The untold truth of Dexter

​During the course of eight seasons, Showtime gave us the story of Dexter–a police forensics expert struggling to be a good person, while also killing all the bad people he could find. The Emmy-nominated series did the unthinkable: it made audiences sympathize with a deeply disturbed murderer. Strap in your "Dark Passenger" and enjoy some things you may not know about Dexter.

It's very loosely based on a book series

In 2004, executive producer Sara Colleton decided to take a stab at developing the series when she came across Jeff Lindsay's crime novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Although she hadn't actually read it, she did read a review when it was published. The first season of the show is based on the novel, which also follows a Miami blood splatter analyst named Dexter Morgan, who secretly murders horrible criminals after being taught to do so by his ex-cop foster father. But most of the material from the first book is used up in the pilot episode, and that's where the show and source material veer away from each other. Lindsay ultimately wrote eight Dexter novels.

Michael C. Hall wasn't the first choice for Dexter

Producers didn't approach Michael C. Hall for the title role right away, and he wasn't interested anyway. After co-starring on HBO's Six Feet Under for five seasons, Hall said on an episode of the Sundance Channel's The Writers' Room (via E! News) that he was reluctant to jump right into another series preoccupied with death. The showrunners' first choice was Jeremy Renner, who was then a relatively obscure character actor. But Renner had just finished portraying real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in 2002's Dahmer, so he declined. Producers then approached Matthew Broderick, James Spader, Ben Stiller, and John Cusack–all of whom turned the role down.

Dexter is named "Dexter" for a reason

In Latin, the word "dexter" means "right" or "right-handed." That means the opposite of the right hand, the left, would be sinister. This refers to Dexter's "Dark Passenger," the nickname he gives the murderous side of his personality he's constantly trying to suppress. Taking the metaphor all the way home, "Dexter" would then be the "normal" personality he portrays to others.

It actually aired on network TV

Dexter isn't just thematically dark, it also features murders in graphic, gory detail. And yet, for a brief spell, it ran on the family-friendly CBS. During the prolonged Writers Guild strike in the middle of the 2007-2008 TV season, network execs were desperate to fill airtime any way they could. While that mostly meant a lot more cheap-to-produce reality shows, Entertainment Weekly reports CBS slipped in a few Dexter repeats while Criminal Minds and CSI were on the bench. (All the bloodiest parts were edited out.)

Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter were married

With the long hours, close quarters, and the fact that most people on TV are incredibly good-looking, it's amazing more onset romances don't develop. Accordingly, two people in the Dexter cast were struck by Cupid's arrow: Michael C. Hall and co-star Jennifer Carpenter. Considering they play brother and sister on the show, that's just a wee bit unsettling. Of course, they aren't related in real life, and they eloped on New Year's Eve in 2008. The pair divorced two years later, at which point Dexter writers decided to briefly link the brother and sister romantically.

Dexter would be an incredibly prolific killer in real life

Somebody watched all 96 episodes very closely and tallied the number of people Dexter killed along with the number of blood slides he kept in his souvenir box. Comparing those numbers with the actual murder rate in Miami between 2006 and 2013 (the years Dexter was on the air), he would have been killing at a startling pace if he was, you know, real. To collect all those slides, Dexter would have needed to kill anywhere from 12 to 16 people each year, or a little more than one person every month. During the same period, Miami witnessed between 59 and 79 murders annually. Proportionally, that would've made Dexter responsible for 15 to 20 percent of all the city's murders.

Don't blame the writers for the series finale

Dexter ended with one of the most memorable—and hated—series finales ever. Would he be stopped by his colleagues in the Miami Police Department in a bloody showdown before he could kill again? In a perfect world, yes. According to Vulture, the show's writers wanted to end the series with Dexter getting caught and sentenced to death by lethal injection. That way he'd finally find, in some way, freedom from his Dark Passenger. But executives at Showtime nixed the idea. They wouldn't kill off the title character, just in case they ever want to revive one of their most popular shows. Instead, Dexter ended up as a lumberjack in seclusion.