Here’s Why a ‘Dexter’ Spinoff is a Terrible Idea

Randy Tepper/Showtime

As Dexter‘s frustrating final season stumbles toward its end, like a finely-sauced Joey Quinn collapsing onto his waterbed after $2 beer night at Lucky Pete’s (Oh, you know he’s a regular), rumors of a ,spinoff have emerged.

During the recent Television Critics Association press tour, Showtime exec David Nevins hinted at the possibility of a Dexter spinoff that could air sometime after the show wraps for good later this year. Nevins didn’t drop any details about the proposed spinoff, so we still don’t know which Dexter characters would appear in it, or even if it would feature any of Dexter’s frenemies from Miami Metro Homicide. It’s also unclear if the spinoff would be a follow-up to Dexter or (shudder) a prequel. (Star Michael C. Hall had a quirky idea for a spinoff centering on Dexter’s son Harrison, which he joked about on Nerdist, but we’re pretty sure that’s not happening.)

What we do know is that Nevins and Showtime are anxious to work with current Dexter showrunner Scott Buck again. Buck recently inked a two-year overall deal with the network to develop new projects, and it’s likely that he would be the lead writer-producer behind any Dexter spinoff that may be in the works, which is our first sign of trouble.

As many Dexter fans are painfully aware, Buck is the guy who took over as showrunner after the series’ fifth season – which is largely considered to be the last season of Dexter that was worth watching – and has presided over what I’ve dubbed Dexter’s slow and painful death march, also known as the show’s last two-and-a-half seasons, which range in quality from mediocre to weak to … well, just watch this. So if Showtime wants Dexter fans to get excited about a proposed spinoff created by the guy who has essentially run the show into the ground … well, sorry, that probably ain’t happening.

Buck’s involvement isn’t the only reason a Dexter spinoff is a terrible idea. There are a number of reasons why expanding the franchise just wouldn’t work. Let’s start with the obvious …

Randy Tepper/Showtime
Randy Tepper/Showtime

Dexter is the only interesting character on the show. It’s been pretty clear since the early years that the dull supporting character subplots on Dexter are really just filler. They never go anywhere interesting, and they rarely have even the slightest tangential connection to the show’s main plot. Besides, I don’t think the world is clamoring for a Quinn-Batista buddy cop show or more of the awkward dynamic between Masuka and his breastaurant waitress daughter. These shallow characters and their fruitless stories mostly exist to give Hall a break – dude can’t be in every damn scene. So if we’re looking for characters with spinoff potential, let’s just count all of Miami Metro out, unless the spinoff would center on a special task force that arrives to investigate how these idiots manage to bungle a huge serial killer case every fucking year. So if Miami Metro is out, we’re left with Deb, Jamie, Vogel, and Deb’s new boss Jacob Elway, played by Sean Patrick Flanery. While I like the charming yet sleazy vibe Flanery brings to the show, his character only really works as a foil for Deb. Vogel only works as a slippery antagonist for Dexter, and Jamie … you’re kidding, right? That leaves us with Deb, but the possibility of a Deb-centered spinoff getting off the ground is pretty low because …

Randy Tepper/Showtime
Randy Tepper/Showtime

Jennifer Carpenter is no longer interested in playing Deb Morgan. As Nathan Collins pointed out earlier, Carpenter is pretty much done with Deb. She told Entertainment Weekly in June, “I’ve said it before and I will repeat it: I want the character to die … Every actor has to shed their character, shake the ghost off. It’s a real process. I really do love this character. [But] for my own well being, I need this story to have an ending.” It’s possible that Showtime could change Carpenter’s mind by offering her a fuck-ton of money to star in a spinoff, but who really wants to watch a show starring an actress who’d rather be doing something else? So if Carpenter isn’t interested in starring in The Deb Show, there is the possibility that the network could go the prequel route, which would be terrible, because …

Randy Tepper/Showtime

I’d rather you not ruin the Trinity Killer’s legacy, Scott Buck, thank you very much. Let’s face it — Showtime isn’t above exploiting Dexter’s Sopranos moment by producing a trite prequel series about one of it’s most exciting and interesting characters, Season 4’s Trinity Killer. The Trinity Killer is permanently etched into our minds thanks to a brilliant performance from John Lithgow, who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the role. Dexter’s conflict with Trinity made for a great, must-watch fourth season; it was epic, and the show has never been able to hit the same creative stride in the seasons that followed. But going back to Trinity, well, that would be a bummer, mostly because it’s unlikely that Lithgow would be up for playing a younger version of Arthur Mitchell in a full-fledged Trinity Killer TV series. And I don’t think anyone wants or needs to see a younger actor doing a riff on Lithgow’s performance in another anti-hero drama that’s shrewdly designed to hold on to Dexter’s inexplicably large viewership. But this probably won’t happen, because if Showtime does decide to make another anti-hero serial killer show, they’d probably make it about a character that’s still alive and kicking, like Hannah McKay.

