SDCC ’13 Recap: ‘Dexter’ Panel

By July 19, 2013

It’s been eight years, and the cast of ‘Dexter’ is ready to say a reluctant goodbye.

They grace the screen above, intermixed with footage of the show’s best moments, and John Lithgow thanks Dexter fans everywhere for recognizing him as a psychopath wherever he goes.

Saying goodbye isn’t easy. Take it from three people who know. Julie Benz (Rita), Erik King (Doakes), and Lauren Vélez (LaGuerta) are back for the show’s final panel at Comic Con. Erik jokes that Doakes isn’t really dead; the fans have kept him alive for the past six years. (And really, he hasn’t aged a day since!) Julie recounts the difficult process of mourning her character; because Rita’s death came suddenly, she felt ill-prepared. After all, whenever a previous character she’d played had died, they could be resurrected ala Darla in Angel.

Lauren echoes the difficulty Julie had letting go. Even though she had a feeling LaGuerta’s time would be up the minute she was promoted to captain, it was still difficult–“like losing someone very suddenly.” Even so, she loved doing her final scene. “The writing for that final episode was so beautiful and so intense,” she says, and she wanted to “stay in the zone” and soak it in as much as possible, because she knew it wouldn’t last.

Jennifer Carpenter (Deb) has a very different outlook on character deaths. She wants Deb to die, in order to have closure; otherwise, she fears, she’ll wake up in eight years and demand the writers give her a new scene so that she knows what happens to Deb!

Michael C. Hall (Dexter) agrees. It’s nice when a character gets to die; the actor can put them to bed that way.

Erik laughs at the notion that Doakes might have remained onboard for the show’s full run; he knew he had to die to maintain the integrity of the character. After all, he says with a laugh, “I can’t go for eight years saying ‘I’m watching you.'”

Desmond Harrington (Quinn) jokes that no one expected Quinn to “live for more than a year.” Being Deb’s boyfriend is like wearing a red shirt on Star Trek–everyone ends up mutilated or murdered. Still, Quinn’s alive and kicking, and, according to Harrington, “he’s a good [yet] corrupt guy, but he has his own little code of stuff he will or won’t do.”

Yvonne Strahovski (Hannah) is flustered. Two years in a row at SDCC, she isn’t allowed to talk about her character. Tongue-tied, she accidentally lets slip the words, “Who knows if her revenge…” She backtracks. “I mean, if her motivation will be revenge.” The audience roars with laughter; Yvonne hides her face behind her placard.

Michael is humorous as ever. “I really need to focus on some rituals to get out [of character],” he muses. “After a certain point, it becomes second nature. I just gotta figure out how to…stop.”

David Zayas (Batista) expresses a feeling of camaraderie, not just with his fellow cast mates, but with the fans. “It feels like home when someone comes up and recognizes me.”

Michael, apparently, has a fantastic work ethic, and Erik gives him a heart-felt thank you. Being around Michael made him want to do the best work he could. Meanwhile, Desmond admits that he’d come from a more relaxed environment and, like Quinn, actually got a call telling him to shape up.

Everyone wants Jennifer’s name tag; one man comes up to the stand and asks for it for his too-shy girlfriend. When the panel ends, Desmond will toss his into the crowd, but before that can happen, the panelists tell us what they swiped from the set.

Apparently, Jennifer stole everything, including a prop that Michael really wanted. He did, however, get Dexter’s watch and lanyard…and a nine foot part of Dexter’s railing, that he plans to put in his backyard as a fence.

Aimee grabbed Jamie’s necklace, Desmond took all of Quinn’s (faux) gold accessories, Yvonne took the black orchid, and David stands up and points to his hat and shirt–items stolen from set!

Will there be a Harrison spin off? Michael has a suggestion: In 25 years, there will be a new series called ‘Harrison.’ “Dexter will have died, and I’m gonna be his dead internalized father.”

Skirting the do-not curse rule as best he can, Erik reveals that he’s wearing a “Surprise, Mother F****r” shirt!

Lauren tears up while thanking the audience, and Jennifer says it best. It can’t be a wrap until all the fans are there, in Hall H at SDCC, saying goodbye to the show with them.