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Backstage With… Michael C Hall on bringing Dexter back: ‘I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve missed him’

When Dexter ended after eight series in 2016 it suggested a new start for its protagonist – so perhaps it was always inevitable that the serial killer with a conscience would return to our screens one day.

Michael C Hall, who plays the killer, told Sky News’ Backstage podcast that it took the right opportunity for him to return to the beloved – if somewhat controversial – character.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’ve missed him, but I have periodically considered him and periodically considered him in part because the possibility of returning to the character and the show has been presented over the years,” he said.

Michael C Hall is back in Dexter. Pic: Sky UK
Image: The series picks up the serial killer’s story after five years off our screens. Pic: Sky UK

“I think now is the right time… with as much time having passed since we last saw Dexter, we’re afforded certain storytelling opportunities that we weren’t until now.

“So that was a big part of it and also just having had some time so that the revisitation of the character doesn’t feel fraught with the residue of whatever the old experience was, enough time has passed, enough experience has been had in my own life that there feels adequate distance between me and him, and now and then.”

That residue may in part be to do with the reaction to the final series, and episode, which wasn’t overwhelmingly positive.

But this new season sees the killer in a whole new place – both literally and metaphorically, as he’s now living in a small, snowy town in New York State and has settled in to a murder-free lifestyle.

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Hall says returning to the part was like shrugging on an old jacket. “I remember how this fits and, oh yeah, like I never even noticed there was a pocket there,” he said.

“Like maybe, hopefully discovering new things that you hadn’t discovered and being reminded of things that you’d forgotten.

“But I did find that the character, you know, I spent a long time with him and considering him and playing him and living in that imaginative place, so there was a lot that was still very much there – just add water, you know?”

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With Dexter choosing his victims based on their failings, he could perhaps be interpreted as being the ultimate posterboy for cancel culture.

Hall says it’s not a comparison he’s drawn before.

“I mean, Dexter certainly isn’t choosing as his victims, nor did he ever choose people as his victims, people who 15 years ago said something unsavoury in passing.

“I think the people who fit the bill for him are maybe a little more deserving of cancellation, however you land on serial murder, which is another question entirely.

“I suppose he is cancelling or has cancelled a number of people, but I think his motivations are a bit a bit less motivated by any prevailing trends.”

It’s not just Hall returning for the new series, as Jennifer Carpenter is back as the killer’s sister – though this time in a more spiritual advisory role – and original showrunner Clyde Phillips and other behind-the-camera talent also on board.

Hall says getting the band back together certainly has its benefits.

“On the creative side, you know, as far as Clyde Phillips’ involvement and Scott Reynolds, who wrote throughout the course of the eight seasons and was back in this case, and Marcos Sieaga, who was our main director and sort of executive producing director, that just gave a sense of assurance that there was a collective sense of the fundamental DNA or connective tissue that we needed to maintain in spite of the fact that we were doing something very different and telling a different story, contextualised totally differently.”

Dexter: New Blood is coming to Sky Atlantic and NOW on 8 November – hear our review in the latest episode of Backstage, the film and TV podcast from Sky News