Was Deb developing romantic feelings for Dexter always part of the show’s grand plan?
It was something we realized very early on. It was not necessarily a plan, but it was something we all felt was in the DNA of that character. It just sort of made sense when we started to examine why she was the way she was. It wasn’t necessarily something we were always working towards, but when we examined it it seemed — at least on some sort of subconscious level — like that’s the direction it had always been going.
Was there a debate in the writers room about whether to go there? You must’ve known it would be controversial.
It came up several years ago. We thought about it, then dismissed it, but it would always come up again year after year after year. So it just felt like there was this big story there that we were denying.
And why now?
It just seemed so inevitable. There was no particular reason why this year, except that it felt like we had been ignoring it.
The fact that Deb knows Dexter’s secret — well, part of his secret. She only saw him killone person. And one murder does not a serial killer make.
Correct. But Deb has absolutely without a doubt seen Dexter commit a ritual kill. We’re not teasing the audience or jerking the audience around.
Deb came close to discovering Dex’s “dark passenger” in the Season 5 finale. Why not pull the trigger on it then as opposed to postponing it for another season?
I wasn’t running the show at the time so I didn’t have the opportunity to pull the trigger. But again, it was because of things like that that it felt like we had teased the audience to a point that was not quite right anymore. It felt like time to be more honest with the situation.
The episode hinted at the possible departure of Desmond Harrington’s Quinn. Will he be back?
Do you pay attention to what critics are saying and writing?
I’ve seen some but not all.
So it probably doesn’t come as a shock that it was a polarizing season. I wanted to throw out some of the bigger criticisms. First off, many felt Travis wasn’t a scary enough villain. He seemed almost cartoonish at times. How do you respond to that?
We never meant for him to be cartoonish. We meant for him to be complicated in a way so that you might have mixed feelings for him. You would generally feel sympathy or empathy for this man before fully realizing who he was. And once you do realize who he was, does that really make the issue that much different? Is he really that much more in control then if Professor Gellar had been real.
Do you feel like your villains are doomed to disappoint after Trinity?
I don’t feel that way. Obviously, John was fantastic and set a very high standard for us. But there are all kinds of villains out there. They don’t need to all be scary in the same way.
There were a fair number of viewers that saw the Gellar twist coming. Was that ever a concern?
I really wasn’t that concerned, because if people guessed the twist, it really wasn’t the major arc of the season. Dexter has always been a show much more about character. It was always more interesting to see how this revelation affects Dexter, rather then, “Oh, I guessed it.” It didn’t seem that important an idea that it had to be so completely hidden from the audience.
Finally, the reaction to a possible Deb-Dexter romance seems more negative than positive. There’s a genuine ick factor there. Will that impact how far you take the storyline in the final two seasons?
No. I’m not aware that there’s an ick factor, but that’s certainly not going to affect where we go with that story.
Safe to say Season 7 will pick up right where Season 6 left off?
I think we’ll most likely be picking up exactly where we left off, or somewhere close to there.