Dexter Morgan (Or Jim Lindsay) made his long-awaited return to our television screens this November. Dexter: New Blood, the revival of Showtime’s hit television drama, finished its run over a month ago with another polarizing and controversial ending in the eyes of many of the Dexter fandom.
One of the choices that the Showrunner (Clyde Phillips) made was including Jennifer Carpenter in this season as Dexter's conscience (similar to Harry, and at times Brian). This was met with mixed reactions from fans, with some loving the inclusion of the foul-mouthed Deborah Morgan, and others thinking her inclusion was wasted and her character was annoying.
After the finale aired, Executive Producer and Director Marcos Siega was flooded with messages (both good and bad) from fans wanting their questions to be answered. Luckily for us, he joined our podcast to answer these questions and discuss the finale.
In this portion of the discussion, Marcos discusses the decision to have Jennifer Carpenter be included in New Blood. He also gives his insight on how Jennifer's scenes as Deb were shot and how she was actually much different than Harry. He explains how he viewed her more like a very surprising character from the early seasons!
(Below is a transcript from our podcast episode with Marcos Siega. Slight changes were made for better reading. To hear the entire podcast, utilize the player above or click here). To check out all of our podcast coverage of Dexter: New Blood, including Part 1 of our interview with Marcos, click here.
Jim BingetownTV [00:38:19] Oh jeeze, I have one more question. I feel like it would be a disservice if we don't talk about Jennifer Carpenter with Deb coming back, especially with you directing early season episodes. So, you know how there was Harry and now there's Deb (as Dexter’s conscience). And when it comes to filming these scenes with Jennifer Carpenter versus having Harry be his conscience or, you know, his mind space… What was your thought process with how you filmed / gave notes to Jennifer about how you wanted the scenes to play out because obviously she was a way different type of conscience in his head than Harry was for him.
Marcos Siega [00:38:59] Yeah. This would take a real astute Dexter fan to catch, but when I say it and if you go back, I think you'll see it. Harry was shot completely differently than Deb, right? Just shot differently the way he appeared. He wasn't popping in and out the way Deb does, right? Wasn't involved in the scenes. But you know, when I directed episode two of season two, I had the pleasure of saying goodbye to the Ice Truck Killer. It's the episode when Dexter releases him. Yes, yes. And there were two things I held on to from that episode. The first was when we were at the funeral for Rita's husband. And it's not the funeral… it is the wake and it's the casket. No one is there, except the four of them. Mm-Hmm. Rita and the kids go up and go to the casket and Dexter is left alone in the pew. Brian (The Ice Truck Killer) appears to Dexter exactly as Deb appears to him (In New Blood). Here I shot it the same way. OK. It's not like how Harry appears and he's there now. Brian is talking as his brother, but it just pans to his right and he's sitting there. The camera slowly moves around and suddenly there he is talking and he's out of focus. And then Dexter looks around. I was like, I want this to feel different than Harry being in his head. This is his brother, but it's not his brother, it's his conscience talking to him when he's trying to let go of his brother and he's trying to let that out. So I figured out how I wanted to execute it, appearing and disappearing. If you go back and look, he's there, then he is not there. Yeah, and it's the same as Deb is. They're not there and then they are there. So they're siblings and they're both in his conscience. And I married those two things. And at the very end, at the very end, Dexter's on his boat and he's looking into the water and he leans in and his brother's hand comes up, shoots out of the water and he grabs it. And then he lets it go slowly. Same as the end of episode 10, right when
Jim BingetownTV [00:41:11] she's holding on to him as he dies.
Marcos Siega [00:41:14] So, you know, these are things again. And just so fans understand there's a lot of thought that goes into that. It's not like willy nilly in terms of her character on the page. I loved her. You know, I understand people saying she's annoying. She's this. She's that. But you know, we needed to have a conscience to be like, I can't tell Harrison. This will remind him and this will ruin him. And what better way than to do it with death? Right? Of course, with that character. So, the shooting style, the way she appeared and disappeared for me, was very deliberate in terms of I wanted it to mirror the way his brother appeared in his mind back in episode two of Season 2. I don't think anyone probably catches that unless, you know, I pointed out, but for me, it was important that that manifested itself in the same way because you think about they are blood to him (Brian is blood and Deb was considered blood). Right? It's that connection. And then and sure, Harry is too, but Harry was different. Harry was teaching him the code and wasn't really his conscience. It was more like his guidance. Yeah, yeah more like his North Star. This is what it has to be. This is how you do it. This is how you keep doing it right. This is how you don't get caught. Mm hmm. If you go back and listen to it, Brian, it's just like the voice of reason is he's telling him it's his conscience. Yep. And so in terms of Jennifer, it being on set and directing her, we played with the levels of anger. There were things that were scripted much harder that she felt she could do with less.
Marcos Siega [00:43:41] But yeah, that was fun to do and fun to play with on the day. There were many times (with Jennifer) like This is too much. It's too big. And then I got into the cutting room and it was like, Oh, it's not too much. If it works, you know, people, some people like it, some people don't. But I think it was the right thing to do to bring her back in that way. And again, for fans who are like, what a waste you brought Jennifer back that way. Jennifer had a big say. Yeah, yeah. In all of it, she also felt like this gave closure to Dexter and to that relationship, and I love it the end. It's not Dexter letting go of her. She let go of him. Mm hmm. At the very end, those are again things we talk about when we're doing it, and I feel really proud of how we executed those scenes. One of my favorite moments is at the opening of episode five, where Dexter's looking at the blade and he knows. Yeah, you know that what's happening? Yep. And Deb is not a ghost. She's in his brain.
Jim BingetownTV [00:45:06] She's him. Yeah.
Marcos Siega [00:45:08] It's the struggle. It's the it's like, I got to say something. I can't say anything, you know? And and then how she gives him that. She yells at it, scolds him and he's in pain. And then it ends with just her embracing him. And it's weird as fuck, but powerful, you know? It's very rare. When I was there, I shot it. I directed it, and then I get to the cutting room and I put it together. And a week later, when I watch it back, I'm emotional.
Jim BingetownTV [00:45:46] You know, anyone who says that it was a waste (bringing Jennifer back) would 100 percent be saying it was a waste not having Deb in this show at all if you had decided not to include Jennifer Carpenter. So I thought it was perfect and you could tell that she was, you know, Dexter's own mind, not a ghost. You could see how she changed throughout the seasons during certain situations.
W can’t thank Marcos enough for chatting with us! He is super passionate about his work and the fanbase and he was open and honest about all topics and questions we asked. This is the kind of director we want working on our favorite shows!