Michael C. Hall is back for some bloodthirsty kills again in Dexter: New Blood but the serial killer now has a secret new life, which is about to unravel spectacularly.
We were lucky to catch up with Michael for a chat about the eight-part series which has its US release date on Showtime on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 9 pm and then airs in the UK from Monday, Nov. 8 on Sky Atlantic at 10.05 pm.
Eight years after the original series of Dexter wrapped, the famous ‘friendly’ serial killer played by Michael C Hall is back in this much-anticipated new season. Over the show’s previous eight series from 2006 to 2013, which saw it garner two Golden Globes and 24 Emmy nominations, viewers discovered that Dexter Morgan was no ordinary killer. Yes, he had a craving to kill, brought about by issues in his childhood. However, he learned to control his murderous urges by only killing bad guys, especially criminals he knew had gotten away with murder themselves. And Dexter’s killing spree went on for years, as he knew how to cover up his crimes because he worked for the forensics team at Miami Police Dept so he was always a step ahead of the police investigations, many of which involved his detective sister Debra, played by Hall’s ex-wife Jennifer Carpenter.
The series had a number of notable guest stars playing serial killers also working in the Miami area, including Julia Stiles, Colin Hanks, Edward J Olmos and Golden-Globe winning John Lithgow as the fourth season’s ‘Trinity Killer’ who murdered Dexter’s wife Rita by whom he had a baby Harrison. By the end of the eighth series, however, things had gone wrong for Dexter, and it seemed he was about to be caught for his murders. His sister Debra was also murdered due to his miscalculations. At the end of the last episode, Dexter fled Miami during a hurricane, ending up in a remote mountainous area, leaving his young son Harrison to be brought up by his ex-girlfriend Hannah (a serial poisoner).
It was a much-criticized ending that Michael C. Hall addresses in our recent Zoom call, in which he also tells us more about the return of Dexter Morgan in Dexter: New Blood...
Michael C. Hall on the 'mystifying and infuriating' ending of the last season of 'Dexter' in 2013...
Michael C. Hall told us: "When the last series ended, I felt sad for Dexter as it was just such a profoundly sad place he was in. The finale was at best mystifying to people, if not confounding and infuriating. We didn’t hear from Dexter at the end. We’d been accustomed to hearing from him and he didn’t let us in on what the hell was happening with him, he just disappeared, grew a beard and started chopping down trees apparently which was pretty dissatisfying for fans of the show. But that ending did certainly set the stage for a return in Dexter: New Blood where we could more definitively answer the question of what ultimately happens to Dexter."
Michael C. Hall on Dexter Morgan living as Jim Lindsey, in Iron Lake, upstate New York
In Dexter: New Blood we discover that Dexter Morgan is living under an assumed name James ‘Jim’ Lindsey in the small fictional upstate New York town of Iron Lake, where he works behind the counter of a shop selling hunting and fishing gear. In fact, these days ‘Jim’ is a keen huntsman and lives in a small lodge in the wilderness. He has a new girlfriend Angela Bishop (The Mandalorian’s Julia Jones) who happens to be Iron Lake’s Chief of Police. He seems happy as Christmas is approaching in the first episode, then his past begins to creep back into his life as the town is hit by some baffling missing person's cases. It’s not long before his "Dark Passenger" — as he calls it — comes to the fore again and his dead sister Debra appears to him in visions giving him warnings…
Michael C. Hall says: "‘Despite living under an assumed name and pretending to be someone he’s not, he’s making as legitimate an attempt to be a normal person and to have real relationships. He wants to have a life that’s as full as he can manage while being abstinent from killing. He even says he’s in a place that is, relatively speaking, without temptation. That’s part of its appeal of Iron Lake. At the same time, he’s in a relationship with Iron Lake’s chief of police who’s a single mum… I mean... he can’t help it. One way or another he just has to be tasting the chaos that he’s avoiding, if that makes any sense."
Michael C. Hall on the return of Dexter's teenage son Harrison
‘Jim Lindsey’ of course can’t fully escape his past life as Dexter Morgan. His dead sister Debra appears to him in visions and vivid dreams, giving him blunt advice, sometimes quite scarily. Back in Miami, Dexter was the single father of a young Harrison, whose mother Ria was brutally murdered by the Trinity Killer. After fleeing Florida, Dexter left Harrison with his stepmom Hannah (a serial poisoner) but, in the first episode, ‘Jim’ is thoroughly thrown when Harrison, now a teenager and played by Jack Alcott, arrives in Iron Lake to find him. Harrison is demanding answers about his dad’s decision to leave him.
But how can Jim/Dexter admit anything about the ‘monster’ inside him? Plus, he’s wondering if his son could be inheriting the same tendencies. Add into the mix that Jim/Dexter makes his first kill in 10 years in the opening episode, it looks like Jim/Dexter’s quiet, unassuming life in Iron Lake could be about to unravel…
Michael C. Hall says: "It’s a wild thing we do as actors, jumping into something with relative strangers to do whatever is required for the drama, but I was truly thankful that Jack Alcott was so incredibly talented as an actor, with fantastic instincts,’ says Hall. ‘He certainly plays Harrison as someone you totally believe is Rita and Dexter’s child grown into a teenager. A lot of the chemistry that existed between us on set was intuitive and unspoken. In a way, the characters are feeling one another out and are very familiar in one way but also profoundly unfamiliar. I was just glad to be sharing those scenes with a young actor who was just so good."
Michael C. Hall on the new snowy setting of Iron Lake in Dexter: New Blood
Michael C. Hall has also been excited about the show’s new setting in the snowy mountains and wilderness of Iron Lake, in upstate New York — as opposed to the humidity and heat of Miami in the previous seasons.
Jim/Dexter is a huntsman who has a healthy respect for nature and animals. So, he's not keen on the rich playboy intruders who come up to Iron Lake for fun and show none of the same respect. Of course, that means showdown time!
“It was really nice to be in a wintery mountainous environment that was contextually so different, even antithetical, to what Dexter and myself were accustomed to," says Hall. "It helped to reinforce the change that’s internally been happening with the character and the time that’s passed, plus it was a lot of fun to film in the snow."
Michael C. Hall on bringing back 'Dexter' in terms of the show's ethics
Michael C. Hall says: "I never imagined the show to be one that advocated the serial killer life, it certainly depicted someone who was taking unique responsibility in his very outside-the-box sense of ethics. I think one of the things that Dexter is in the process of discovering as we rejoin him is that you cannot run away from your past and one way or another you’ll face it. We encounter him at a time when he’s forced to face his past and I think his appetite for having a more authentic experience of life is nice and everything, but that’s not something that really goes hand in hand with killing people."
Michael C. Hall on the music in 'Dexter: New Blood' and working with David Bowie, towards the end of his life
Michael C. Hall worked with David Bowie for the stage musical Lazarus before the legendary singer's death. "Working with David Bowie was a highlight, not just of my career, but of my life," admits Hall. "Being charged with embodying that character in a production that was a part of the final artistic flourish of his life was humbling and really incredible and I think it led to me pursuing music more in earnest than I otherwise would have done. He was one of the seminal artists of the last century and such a genuinely kind and enthusiastic person, so yeah it was amazing."
There's a great opening sequence in Dexter: New Blood, with an Iggy Pop classic playing on Dexter's car radio. "The use of Iggy Pop's The Passenger was originally something our writer Scott Reynolds suggested, and of course Dexter has his 'Dark Passenger' so you know it felt right."
Watch Michael C. Hall performing with the original New York Cast of Lazarus below...
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