Julie Benz Returns as Rita on ‘Dexter,’ Season 5

Julia Stiles has also been attached to the cast

The finale for season 4 of Showtime’s “Dexter” can easily be described as one of the most gruesome, shocking and unexpected ever in the history of television – at least, that’s how many fans of the show saw it. The wife of the main character, Dexter, is found slain in a bathtub full of blood – not only was Rita a fixture on the show, but she was also one of the few things that kept Dexter human, which explains the sense of regret many felt at her demise.

The good news is that, according to scoop Michael Ausiello of The Ausiello Files got, Julie Benz will return as Rita in at least one episode of season 5. No confirmation of this has yet been made (nor will it be, for that matter), but sources familiar with the production say Julie has already signed on the dotted line and made all the necessary arrangements that shooting for “Dexter” does not interfere with her other contractual obligations. How Rita will be brought back from the dead continues to remain a mystery.

“Benz […] has signed on to reprise her role as Dexter’s late bride in the first episode of season 5 (debuting this fall). Specific details of Rita’s ‘resurrection’ are being kept under wraps, but I’m told she is not coming back from the dead. New showrunner / executive producer Chip Johannessen also rules out a spectral visit a la Dexter’s late pa, Harry. ‘We’re not going to do some ghostly thing with her,’ he says. Adds fellow exec producer Sara Colleton: ‘We reserve those for Harry. If you have too many things like that it becomes gimmicky.’ So how exactly will Benz […] be revived? A Showtime rep would only add that the presence of Rita will ‘help Dexter deal with his newfound feelings of loss and grief – emotions he has never really felt before’,” Ausiello reports.

A special appearance will also allow fans to say their good-bye and come to terms with the fact that Rita is not coming back, it is also being said. In fact, what made the season finale so shocking was precisely the fact that it was so unexpected it left no room for closure. However, one must note that the matter of bringing Rita back must be handled with the utmost care for “Dexter” set quite a precedent for itself when it killed her off, therefore fans would not event take a course that they had spotted miles away. Another insight on the upcoming season is that Julie Stiles will also be joining the cast, the same Ausiello reports.

“Stiles won’t be following in the footsteps of last season’s very scary guest star, John Lithgow. ‘We’re not going to have a single Big Bad this season,’ revealed Johannessen. ‘We don’t want to try and top John Lithgow, so we’re going to change up the forces that Dexter’s going to be dealing with.’ Given that the new season picks up immediately following the death of Rita, it’s also unlikely Stiles will be coming in as a love interest for Michael C. Hall’s grieving widower. Maybe she’s playing Rita’s long-lost sister. Or her cousin once removed. The only thing I know for sure is that the Dexter gig would mark Stiles’ first major foray into television. Smart first step, if you ask me,” Ausiello writes.

Season 5 of “Dexter,” a show about a serial killer / vigilante doubling as a blood spatter analyst within the Miami police force by day, debuts on Showtime in September 2010. Keep an eye on this space for more inside info on it.

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