Deb Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) was definitely dead in the September 2013 series finale of “Dexter,” after her brother Dexter (Michael C. Hall) removed her from life support and dropped her lifeless body into the ocean.
But Deb is just as definitely back, eight years later, in Sunday’s Showtime revival, “Dexter: new blood. And the dead sister is so above her brother’s serial murder.
In the return of the ninth season, a 10-part revamp of the critically exhausted 2013 In the end, Deb serves as Dexter’s increasingly restless inner voice. Invisible to the citizens of her new home in upstate Iron Lake, New York, the long-suffering Deb does not let her murderous brother cause pain in her afterlife.
“This time I can drive a nail into your side. This time I can choke you, I can hurt you,” Carpenter said, describing his character’s feelings to USA TODAY. “It was very satisfying. For once Deb is in control.”
Here’s what you need to know about Deb’s bloody comeback:
Carpenter thinks Deb’s death was too “cold”
Deb has always believed, ever since finding out about her brother Dexter’s murderous compulsion, that she could help him stop.
“She always thought it was a choice or a bad habit,” Carpenter says. Clearly, she was wrong, and the impact that Dexter’s continued murder had on her life has been profound.
For her own sanity, Carpenter says she pleaded for her loyal character to die in Season 8.
“She was such a visceral part of me that we had to part in the healthiest way possible,” says Carpenter. “And that seemed like the healthiest way.”
But in a lament expressed by fans of the series after the finale, Carpenter didn’t appreciate his brother’s approach to resting her in the Ocean Grave.
“It was so cold I felt like an idiot who (Deb) had been looking for love there. It’s absurd,” Carpenter says. “I wish he had shown he was sad for me.”
Dexter didn’t stop the late Deb from RIP-ing
Carpenter began his acting prep by imagining Dexter flying his sister out of the sky after her traumatic death by bringing her to her frigid new home.
“It’s the idea of her ascending to that white light, finally a softer place, and then she’s brought to the cold that burns where Dexter has brought me,” says Carpenter. “But I realized it was her hell, not hers. She rests in peace.”
Ultimately, she sees the return as “Deb’s reward for the suffering she endured” by supporting Dexter.
The first scene of Deb’s “New Blood” shows her in a comfortable dress talking with her brother. Its presence is “heartwarming, even soothing,” says Michael C. Hall. But when Dexter starts killing again, while allowing his teenage son Harrison (Jack Alcott) to return to his toxic life – against Deb’s will – it has driven his behavior into a frenzied anger. Deb literally enters Dexter’s face and intimate space. “She lets him have it from all kinds of different angles,” says Hall.
Deb likes to transform into a “fun house” mirror reflecting her brother’s brain, which she can now “manipulate at my discretion,” Carpenter explains.
The Water Grave Season 9 appearance was a secret until John Lithgow revealed earlier this year that his Trinity Killer and Deb would reappear.
“Until that second, Jennifer Carpenter was a secret,” says executive producer Clyde Phillips. “We pulled our hair out and realized it was better for the show. People have more anticipation.”
The bloody bullet scene was Carpenter’s idea
The scene in which Deb fires a bullet from her side to forcefully show Dexter how everything he touches turns to blood and death is a moment of power in the first season.
“It was my idea,” Carpenter says proudly. “It was just to viscerally remind him of the gore. I thought, ‘Deb isn’t real, let’s play with that and just rip the ball out. “”
In season 8, it was serial killer Oliver Saxon (Snævar Darri Ingólfsson) who shot Deb in the abdomen that sent her into a coma. But it was Dexter’s homicidal tendencies and lifestyle choices that tragically put Deb in the crosshairs. At one point, the cast had fun having Deb ram the bullet down Dexter’s throat, “to choke him with it,” Carpenter says. Less bloody heads prevailed, but the withdrawal of the bullet “has become a symbol of the spectacle,” she said.
In another crazy moment to show Dexter’s mental deterioration, Deb happily throws human limbs into a bloody wood chipper. Carpenter loved shooting the bloody scene. But as fake blood spurted out of the machine, she had a heartache knowing that her son Isaac (along with her musician husband Seth Avett) wouldn’t be able to watch mom at work. “Standing behind the wood chipper, I thought, ‘Will I ever do something my son can watch?’ “
Carpenter insists she had no stated preference for Deb’s final destination in the new season. She leaves that in the hands of the show’s producers, including co-producer Hall, her 2008-11 husband. “I trust him, especially when it comes to this character,” she says.
She has already learned a major lesson from the season, fake blood is realistic.
“It’s an amazing tool because it looks and feels so real,” Carpenter says. “And it’s really hard to get out of it.”