Exec Producer Explains 'Dexter' Shocking Finale

December 14, 2009 05:49:32 GMT

Clyde Phillips said they did not know what to do with the fourth season finale until the last minute and they decided going to the extreme by killing a major character.

Exec Producer Explains 'Dexter' Shocking Finale
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When the producers of "Dexter" said they were going to give one shocking finale that no other shows had ever done, they were not kidding. [Spoiler Alert] Rita Bennett aka Dexter's wife and one of the major characters in the serial killer series has been killed off and no one saw that coming. Clyde Phillips was available to explain.

In an exclusive interview with the executive producer, EW threw the burning question of why it was Rita who should take the fall. To this Phillips said, "The story evolved and it kind of became inevitable. We knew that we had to do more than kill Trinity. It's a little bit of a corner that we paint ourselves into. Last year we tried to avoid that and actually I think we didn't do as well as we could have." Clyde added that they had to raise the bar as Trinity's death would be inevitable.

On the Sunday, December 13 finale, Rita was supposed to hop on a cab and head to romantic gateway when she forgot her ID. She ended up being murdered in the bathtub by Trinity while baby Harrison was left crying in her pool of blood. This image mirrors Dexter's traumatic childhood when he watched his mother died before him and was soaked in her blood.

Julie Benz, the actress who played Rita, is said to be unhappy with the character being killed off. "She loved being with us. We loved having her with us. She took it... professionally. She was greatly disappointed. She's a professional. She works in television. She knew that this was a possibility," Phillips revealed. He also could not confirm whether Rita will be back as a ghost in future episodes.

For one thing, the writers actually had an alternative ending that eventually was not picked. "While Dexter was packing to leave, he saw on the television that a child murderer had just escaped from prison. Either escaped or fallen thru the cracks. So he's thinking, 'Do I join Rita on vacation or do I...' and then he looks towards the camera and he has this big decision," Phillips elaborated.

Rita's death is not the only shock in the finale. Deb found out that Dex is related to the Ice Truck Killer and whether she will find out Dex's alter ego, this would be the cliffhanger for season 5. Showtime has not arranged a date for the return but traditionally, it will begin around September.


