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DEC
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2 YEARS

'Dexter' Finale Preview: What's the 'Big Ticking Bomb in the Background'?

Executive producer Sara Colleton weighs in on what's in store for everyone at Miami Metro ahead of Sunday's season–ender.

Dexter Carpenter Hall Season 6 - H 2011
Showtime
"Dexter's" Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall

Going into Sunday’s Dexter season finale, the Miami blood-splatter analyst with a Dark Passenger was seriously underwater having been left in a literal ring of fire after Travis (Colin Hanks), aka the Doomsday Killer, snaked his boat and left him in the middle of the sea.

With the Showtime drama already renewed for two additional seasons and Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) honing her instincts as she leads the department, how will Dexter (Michael C. Hall) get out of this? Could Quinn (Desmond Harrington), who’s been spiraling out of control since Deb rejected his marriage proposal, pull it all together? How will Angel’s (David Zayas) capture and near death at the hands of Travis change him? And what about too-good-to-be-true intern Louis (Josh Cooke)?

With Miami Metro hot on the hunt – and getting a secret, not so discrete assist from Dexter – The Hollywood Reporter caught up with executive producer Sara Colleton to discuss what’s ahead for Sunday’s episode.

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DEXTER
Last seen swimming out from the Travis’ last tableau, the finale picks up immediately. “You can’t leave Dexter stranded out at sea without picking up right there,” Colleton tells THR, noting that this finale will take a more “eccentric path” than previous season-enders. “Dexter is really stymied in what has happened and it causes him to have a long dark night of the soul in the ocean.”

Once back on dry land, Dexter will continue as he has been this season working with Miami Metro in bringing down the DDK. “It’s not about some mano a mano thing between Dexter and Trinity (John Lithgow), Dexter and Lila (Jamie Murray), or Dexter and another character; it’s something that has repercussions,” Colleton says, noting that Dexter is playing it “cards up” because of the scale of Travis’ plan. “He’s working in conjunction with Miami Metro rather than on his own. He’s doing everything in his power to make Miami Metro and Deb bring in the Doomsday Killer, rather than wanting to hide information from them so he can have that pleasure to himself. This year is very much a change of character in that he’s working with them. He realizes it’s too big and he can’t risk the collateral damage.”

Which would explain Dexter’s very un-Dexter-like sloppiness this season in having sent Travis a video message and calling in an anonymous tip without disguising his voice. “Everything eventually will catch up with Dexter,” Colleton says. “We know we have the two final years so we will come to terms with all of the things we have been putting off. The main one is when and how Debra will find out Dexter’s true nature.”

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DEBRA
After having dreams – nightmares? – where she smooched her brother after her therapist suggested she could have romantic feelings for Dexter, she could return to the proverbial sofa. “How Deb is going to ultimately interpret this dream remains to be seen,” Colleton says. “She could easily go back to therapy.”

Meanwhile, Deb has continued grow into an all-star detective despite having been promoted to lieutenant for less than ideal intentions. It’s that evolution that Colleton says makes Deb finding out about her brother’s extracurricular activities that much more compelling. “We have two years to figure that out, so it’s not necessarily something that needs to be said in this finale,” Colleton says of the big reveal.

“We want to lay the groundwork to have the most interesting way into examining how Deb will react,” says Colleton, with Deb letting Lumen escape in last year’s finale serving as an example of the character’s deeper complexities. “If we hadn’t evolved Deb, then there could only be one reaction, which is horror and arrest, and end of story, which indeed may be the case. It just allows us to have a more complicated character who has to deal with it in a more nuanced way.”

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TRAVIS
So is Travis Dexter’s ultimate foil having escaped the serial killer with a code’s table and left him in such dire straits? Colleton certainly thinks so. “He’s so much more terrifying than Trinity in that he’s insane but he’s insane with a base in belief,” she says of the religious fanatic. “One of the earlier episodes with Brother Sam (Mos) where Sam was saying people may be crazy but don’t ever knock their beliefs when they have that kind of iron clad faith. It’s a very hard foe for Dexter to come up against when Dexter realizes the full extent of his maniacal belief that what he’s doing is right.”

LOUIS
The nerdy intern with a freaky hero worship thing for Dexter, is taking a tip from him and stepping out of the shadows – which apparently means sending the Ice Truck Killer’s hand with a mysterious diagram on the palm – to Dexter. Colleton says Louis will be “like a big ticking bomb in the background” next season. “We are just going to weave in an unexploded roadside bomb that we may not explode this year but it’s there waiting, ticking,” Colleton says, adding that Louis has yet to make it onto Dexter’s radar.

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QUINN
The hopeless romantic has returned to his old womanizing form, with last week’s penultimate episode a “big rock bottom for him,” Colleton says. “He’s a guy who showed his real character in his bad behavior this year, which was out of love for Deb. He’s got one last episode to pull it together.”

ANGEL
Having been held captive and nearly killed in a house fire while on the hunt for Travis, Colleton says the experience will serve as a “big wake-up call” for Angel that it’s time to put himself first for once. “Everyone from LaGuerta to Quinn to Debra and Dexter has always counted on him to roll with the punches and to roll with their emotional grief,” she says. “Now, coming that close to death in a horrible situation has made him realize that he has to think about himself a little bit more.”

LaGUERTA
After serving as a mentor of sorts to Deb, LaGuerta’s (Lauren Velez) turned into what Colleton says is a “master player,” having sacrificed Capt. Matthews (Geoff Pierson) and put Deb into a position where she was expected to fail. But the lessons LaGuerta teach Deb won’t stop now that she’s aware of what her new boss is capable of. “The reality of a woman in a man’s world is something Deb’s going to have to deal with along with the reality of the politics,” she says. “She’s going to learn something from LaGuerta: Does she want to end up like LaGuerta? Is that the cost of success? These are all issues that every woman in business has to deal with and Deb is going to have to deal with them, too. She can’t ignore them any longer.”

Dexter’s Season 6 finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit