When looking for insight into any friendly neighborhood vigilante serial killer, it is bad form (and usually counter-productive) to ask the man himself, so Jo Ankier hit the blood-red carpet at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel to interrogate/chat with his (dead, ghost) father, friends, and co-workers about the keys to Dexter Morgan’s success so far. New cast member Edward James Olmos and returning co-stars James Remar, David Zayas, and C.S. Lee also offered some tantalizing sneak-peeks into what might be in store for them in the upcoming sixth season of the show, and they told Buzzine how they thought Showtime’s hit drama could or should eventually end…a long time from now…
Jo Ankier: Your character, Vince Masuka, seems to be the one in the show able to inject a little bit of humor into almost any situation: How do you handle that responsibility?
C.S. Lee: Well, I kind of leave it up to the writers. [Laughs] My job is easy; I just have to act it, and it’s really our writers that come up with the good stuff. When they start somewhere and come up with a good line, sometimes I’ll add a word or two, or change it up a little bit, but it has to start with something, and it’s the writers that really come up with the good writing.
JA: What about experimenting with the kinky side of things? Is that something you had… prior experience in, or has this been a bit of fun for you?
CSL: It’s easy because that was my prior life. Indeed, I was a male escort, so I had a lot of material to draw from. In fact, you look familiar, actually… No? Oh, maybe I’m wrong… [smiles]
No, it’s fun. It’s a fun character to play, and I think, in every circle of friends – even in your circle, I bet – there’s that one guy, or even that one girl out there that tends to be sort of the sexual cat. So I think we all have one of those guys.
JA: You’ve been in the show since the very beginning. Realistically, how long do you think Dexter can last?
CSL: Honestly, I think it can last probably another five years… Ten years? Is that too much? That’s crazy. I mean, I’m sure I’ll be dead by then…
JA: If Dexter does get caught, how would you personally like to see it happen?
CSL: I’ve always said this to Michael [C. Hall]: I don’t want him to get caught, honestly. I think if he goes out, it’s got to be something totally unpredicted, totally out of the ordinary. Like he’s walking down the street and a statue falls over and bonks him on the head or he gets hit by a bus: Something totally pedestrian. I don’t think Dexter should get caught. I think you should leave the audience with something… Maybe he should just walk off into the sunset, like Bruce Banner from The Incredible Hulk.
JA: We’re here tonight celebrating Season 5. What was your favorite episode of the season?
CSL: I think when the barrel girls – those girls that were stuffed in those barrels – when that came out, that was pretty horrific. That’s pretty scary to watch when you’re all by yourself at home, and I think my wife got pretty freaked out.
JA: Well, Detective Sergeant Batista, It seems there might be some clues that this show could be nearing its end…
David Zayas: Why do you say that? Why do you say the show could be nearing its end? I don’t know; it could be just beginning, you never know.
JA: Then again, every season it seems like it’s teasing us that way: How long do you think it should last?
DZ: [Laughs] I don’t know. Twenty years? I don’t know. I mean, that’s not for me to say. I think that as long as they keep reinventing the show every year in an interesting way, then who knows how long it can go? But I know that every year has been really a lot of fun, and I’ve never come in a year of Dexter saying, “Oh, this again?” No, it’s always exciting, I’m always interested to know what the next episode brings, and that’s good. That’s good to be interested in that.
JA: Do you think Dexter deserves a happy ending?
DZ: [Laughs] Be careful what you say about that. Again, as long as it’s interesting and it’s real…
JA: The side-story of Season 5 was your relationship with LaGuerta. Are there any more relationship twists and turns to look forward to next season?
DZ: I’ll tell you this: the sixth season starts a year after the last episode that the fifth season ends, so there’s a lot of changes, and you might find a lot of different paths to that relationship – maybe not all good.
JA: Why do you think the fans were so opposed to that relationship?
DZ: I don’t know if they were or not. I don’t really read all of the posts. But sometimes people just see characters one way, and whenever there’s a huge change in the journey of that character, sometimes people, I guess, resist it. But I like that storyline. I think it was interesting to watch a Latino couple in a show in a marriage, and the dynamics of them working together, and how that affected their relationship. I found it interesting.
