Clyde Phillips explains why series went so off the rails in its final season
“Dexter” ended its 8-year run on Showtime with the episode “Remember the Monsters?,” dubbed by fans the worst, lamest series ending since “Seinfeld.” Former showrunner Clyde Phillips, who handled the series until season 4 (including), says he had another idea in mind for the big finale.And it certainly did not involve so many absurdities as this one did.
Scott Buck was showrunner for season 8 and, according to Phillips in a recent Q&A with fans cited by Uproxx, what he did wrong was allowing writers to forget what made Dexter so special in the first place.
*Those who have not seen season 8 / series finale, are encouraged not to read any further, because major spoilers are included.*
Dexter Morgan of the Miami Police Department was never just another serial killer: he was a killer by need and one who conducted his killings in such a manner that guaranteed he would never get caught. Dexter had a code and he always played by it.
Somehow, writers forgot about that in the last seasons, particularly the eighth.
“I think the show lost the confidence of the viewers by breaking the code it had so carefully set up with the audience. Also, I think Dexter, the character, got a bit sloppy and suddenly we didn’t recognize him anymore,” Clyde says.
He insists that he’s not trying to point fingers, he just gives his opinion as a fan.
Speaking with E!, he reveals he had a different ending in mind and, as you will probably agree, it would have been better than the one we got: more believable, more satisfying, truer to the nature of “Dexter.”
Here’s how Clyde describes it:
“In the very last scene of the series, Dexter wakes up. And everybody is going to think, ‘Oh, it was a dream.’ And then the camera pulls back and back and back and then we realize, ‘No, it’s not a dream.’ Dexter’s opening his eyes and he’s on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They’re just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery.
“And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed—including the Trinity Killer and the Ice Truck Killer (his brother Rudy), LaGuerta who he was responsible killing, Doakes who he’s arguably responsible for, Rita, who he’s arguably responsible for, Lila. All the big deaths, and also whoever the weekly episodic kills were. They are all there.
That’s what I envisioned for the ending of Dexter. That everything we’ve seen over the past eight seasons has happened in the several seconds from the time they start Dexter’s execution to the time they finish the execution and he dies. Literally, his life flashed before his eyes as he was about to die. I think it would have been a great, epic, very satisfying conclusion.”
Instead of that, fans got a rushed ending that saw Deb die, Dex ride off into a cheap-looking GCI storm, Hannah flee with Harrison to Argentina, and Dexter not dying to become a lumberjack, all narrated in a style that made fans think everyone involved on the series was eager to get off work and go home.