The return of Jennifer Carpenter as Deb is one of the things that makes Dexter: New Blood the intriguing show that it is. While you could’ve theoretically done this revival without her, it just wouldn’t feel the same. Family has long been important to Dexter Morgan on some level; Deb was all he had for some time following the death of Harry, and even though she’s gone now, she still has a role to play in his mind.
Getting Carpenter back was one of the most important priorities for this production happening, and a big part of that came down to purpose. How do you ensure that you’re not just repeating Harry with Deb or following footsteps you’ve gone down before?
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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Carpenter said the following on the discussion of how and why she came back to the show:
…What purpose would I serve coming back? I thought the only reason to bring the show back was so we could see what would become of an unmedicated, unchecked, unpunished, decoded, serial killer. What would the dark passion passenger look like if it had an all-access pass to this man? I wanted to come back and haunt him, comfort him, console him, encourage him, love him, hate him, and ruin him. So, it’s such a difficult thing to speak about because I’m not even sure how it happened. We never shot anything in order. It feels like this sort of encased season happened on a four-lane superhighway. [I] just sort of barreled down the highway, but I’m this strange, weird spooky kind of side road that goes somewhere totally different. It almost felt like the story exists on two campuses. We’re under the same University of Dexter, but I never had to really track what was going on the way the actors did. It was really about visceral taking the temperature of the room and deciding how I want to manipulate it all.
This is probably what made this role so fun for Jennifer to play; she had a chance to almost exist within her own, tormented world. Maybe she had a sense of some of the story, but that was not really her function. She was a driver of intention more so than a driver of plot.
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What do you want to see from Jennifer Carpenter on Dexter: New Blood?
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