JA: On a slightly different note, the president of Showtime recently said there will be a ‘Dan Brown’ vibe next season. What do you think he mean by that?
DZ: I think it all has to do with the religious aspect of fanaticism that’s probably going to have a tone for this season coming up. Maybe that’s it.
JA: Finally, what do you think has been the reason for the success of this show?
DZ: I think it is the ongoing development of each character specifically, and mostly Dexter and how he’s dealing with life as it comes to him – not as he’s creating it, but as things happen in life how he deals with it with the defect that he has, and I think that makes it an interesting concept, as well as just having great writers that keep writing these amazing stories.
EDWARD JAMES OLMOS
JA: You’re coming into the new season of Dexter as a religious university professor. How do you feel about mixing the concept of religion with the character of a serial killer?
Edward James Olmos: I think you get really very dark and very difficult storylines. And I think that people will find that this is a very intense season. Anytime you mix good and evil, you’re gonna get yourself a really incredibly difficult journey.
JA: How do you think the fans might react, especially the religious fans?
EJO: I don’t know if there are religious fans who watch the show. If there are religious fans who watch the show, then they’ll be able to handle it.
JA: Dexter has been crossing the line a little bit, from being the “good” serial killer to killing for his own survival. Is there a point where his conscience might get the better of him, do you think?
EJO: I think you should ask that really quickly to the writers, because they’re about the only ones who know anything. The only way we ever learn anything is at the table-reads. That’s the day before we start filming the episodes.
JA: Do you think Dexter deserves a happy ending?
EJO: No. [Laughs].
JA: Have you been a fan of the show for a long time?
EJO: No, I learned about the show when I got involved with it. I saw every single episode, and it was probably the most intense show that I’ve seen on television. Between that and True Blood, it gets to be pretty intense. Very dark.
JA: With that fresh perspective, what do you think is the key to the success of the show?
EJO: The relationship of the character of Dexter and the audience. They really can relate to him. And I think it has a lot to do with the vigilantism – the fact that he takes out people who need to be taken out. All those issues. And plus, he’s an excellent actor…
JA: How do you think the relationship between Dexter and his father has developed over the course of the show, as we go now into Season 6?
James Remar: Harry is more of a companion to Dexter now. We’re out of the flashback mode, where Harry and Dexter were talking father-and-son and learning the lessons and establishing the Code and that sort of thing. Now Dexter is an adult; he’s a father, and the lessons that he and Harry worked on so hard are beginning to echo in his mind and guide him, because he is psychologically challenged.
Dexter has some demons, and I think that’s part of what people relate to so much – Dexter’s demons and his real need and his energy to carry those impulses out, but also that he does it on strict guidelines. And I think, as sons mature, they become more like their dads, and whereas before they want to rebel against them, now they begin to shape themselves after them, and it’s kind of beautiful.
JA: Do you think this role has the potential to ultimately guide Dexter to that feeling?
JR: Sure. I think that may very well have been part of the intent all along. Because the bottom line is that Harry loves Dexter, and Dexter loves Harry.
JA: Dexter’s relationship with his own son, Harrison, is obviously evolving…
JR: Little boys will grow up.
JA: As your character, what kind of advice would you give him for his son on how to incorporate a new generation into all of this?
JR: That’s gonna be very interesting. What do you want to pass on to your son and what don’t you? I believe that most of what is passed on, from fathers to sons, is unconscious, and Harrison is going to pick up on a lot of stuff. That may be fodder for Dexter’s healing, and it may be fuel for Harrison’s rebellion. Who knows? It really could go anywhere.
JA: Finally, there’s a handful of Emmy nominations…
JR: Isn’t that nice? Just a handful. [Laughs]
JA: What do you think your chances are? What ones particularly would you like to win this year?
JR: Well all of them, of course. I want to see Michael win. I think that he deserves it. And if I have to go down my list, naturally I want to see the show win, because that means we all win. And then of course I want to see Julie [Benz] win, and then our sound and our other crew… Any win is a win for Dexter, but the big win, obviously, is the show, and the other big win is Michael.
Season 5 of Dexter is out now on Blu-ray and DVD, and Season 6 premieres Sunday, October 2, 2011 on Showtime at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.