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TCA 2012: 'Dexter' Cast, EPs Defend Series, Preview Game-Changing End Game

"We acknowledge that a dark and dangerous and treacherous path has opened up for Deb and we're going to see her walk that," executive producer Sara Colleton says.

Dexter Season 6 Finale - H 2011
Randy Tepper/Showtime
"Dexter"

The cast and executive producers behind Showtime's Dexter used their platform at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour to defend the show while looking ahead to how last season's big reveal will send shockwaves through the network's top-rated drama.

In the closing moments of Season 6, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) walked in to profess her romantic feelings for her foster brother, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) only to find him in full Dark Passenger mode, plunging a sword into last season's Big Bad, Travis (Colin Hanks).

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The reveal, executive producers Sara Colleton and Scott Buck said, came in a fashion (and at a time) that made sense for Deb and the series.

"She stumbles upon it in the middle of her emotional override: not only does she love her foster brother but she's feeling she's in love with him. It's an emotional reason why she goes there and it's the last thing she expects to find in Dexter in one of his kills," Colleton noted of the plot point six seasons in the making, offering that it made the development more powerful than having Deb use her police skills to learn the truth about him.

"I think it was imperative that [Deb] found out when [she's] already trapped in this web of acceptance for him," Carpenter adds of her character.

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While critics found Season 6 predictable -- many saw the writing on the wall about Edward James Olmos' Professor Gellar weeks before it was revealed he was dead and only appeared as a vision to Travis -- EP Scott Buck said that was never intended to be a "big reveal."

"If we were to have such a secret to be revealed later in the season, we'd be a lot more careful about it," Buck said of the arc, admitting he found it "frustrating" that so many saw the writing on the wall last season. Carpenter also defended the series, noting that if production on the new season hadn't already begun, the line of questioning would have really "hurt her feelings."

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Looking ahead to the upcoming seventh season, Hall -- as well as Showtime Entertainment president David Nevins -- said the series could continue on beyond Season 8 and that this year will deal with what the actor said is "the most fundamentally game-changing development since we started telling this story."

"Deb finding out does make an end game feel a little more palpable and imminent," he said, noting this year Dexter's secret is no longer his own. "The plan is to do this season and a final eighth season to tell the story of the two of them negotiating their relationship in this new landscape."

As for whether killing the person closest to him would ever be an option for Dexter, Buck said it's something that has at least entered the character's mind. "Dexter is a serial killer, the thought has to at least have crossed his mind that that would be an easy solution to this problem," he said. "There is no easy solution to being in this circumstance."

Added Colleton: "We acknowledge that a dark and dangerous and treacherous path has opened up for Deb and we're going to see her walk that."

Dexter returns Sept. 30 on Showtime.

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