Dexter Morgan has been hiding in plain sight for eight seasons on Showtime, and throughout those years, a handful of people have challenged our antihero — but most didn’t live to tell the tale.
At last week’s PaleyFest farewell to Dexter, we asked the show’s cast and producer to name their favorite foes for the serial-killer-with-a-code. We heard one name quite a few times — the Dexter cast is still getting over the damage done by John Lithgow’s Arthur Mitchell, a.k.a. The Trinity Killer, in season 4 — but a few answers might surprise you (is Dexter’s ultimate antagonist actually Deb?).
We’ll have to wait until Sunday’s finale to see where current contender Oliver Saxon — a.k.a. Daniel Vogel, a.k.a. The Brain Surgeon — ends up on the list. For now, let’s see what the cast has to say:
Michael C. Hall (Dexter Morgan): “They’re all like Dexter’s children; I love them equally. The Trinity Killer [John Lithgow] is certainly the most formidable foe he’s faced. Little Chino [Matt Willig] is certainly the biggest. Probably those two.”
Jennifer Carpenter (Debra Morgan): “I mean, John Lithgow. Because he was a teddy bear to be around and then a grizzly to work with.”
Yvonne Strahovski (Hannah McKay): “Right before I started, I watched [seasons] 1 to 6 back-to-back in three weeks. I loved season 1 and 2. I loved the Ice Truck [Christian Camargo] stuff. That was my favorite, I think because it was close to the heart for Dexter, and the stakes were really high.”
James Remar (Harry Morgan): “The obvious one is John Lithgow. Because he’s such a world-renowned actor who’s an Academy Award [nominee], motion picture, stage, the guy even does opera. He was attracted enough to Dexter to bring the fullness of his craft to it, and he really knocked it out of the park. He was very wonderful to be around and to have as part of our show, because, I gotta tell you: Those scenes when he was in killer mode and being angry were pretty chilling. They were chilling. And I liked the Ice Truck Killer. You know, I like ’em all. The Ice Truck Killer was pretty badass. That was early Dexter, before everybody knew who we were. So then when you get to later Dexter and you get a big famous guy like John coming in and kicking some ass, it was pretty cool.”
C.S. Lee (Vince Matsuka): “I’d say it’s a tossup between John Lithgow, Jimmy Smits [who played Miguel Prado], and the Ice Truck Killer, Christian Camargo.”
Scott Buck (executive producer): “There’ve been so many really good ones. Of course everyone loves John Lithgow. Doakes [Erik King]. In so many ways, Debra is his antagonist in a way, and it’s a much more complicated antagonist, because she loves him more than anybody. So, to me, in a lot of ways that’s been Dexter’s most interesting partner throughout the series.”
David Zayas (Angel Batista): “John Lithgow, but also Jimmy Smits was fantastic. I remember I learned a lot. And Keith Carradine [Frank Lundy], even though he wasn’t the antagonist, he had a really great impact on the show. We had a lot of great guest stars who brought a lot of class and a lot of professionalism into this show and actually helped the show become what it is, so kudos to them.”
Aimee Garcia (Jamie Batista): “John Lithgow. He’s incredible. He did so much with so little, and he’s so subtle. He still creeps me out to this day. I saw him at the [Rise of the] Planet of the Apes premiere, and I wanted to say hi to him, but I just got a little creeped out. I thought, ‘Oh, geez, I have to distinguish acting from reality!’ He’s absolutely brilliant.”
Desmond Harrington (Joey Quinn): “John Lithgow, Trinity. He’s just evil and great, and getting in a bathtub — he took the cake.”
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The Dexter series finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.