Post Your Comments

posted by New Dexter Fan on Aug 19, 2015
This was so unexpected. There I was, relieved, just like Dexter was, that he had finally killed Trinity and his family was safe. Then, he calls Rita. At most, I was expecting him to find out that someone had kidnapped Rita. Then, when I saw Harry sitting in the blood---this has to be a dream. Has to. But, no. SMH. That was so sad. I absolutely love Dexter as a dad. The way that he swooped in to save his little guy. Ugh. Why why why???? I actually cried during some of the show when I realized that it was real and Dexter was going through it. In a twisted way, I blame Quinn bc if he wasn't harassing Dexter, Dexter would not have been in such a hurry, and more than likely wouldn't have hit the guy's car, which led to his arrest, and Trinity getting away.
posted by TallyHo on Dec 13, 2010
I couldn't stand Rita, the dumb twit, least of all her mentally retarded voice! Good riddance, and great ending.
posted by seth 11 on Jul 04, 2010
I have to say that this was shocking for quality tv. This has been a real let down. It was shocking but once the shock was over it was like man what a horrible (not in the gross sense) way of taking her out.
posted by Phil the real on Jan 22, 2010
I'm totally depressed about this ending. I use to love Julie Benz, she is awesome and now it's difficult for me to imagine the season 5. It's the best serie and a really good ending. Pretty the same feeling than the end of Prison break. I listen the last episode 5 days ago and I'm always thinking about it. I'm really sad but I'm totally impressed by the writers of this show. Only cons, is the nudity in the last season that was displaced for my opinion. Thanks for this show
posted by Kerrie from Australi on Dec 20, 2009
I was so shocked when Rita died! Never before have I been so affected by a TV Series. Yeah, sure I didn't want Rita to die, but what fantastic writing! Edge of your seat entertainment, can't ask for more than that. So excited for the next season!!!
posted by kefercris on Dec 20, 2009
Please, Rita can't die... Make it just a Dexter's bad dream (or something like that)... Please!!!! Rita has to be alive!
posted by Last Exit on Dec 19, 2009
The Sopranos sucked..they even admitted they ran out of ideas...that show should have ended after season 2..Dexter is way better 4 years in. Sopranos was like a show for morons who thought those illiterates were cool!
posted by MirkMaster on Dec 17, 2009
every single one of you are morons whining about illogical endings and supposed "missing" details. There are too many written here to atttack one by one, but clearly you people arent watching closely enough. Every thing is answered throughout the show. I dont need happiness to bring me back to watch. ill definately be watching. sucks for you if you dont. best show ever, 2nd only to the sopranos
posted by Chad the Super1 on Dec 17, 2009
Make it a dream , why cant Dexter have it all
posted by rosie on Dec 16, 2009
Hey the most disturbing part of the finale was having the baby covered in blood the writers went too far...not cool.
posted by Stunned. on Dec 16, 2009
Best drama series ever, by a country mile. This ending cannot be, I just never saw this coming in my worst case series end scenario. It destroys the hope that even those with the biggest problems can redeem themselves. Please bring Rita back.
posted by putmaster on Dec 16, 2009
someone need to tell Dexter about the producer
posted by berenice on Dec 16, 2009
posted by Hasty decisions are on Dec 15, 2009
I have to say that I was surprised about the ending; but not traumatized. At first I thought the writers had become lazy about the plot. It is frustrating to learn it was actually the producers who decided to kill off a main character. I’m disappointed because this will BE the cause for this show to end within the next year. (2 tops!) Producers should let the writers develop a story. Producers let me give you a clue: you have just answered the Central Ethical Issue about this show. "Can he be redeemable?" You will not succeed in topping this one, and eventually you'll lose viewership only to become another statistic about the “what-not-to-do” lessons for other producers. Maybe you should take note from stories like "Death Note". Now that is brilliant writing! The story has no producers getting "involved" and it’s still strong today! You are producers, just give your money and shut the hell up! Geez! What an unintelligent and illogical ending. Consider all the shows that tried this tactic, ‘The L Word’, and many others - (this is NOT an exclusive idea to you, you know). They chose to kill-off a main character, the ratings dropped and the show’s demise soon followed. To the show’s writers, PLEASE stand up to stupid producers and ask your union to support and back up your talent. Do NOT let anyone step on your talent! You didn’t succeed at making this ending plausible; you are now a disaster. Instead of using intelligence to drive a purpose, you chose a “quickie”. And the difference between the two is that a purpose has an intention, but in your case, this “ending” finished more like a spectacle. I guess George Santayana was right, “Those who ignore history, are condemned to repeat it.” Bye-bye Dexter. How embarrassing for you.
posted by Dick M on Dec 15, 2009
No Rita no show. She is the yang for Dex.. Suggest he dreamed it...
posted by b-rad on Dec 15, 2009
I was speechless after seeing the ending! I sure hope that it was all a dream because For one, I can't see how the show can function without her, and two, how is her death by Trinity going to be explained to everyone? It just brings the danger of Dexter getting caught way to close to his doorstep. I am also just sad if Julie Benz is indeed leaving the show.
posted by summer_lovin on Dec 15, 2009
What an incredible ending. I absolutely did not see this coming at all and was thinking, Tell me it's a dream, tell me it's a dream! I felt very sad that Rita was killed by Trinity but I have got to say, no matter what, this was definitely one of the most "shocking" endings ever to a show I've seen. Hard to top.
posted by Alexxus on Dec 15, 2009
Disturbing ending. And a SO f*cking confusing! Rita said something about the moon on the phone (so she was alive at this time), but at this time trinity was already cut in pieces by Dex! So WTF?! This ending reminds me of the Terminator SCC ending, because it was as horrible as this one. I saw this crap comming, but I hoped, it wouldn't end up like this! I WANT RITA BACK!
posted by Beatriz on Dec 14, 2009
I liked Rita very much, so I got really depressed about it. Specially because it brings the idea that Dexter is "broken" that he's wrong and his fate is to bring misery to everyone arond him, which is opposite of the other seasons. And how is he going to deal with the dark passenger and the kids as a single parent? They didn't had to kill Rita to have a story in season 5. They had her misterious past, they had Debra and Quinn. All that just to make the season finale shoking. Why is Harrison left sitting on the bathroom floor?
posted by thymekpr on Dec 14, 2009
SEPTEMBER???? We have to wait until SEPTEMBER???
posted by kikimac on Dec 14, 2009
