'Dexter's' Michael C. Hall: Dexter's in 'Unchartered and Hot Psychological Water'

The Emmy nominee talks with THR about how Dexter will navigate being caught between Debra and Hannah and how the serial killer with a code will handle LaGuerta's investigation into the Bay Harbor Butcher.
Randy Tepper/Showtime
"Dexter's" Yvonne Strahovski and Michael C. Hall

Dexter Morgan is entering unchartered territory on Showtime's serial killer drama now that he's found a kindred spirit in Hannah, who accepts -- and loves him -- not in spite of his Dark Passenger but because of it.

After season six's game-changer when Dexter's (Michael C. Hall) sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) finds out about her foster brother's Dark Passenger, Dexter has put its stars in quite a triangle as the killer with a code finds himself torn between his family and his potential future as Debra has vowed to put Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) where she rightfully belongs: behind bars.

How will Dexter handle the demands of juggling his personal life when his closest family member has a moral and professional objection to his new girlfriend? Can Deb and Hannah both survive the season? Will Dexter have to pick between the two strong women in his life? The Hollywood Reporter turned to Hall to preview the final two episodes of the season and how Dexter will square off with LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) and Matthews (Geoff Pierson) as the duo inches closer to revealing the truth about the Bay Harbor Butcher.

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The Hollywood Reporter: Can Hannah and Deb co-exist?
Michael C. Hall: That's a hope that Dexter has allowed himself to entertain but it seems to be revealing itself to be more of a fantasy than a legitimate hope. We'll see. It's revealing itself to be the straw that's breaking the camel's back in terms of Deb's willingness to accept who Dexter is.

THR: Can Dexter really protect both women in his life considering Deb is hell-bent on putting Hannah behind bars?
Hall: That's a part of the compelling dynamic that exists as we enter these final two episodes: Is Dexter going to be forced to make a choice between the two and if that's the case, what will that choice be?

THR: Hannah has gotten not only into his heart but his head and Dexter is wondering if he can close the book on his Dark Passenger. Is that something Dexter could ultimately do?
Hall: I think that's attractive in its way because we all can relate to reaching a threshold in life where we are seduced by the liberating nature of taking full responsibly of the things we've done and everything we've been but there's another side to that. Dexter is the master of compartmentalization and there's no greater testament to that than his conception of his Dark Passenger. For him to be more a more fully integrated individual is something that's very appealing to him but it's also physiologically dangerous at this point because it would mean that he's not only fully responsible for all the foes he's vanquished but also fully responsible for the ways in which people in his life have been implicated by his compulsion. He's in pretty unchartered and hot psychological water right now and I'm not sure how he's going to find or fight his way out of it.

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THR: Can Dexter envision a future with Hannah that doesn't include his Dark Passenger? 
Hall: I don't know. When he says, "There's no Dark Passenger, there's only me," it's the first time he really admits it is to Hannah's father right before he kills him. Dexter saying there's no Dark Passenger is not necessarily Dexter saying that he's not going to need to kill. He's maybe more prepared to consider that it's all just him, he's not possessed or afflicted by this shadow force, it's just him and he has a desire to take responsibility and own it but what that will mean remains to be seen. He seems to think if he can vanquish the final surviving killer of his mother that maybe some door will be closed but at the same time at the beginning of the episode when he's fantasizing the future, it's one includes him killing somebody.

THR: LaGuerta is still looking into the Bay Harbor Butcher case -- how might Dexter navigate her this time considering she has Matthews working alongside her? 
Hall: We'll see him deal with Matthews face-to-face and start to try and get him off the scent but it's a tough proposition. I think Matthews lets him in on the details of the investigation on the one hand because he cares about Dexter and doesn't want to believe it's true but on the other hand, he's gauging Dexter's response to see if there's anything suspicious about him and Dexter is aware of that. The show is always compelling when you see Dexter backed into corners and he's in several at this point (laughs). Part of the fun of watching it is to see him fight his way out, whether physically or with his wits.

THR: The timing of Hector Estrada's release -- he's the last surviving man connected to Dexter's mother's death -- is very suspect considering LaGuerta's investigation into Dexter. Might the two be connected?
Hall: Maybe! It's a good observation.

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THR: Will Dexter ever start to question if Deb's lingering romantic feelings for him are clouding her judgment with Hannah?
Hall: He's being forced to make decisions so quickly and instinctively that it would probably only be after the fact that he could assess the nuance of her motivation in terms of those feelings for him. While Dexter doesn't necessarily reciprocate in the same way Deb's romantic feelings that once existed -- she says, "I'm in love with you or I was in love with you; I don't know if I like you" -- things have change since she had that initial epiphany during the sixth season (laughs). Dexter can appreciate that he has a singularly unique connection to his sister and that it's of value and something that needs to be preserved.

How do you think Dexter will handle the two women in his life? Can all three co-exist? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Dexter airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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