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'Dexter' Season 6 Preview: Religion, Love and the Future

Executive producer Sara Colleton tells THR about the decision to explore Dexter's spiritual beliefs as well as how long the Emmy-nominated drama can run.

Dexter
Randy Tepper/Showtime
"Dexter"

The sixth season of Showtime’s Dexter – premiering Sunday, Oct. 2 – explores territory that the Michael C. Hall drama has yet to explore: religion.

After a season in which Hall’s Dexter Morgan recovered from the loss of his wife, Rita, and found his soul mate in Julia Stiles’ Lumen, this year will see the serial killer with a screwy moral code explore religion. Specifically, Miami Metro’s blood splatter expert will consider what traits he’d like to pass on to his son, Harrison.

“When we open the season, Dexter has thoroughly processed who he is and he knows very clearly what he doesn’t want to pass on to his son, Harrison,” executive producer Sara Colleton tells The Hollywood Reporter. “He realizes he needs to know what he does want to pass on to Harrison. It sets him on an odd Dexter-ish spiritual quest.”

THR caught up with Colleton to discuss Dexter’s journey and the different forms of faith and spirituality he’ll encounter this season, as well as how close Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) can continue to come before she finds out her brother’s dark secret.

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THR: Where did the decision to explore religion come from?
Colleton:
It’s where he is in his life. Harrison is 2 and is about to start preschool and is starting to be aware, talk, learn and listen. Dexter realizes what all parents do: What kind of a father am I? What do I pass on as a legacy to my child? It merges because faith and the nature of faith, I don’t think, is tied to any one religion. It’s a way of being. It’s an exploration of the nature of faith and some avenues will have religious overtones but it really is more spiritual than religious. For Dexter to set upon trying to define something that by its very nature is undefinable is very interesting. It’s a very rich year for us.

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THR: Were you ever worried about alienating viewers with the theme this season?
Colleton:
Oh yeah. But that’s part of what Dexter is about, pushing those buttons. As we always try to do, we deal with things honestly. And the show causes people to reflect on their own thoughts. Some people might be upset but those are probably the same people who would always be upset at the idea of this show. We can’t think of that and we have to think of where we take Dexter that’s an interesting thematic world of human behavior that he’s never experienced.

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THR: Dexter’s love life has taken some series hits along the way. Will Dexter find love this season?
Colleton:
He had two things that some of us go through our entire life never having, which is a woman he loved – his wife and the mother of his child; then he had his once-in-a-lifetime soul mate. Both of them ended horribly and were very damaging to him. He realizes, “This is not for me, this is not going to work.” For now.

THR: The door remains open for Stiles’ Lumen. Any chance we’ll see her return?
Colleton:
She’s still alive (laughing). That’s not something you can say about most of his women. That’s one of those wonderful things that we always know – we call them the dangling chads of Dexter Morgan’s life.

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THR: Deb has really come a long way since Season 1. How much will she step into the spotlight this season?
Colleton:
Deb comes into her own this season. In the old days of the show, you remember that gangly all-over-the-place girl who worked Vice in that outfit and came into the Seven Seasons Hotel desperately wanting a shot at Homicide and the woman she has become and the kind of cop she’s become, the kind of leader that she’s become, I think Deborah Morgan is one of the most remarkable women on television.

THR: How will her relationship with Quinn (Desmond Harrington) factor into her career in Homicide?
Colleton:
It’s going to be interesting because this is a show about human nature and nothing is ever easy in a relationship and it’s all about timing. Deborah is going to become very successful and it’s going to be an interesting and bumpy year.

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THR: She’s come very close to realizing Dexter’s Dark Passenger. How much closer can you push that?
Colleton:
When we drop that shoe, it will be swift and for sure. But we don’t want to dangle that in front of the audience again until we’re ready to have it happen.

THR: Is that something we can expect this season?
Colleton:
There’s a lot going on this season. When that happens, it’s such a game changer that it’s better toward the back-side of the series. When that happens it will be very close to the series’ run in our long-term plan for the show.

THR: Will Deb finding out be the end of Dexter?
Colleton:
I don’t know. It’s one of these things that we know is something on the table to explore.

THR: How much longer do you see the series going? Have you discussed setting an end date for the series
Colleton:
We feel confident that it’s got another two to three years that we feel very solid, sure-footed in storywise. What we never want to get is to the point where we’re going, “What do we do now?” “We did that second year.” “We did that third year.” That hasn’t happened yet. So it’s hard to tell.

Check out the guest stars who will be part of Dexter’s religious journey this season in the video below.

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