighter. … I’m eager to see what’s next for her. Something real is about to start for her. (Will Deb start dating Doakes?) In Rudy’s death, Deb springs into life … but she’ll look to her brother first and then maybe think about dating after.
Lauren Velez: (Why Lt. Laguerta butts heads with Deb) Deb represent this thing in this country that she’ll never be; It’s the fight of women of color; Deb got her position because of nepotism, her father.
BEHIND THE SCENES
– There were few problems with cracking up during takes because there was a "solemnity to it," especially the scenes where a real person was used to act as a corpse, versus just prosthetic parts. The one exception was C.S. Lee, who plays the bald Vince Masuka. In one particular scene, Masuka stands up from examining a corpse, pauses and comments, "I’m hungry."
Hall: C.S.’ ad libs are different every time. When he said, "I’m hungry," that was the only take that I didn’t laugh. (later, Hall jokes that the show will have a sitcom spin-off called Masuka!)
– Parents will be happy to know that all children on set are shielded from the subject matter as much as possible. Not only are they always accompanied by a parent, but are also ushered out of the room during the gorier/sensitive scenes at cast readings. Executive producer Daniel Cerone had one odd moment when the mother of his son’s friend called about a Dexter casting session. Her son was going out for a part, and she wanted background info. Since the role was basically baby boy Dexter sitting in a room of blood crying, Cerone urged her not to let her son try out.
REACTIONS FROM FANS
Hall: If anybody yelped when they saw me, I’d know they had skeletons in their closet.
Erik King (Doakes): I’d get messages that said, "I’m watching you, motherf***er!"
Carpenter: (Re: attending a WWF event) In the back the huge wrestlers would come up and say "I love Dexter." All these big, greasy bodies. That was fun.
David Zayas (Batista): I was in line at the market and this guy turned around and said, "Dude, what’s up with your wife?"
Cerone: [Next season will focus on] Dexter’s search for meaning. Who am I? What that comes down to is the question of good and evil. What is his purpose? That’s going to be our guiding light this season.
– Everybody from the cast will be back next season. Lee, who plays Masuka, will return as a regular.
– The second season will not be based on the second book, Dearly Departed Dexter, instead, the production will rely on their own story arcs. This was good news for King, whose character Doakes gets all of his limbs cut off along with his nose, ears and tongue in the novel. "It would be really hard to act that."
Moderator Kristin Veitch made one more plea to the producers to reveal something meaty about Season Two but was rebuffed by Phillips: "If we told you, Dexter would have to kill you."