Dexter Morgan (shown here) has never been your standard serial killer. For one thing, he tries to only kill bad people; he considers himself a hero … albeit a pained one.
For another, he’s been doing that in the blue-sky beauty of Miami. All of that changes, however, with “Dexter: New Blood,” the 10 week mini-series that debuts at 9 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 7) on Showtime.
The new setting (Shelburne Falls, Mass., posing as upstate New York) is “undeniably beautiful,” said producer Clyde Phillips. It also has lots of trees and space … the standard serial-killer turf.
Two of the best-known, 21st-century villains – the “BTK killer” and the “Green River killer” – were in Oregon and Washington state, respectively. Others also seemed to abound in the Pacific Northwest.
As “Dexter” was ending in 2013, said producer Scott Reynolds, “the FBI said there were like 16 working serial killers in that area.”
So the original series was an anomaly – cold, dark vengeance, in a warm, sunny place. Now it moves to a woodsy setting that somehow fits the potential deeds.
The original ended its eight-year run with Dexter fleeing to be an Oregon lumberjack. Fans grumbled.
“The show did not end in a way that … gave anybody a sense of closure,” said Michael C. Hall, who stars. Mostly, “it left audiences (with) a sense of suspended animation.”
So the mini-series was crafted, showing that he’s strayed far from his first escape. “He’s been somewhat nomadic,” Hall said. “But we are meeting him in this town of Iron Lake, (where) he’s actually cobbling together a semblance of normal life.”
It’s a fictional place of 2,760. He’s a shopkeeper with a fake identity and gets along well with people. Two women are key to his life:
– Angela Bishop, the local police chief and his girlfriend. She’s an American Indian played by Julia Jones, who has Choctaw roots and was Kohana in “Westworld” and Leah Clearwater in the “Twilight” films. “She’s a very multi-faceted character,” Jones said. “She’s passionate, she’s compassionate, she’s strong-willed, she’s flawed.”
– Debra Morgan (shown here with Dexter), who is his sister and is, well, dead. Since Dexter is imagining her, she’s really speaking from his sub-conscious. She manages to “sort of haunt and punish and caretake and provoke and love Dexter,” said Jennifer Carpenter, who plays her.
This town should be ideal to bury his past. “There is so much less temptation,” Phillips said.
But the past intrudes – either real (Dexter’s son Harrison) or in the tangled imagination that includes Debra and Arthur Mitchell (John Lithgow), the Trinity Killer who murdered Dexter’s wife.
All of that was filmed at a busy pace – 119 days and 52 locations, some of them with the temperature nearing zero.
“I like actually being cold,” Hall said, “as opposed to acting like it was cold when it was 80 degrees. It was a lot easier to just be cold.”
Then again, during all those sunny Miami years, cold was never really an issue.