awesome, awesome, awesome. this show is great tv viewing, and for those getting carried away, it's fiction people, it's meant to entertain you, not worry about details as to why she went back in for her I.D., who's ENTERTAINMENT! I think the show rocks....
posted by Dark_dex on Dec 14, 2009
Good ending to a great series. The murder investigation that will sureley follow will open lots of doors - The shed, Dexters phone calls to trinity...Good stuff.
posted by lonegunman on Dec 14, 2009
I take it you aren't fans of 24, where this sort of ending was shocking 7 years ago, but now, not so much.
posted by Rafterman on Dec 14, 2009
Brilliant ending, Dexter just secured its place in my all time top ten.
posted by Malcolm on Dec 14, 2009
If this were real life, Dexter would wind up being charged with murder. The fight with the neighbor, his strange behavior at work, and the fact that he’s the husband would almost certainly make him the chief suspect. But I think they’ll just write off the whole dead-wife thing in the first 5 minutes of the next season
posted by stan on Dec 14, 2009
No Problem with Rita being killed off...but how we got there was as total Cop out by the writers. So let me get this straight...Mr. Perfection Dexter, who we have seen goes over every eventuality, didn't bother to go through to make sure Rita had EVEYTHING before she go into the cab? Seriously? I am supposed to buy that that's reason she had to come back the house...she forgot her ID? Neither Dexter (who at this point was so focused on his families safety) OR Rita Bothered to check? Seems like grasping as straws just to make her dead to me. Like I said no problem they killed her off...but the reason she had to come back to the house and GOT killed was pretty lame and a cop out by the writers.
posted by belly on Dec 14, 2009
It was the best season finale of any show ever, followed by the same actor's season finale of 6 feet under
posted by anonymous552 on Dec 14, 2009
Of course, Ms. Benz is disappointed about being written off the show. After all, she spent all that money getting her breasts enlarged between seasons 3 and 4.....
posted by lokk on Dec 14, 2009
great show, but why didnt trinity tell dexter that he killed rita when he was on the table? maybe he thought that was the reason dexter was gonna kill him. i dunno, cant wait till season 5 thou. you cunt. fucking cunt! lolz trinity was a good villain.
posted by Dani on Dec 14, 2009
I second Alfie_fan... disturbed and angry, yet at the same time it's amazing. Kinda like what Dexter feels all the time.
posted by Elle420 on Dec 14, 2009
If anyone has read the books there is alot of material they can use now that Rita is dead. In the books there is alot of emphasis on the kids, and their dark passengers. But then again, i find it hard to see how Dex is going to be able to do nething if he doesnt have Rita to look after the kids. I honestly think its not real, just dex's brain playing tricks on him. but that could just be me hoping. definetly the best season finale for a drama series and michael C. Hall AMAZING
posted by dextersboytoy on Dec 14, 2009
dex was in pure shock wen he found rita,feel bad 4 him cuz while dumping trinity he stared at the moon wondering if rita was.....poor dex hope he comes back a nut case..killing LaGuerta
posted by jen on Dec 14, 2009
Stunned. That was soooo good! But now Dexter now has 3 kids to take care of by himself...
posted by Buzby on Dec 14, 2009
Hey Idiot! It was Rita Morgan, not Bennett. She married Dexter.
posted by brian on Dec 14, 2009
That better be a halucination in dexters mind or something...because right now im in shock and think they probably just ruined the whole show.... :(
posted by Shockatelly on Dec 14, 2009
Check that, topless and boy shorts
posted by Shockatelly on Dec 14, 2009
Next season, Rita comes back as ghost counselor and boy is she pissed. In my version she's always topless and a wearing a teddy.
posted by friend22 on Dec 14, 2009
first of all dark dex your talking about the murder will open lots of doors and you mention the shed remember dexter removed all his Items and put them in a shipping container at a storage rental facility after cody fell thru the skylight!! also ftracy3 did you not watch the show ?? astor and cody went to disney world with their goofy grandparents in a minivan remember? do you people watch the show? do you just not think before you write?
posted by Newspapers on Dec 14, 2009
Way to lift this story from a real interview. Journalism is dead.
posted by monf on Dec 14, 2009
get a life fucking americans its just a tv show
posted by Cassandra on Dec 14, 2009
Another ill thought-out plan on the part of the Dexter writers. While the general plot lines are interesting, they can't seem to achieve a logical or consistent ending. Is the show's demise coming, as Dexter's identity unravels?
posted by Emma on Dec 14, 2009
i loved the ending and i LOVE dexter i with the rest of u , im shocked and sad that rita is dead. i knew they just couldnt end the season with dexter killing Trinity would be crap. wow i just dont know what to think im quiet upset like i just lost someone i knew so well!. all i can say is wow and i reaalyy dont want to wait to sept for s5 lol! god damn it ! but will be worth the wait and sept be here before we know it. even though i thought the ending sorta sucked.. they had to do something to a main character to keep the intrest for season 5! so im definatly tuning in next season!
posted by ftracy3 on Dec 14, 2009
What happened to Rita's other kids? Did I miss something?
posted by Dan on Dec 14, 2009
I'm just laughing at the guy who isn't going to watch season 5 because the ending was too 'disturbing'. So subject matter like 10 year old boys being burried alive in cement, or toddlers sitting in 2 inch pools of their mothers blood (who was cut up by druglords because she was a confidential informant for the police who she was having sex with) is not disturbing, but the fact the finale's ending wasn't happy is? Get a grip, it's almost laughable how desensetised you are.
posted by fishpermit on Dec 14, 2009
I's disturbed as well, also depressed. It was a great shocker of an ending, totally unexpected, but it leaves me depressed and now I have to wait another year to see where they go with the story line? As season enders go, happy is probably better for bringing back the viewers. I'm not so sure I'll be back. Very disturbing.
posted by jlittle on Dec 14, 2009
Dexter was trying to get Rita out of town so fast so that he could kill Trinity makes it quite understandable for Rita to forget her I.D. A shocking ending--kudos to the writers. I would not be shocked if they fast forward next season to about five or six years where Harrison is develooping strange habits like killing animals as his father did.
posted by mimo on Dec 14, 2009
omg im still so shocked!
posted by alfie_fan on Dec 14, 2009
I'm still in shock hours after. I'm not happy that Dexter doesn't get the opportunity to try and become the happy family man... but its television and I know that my reaction is what the producers/writers want. This finale was the most intense hour of my tv life. I will learn to LOVE this ending... but right now I'm disturbed.

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