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Dexter's Original Ending Was Surprisingly Different

The original iteration of "Dexter," which ran for 8 seasons on Showtime, features an ending that fans of the show are still talking about. 

In fact, the sheer fact that the series is now being revived — with a ninth season, "Dexter: New Blood" on the way — is at least partially a response to the lingering controversies of the series finale, which many have gone so far as to call one of the worst TV finales ever made. The new limited series has a lot to live up to (or make up for), needless to say. At least with original showrunner Clyde Phillips in charge again, there's reason to be optimistic.

Phillips originally left "Dexter" after the show's Season 4 finale in 2009 (per The Hollywood Reporter), and the show never really captured the same critical appeal again after his departure. This presumably led to the series' unpopular ending, which saw Dexter (Michael C. Hall) abandoning his life in Miami and becoming a lumberjack in Oregon. His sister Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) dies after Dexter removes her from life support, and he buries her at sea in the midst of a hurricane. 

Once again, it's an ending that didn't exactly endear itself to a lot of critics. But how would Phillips have ended "Dexter" had he stayed on board throughout all of its 8 seasons? His answer is surprisingly — and radically — different from the ending fans received.

In the original ending, Dexter would have died

Back in 2013, right as "Dexter" was wrapping up, Phillips revealed to E! News his original vision for the ending of the show. 

It would have featured the eponymous character waking up, as if out of a dream, only to reveal that Dexter is moments away from being executed for his crimes. Elaborating on this, Phillips said, "Dexter's opening his eyes and he's on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They're just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery."

If this doesn't pain a vivid enough picture, Phillips had even more planned. "And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed — including the Trinity Killer and the Ice Truck Killer (his brother Rudy), LaGuerta who he was responsible [for] killing, Doakes who he's arguably responsible for, Rita, who he's arguably responsible for, Lila. All the big deaths, and also whoever the weekly episodic kills were. They are all there."

This is a very ambitious ending, but it's also an ending that sees Dexter pay for his misdeeds and holds him accountable for his actions. While it's impossible to say how well Phillips would have executed such an ending, perhaps it's one that fans would have warmed to a lot more than the one they actually got.

As for how "Dexter: New Blood" concludes? Time will tell. The "Dexter" revival will premiere on November 7, 2021.