TV's reboot culture has brought back some shows rather inexplicably in recent years, but the return of Showtime's Dexter makes sense in a number of ways. One is that it endures as one of the premium cable channel's most popular shows of all time. The other is that the original run of the series left fans with much to be desired. Serial-killer-with-a-code Dexter Morgan ending his run living in secret as a lumberjack in Oregon was not the ending that anyone wanted, and now executive producer Clyde Phillips is back to give the show a proper ending. The new ten episode "event series" picks up ten years after the events of the original finale, with Dexter still living in secret, in a different state.
There are only a handful of familiar characters returning in the new series, although one never knows who might be resurrected (pun intended) as the season progresses. Here's a guide to who's been announced and who they'll be playing in Dexter: New Blood:
We know him as Dexter Morgan, but to the folks in Iron Lake, NY, he's Jim Lindsay, a shopkeeper, friendly local, and not at all a murderous sociopath. Last we saw Dexter, he'd buried his sister Debra at sea, sent his girlfriend and son to Argentina, and faked his own death to go into hiding as a lumberjack in Oregon. In the ensuing ten years, Dexter has moved east to Upstate New York, where he's now apparently romantically involved with a cop. Whether he's been indulging in the odd murder every now and then or only finds himself drawn back into the serial killing life for the series remains to be seen. After making a name for himself on Six Feet Under, Michael C. Hall moved on to star in Dexter, a role that earned him five Emmy nominations and ten SAG nominations, winning one in 2010.
Character actor extraordinaire Clancy Brown plays antagonist Kurt Caldwell in the new series. The villains on Dexter tend to fall into one of two camps: they're either other serial killers who Dexter has to murder or they're law enforcement figures who are on to Dexter and threaten to expose him. When Brown's casting was announced, Kurt was described as a local businessman who some in town consider to be the unofficial mayor: "powerful, generous, loved by everyone, he’s a true man of the people. If he’s got your back, consider yourself blessed. But should you cross Kurt, or hurt anyone that he cares for… God help you." Brown is known for his role on HBO's Carnivale, guest appearances on Lost, and his role in The Shawshank Redemption. He's also, of course, the voice of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants.
Angela Bishop is the chief of police in Iron Lake, and she's also in a relationship with "Jim Lindsay." Should be interesting to see what happens if and when she realizes she's been in a relationship with Dexter Morgan. Julia Jones recently starred in Westworld and The Mandalorian, although she's likely best remembered for playing Leah Clearwater in the Twilight films.
Alano Miller starred in the WGN series Underground and had an arc as identical twins on Jane the Virgin. On Dexter: New Blood, he plays Logan, a police sergeant and the assistant wrestling coach for the local high school.
The only other crossover regular from the original Dexter cast, Jennifer Carpenter returns as Debra Morgan. Or, more likely, a version of Debra, given that the real Debra was shot and killed in the original series finale. Dexter made the decision to take Deb off life support and then dumped her body in the bay, a sign that he saw her death as his fault just as much as any of the other people he'd murdered.From what we've seen in the trailer, it looks like Debra could be playing a version of a voice in Dexter's head, much like his father Harry was in the show's original run. Carpenter was married to Michael C. Hall from 2008-2011; since Dexter ended, she's appeared on TV shows like Limitless and The Enemy Within.
Audrey is Angela Bishop's "brash and opinionated" teenage daughter. Previous to this role, Sequoyah played the lead role on NBC's short-lived Believe, about a supernaturally powered young girl.
Perhaps the most pivotal role in the Dexter reboot will be young Jack Alcott as Harrison Morgan, the son Dexter abandoned a decade ago. Last we saw him, Harrison was in the care of Dexter's serial killer girlfriend, Hannah. Dexter had planned to escape with them to Argentina, but after Debra's death, he bailed and faked his own death to spare Harrison any further collateral damage. Of course, when Harrison re-encounters his dad still alive a decade later, one imagines that there will be collateral damage to spare. Alcott most recently played Ethan Hawke's son in the acclaimed miniseries The Good Lord Bird.
Jamie Chung's first TV exposure was as a cast member on the San Diego season of The Real World. Since then, she's had roles in major films — Sucker Punch; Premium Rush — and TV shows, most notably playing Mulan on ABC's Once Upon a Time. She was also a series regular on Believe opposite Johnny Sequoyah. Chung plays a true crime podcaster from Los Angeles in the new series, and if the 2018 Halloween taught us anything about crime podcasters in horror properties, she's in danger.
You'll usually find agreement that the greatest storyline in the original run of Dexter was the season four clash between Dexter and Arthur Mitchell, better known as the Trinity Killer. A family man who hid a dark secret, Arthur was ultimately murdered by Dexter, but not before he could exact a terrible price, murdering Dexter's wife, Rita, and leaving their son on the bloody floor next to the tub with her corpse in it. It was heavy. Lithgow won a guest actor Emmy for his performance, so anticipation is high for his return in New Blood, even if he's only a terrible figment of Dexter's mind.
Dexter: New Blood premieres on Showtime Sunday, November 7 at 9:00 PM ET.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.