Randy Tepper/Showtime

Actually, a show about Hannah McKay sounds kinda cool, but it probably wouldn’t work. While I love Yvonne Strahovski, her seductive performance can’t hide the inherent shittiness of Hannah’s storyline. The character is a mess, and the show has never been able to define some very basic things about Hannah in a satisfying way, like her motivations or goals or whether or not we should be rooting for her and Dexter to hook up. It’s doubtful Dexter will be able to make Hannah interesting or compelling enough to warrant her own series in the remaining four episodes. But Hannah isn’t the only serial killer character on Dexter with the slightest of spinoff potential. Over the last few episodes, the show has made a big deal about Dexter deciding to teach Harry’s code to a teen sociopath named Zach Hamilton, but you know what? …

Randy Tepper/Showtime

Fuck Zach Hamilton. No offense to actor Sam Underwood, who does a decent enough job playing Zach, but the character is so flat and obnoxious that sitting through his few minutes of screen time on Dexter feels like a chore. I can’t imagine that a show centered on Zach would be much fun to watch. And a show about a younger male serial killer using Dexter’s code to get away with his crimes is probably the laziest idea for a Dexter spinoff ever. I’d rather watch a show about Batista’s bar than a watered-down Dexter retread. Here’s hoping Zach and the idea of a Dexter spinoff end up where they both belong — on the kill table.

“Dexter,” the eighth and final season, airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.


  1. Hannah MKcKay would totally work:

    This season is highlighting “motherhood” and full circling Dexter’s initial parental-teacher themes originally presented in season one via Harry and Harry-DP with Doctor Vogal and ‘Oliver Saxon’….They could do it where Dexter gets into a situation where he buys others time and/or he can’t escape and Hannah is forced to run with Harrison!

    They have been playing up the Harrison loves Hannah ideas (“I want Hannah to be my mom”) and there is something in the finale, something that is bigger than all of them that connects to Laura Moser and may represent one cycle ending and another beginning.

    Additionally, they also did this thing where Jamie informs Dexter of Harrison’s imaginary elephant friend, “Dan…It may be a nod to the idiom: “An Elephant in the room” (Or an Elephant never forgets) hinting that we may not be out of the woods yet in terms of Harrison becoming a serial killer. It’s possible he could yet witness something, since now he is closer to Dexter’s age at the time he was traumatized and because they have given us several more parallels, such as Dexter drawing things like “zombies”, as Dr. Vogal approaches Dexter by showing him some of his childhood artwork….

    Hannah’s dream was to go to Argentina. Argentina is the perfect match in terms of keeping Dexter’s Miami feel, as it is also multiethnic, but with a lot of Latin aesthetic.

    Hannah also represents a “trinity” of the better traits of all the women Dexter was intimate with. She has sex appeal like Lila, Can be more honest and work together like Lumen, and is endearing like Rita. I also speculate that Hannah and the Orchid thing, along with the fact that Jim Beaver was cast as her father last season, may be a wink to reference to “Adaptation” (The Orchid Thief), as Hannah has expressed conversation about adaptation. A trinity may then represent divinity or perfection and then may relate to “survival of the fittest”, suggesting that Hannah is the one that is strong enough to survive and/or is meant to preserve something (Harrison —>Dexter’s legacy.)

    Hannah’s back story is fleshed out just enough for there be foundation, but yet there still is lot missing from her own back story, including not being able to actually see her relationship with Wayne Randall and how it actually was. Plus her mother is also a subject that seems to be left open for further explanation ..They also have given plenty of people who could be seeking her out and any Dexter series survivors could have potential to guess star.

    You have to wonder why they brought Hannah back and why they saved her story for the tali-end of the series. Hopefully not just another red hearing…

    • I disagree with everything this moron wrote. A critic is a critic because either he cannot write himself, and he wishes to criticize those who can. From the evolution of the character (read Lajos Egri’s Art of Dramatic Writing) to the charming development of the supporting cast, this series, including the final seasons have been engaging and entertaining. The ending was obviously a way to set up Dexter to continue on, but makes it’s end all the more painful. The relationship between Dex and Deb was the greatest fatal flaw of these characters…

  2. think a series focusing on Harrison as a teenager and who he became and how life is with Hannah. And maybe have a few episodes about who his father is but not focus on that. I think that would be kinda awesome.

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