"Dexter" has been a staple of Comic-Con International in San Diego for the past few years now and with the show's final season currently underway, fans knew it was their last time to interact with the Morgans and the folks of Miami Metro in Hall H.
For "Dexter's" final Comic-Con panel on Thursday night, Showtime kicked things off with a video that included never-before-seen interviews with the cast on how they feel about saying goodbye. Check out a snippet below.
But to brighten the tear-eyed audiences' spirits, Showtime brought three former stars (four, if you include virtual visitors) back from the dead for "Dexter's" last trip to Comic-Con. Erik King (Sgt. Doakes), Julie Benz (Rita Bennett) and Lauren Velez (Captain LaGuerta) all returned to share the stage with Michael C. Hall (Dexter Morgan), Jennifer Carpenter (Debra Morgan), David Zayas (Angel Batista), Desmond Harrington (Joey Quinn), Yvonne Strahovski (Hannah McKay), Aimee Garcia (Jamie Batista) and more of those who've worked on "Dexter," both in front of and behind the camera.
— Ethan Anderton (@Ethan_Anderton) July 19, 2013
King, who was wearing a "Surprise Motherf*****" t-shirt, said fans come up to him and ask him about Doakes "all the time." He added, "I'm blown away that I was on the show for only two years, [but it still feels like I'm] with the show ... I'm proud of the work, I'm proud of the show."
As for his final scenes, King added, "When you get the pages and you know what's going to happen, you dig into it ... And I want to say publicly, Michael C. Hall, thank you. When you have someone like Michael who shows up fully with his heart and his craft, you want to bring it." King noted that he loved doing the final Season 2 scenes at the cabin with Hall. The actor also said that he understood why Doakes needed to die. "We couldn't go eight years where he goes, 'I'm watching you!' And eventually Dexter says, 'Who cares? I'm watching you too.'"
— SHO_PR (@SHO_PR) July 19, 2013
Once LaGuerta was promoted to captain, Lauren Velez said she "knew it was the end" for her on the show. "I wasn't surprised, but I wasn't prepared for how it made me feel," she said.
— SHO_PR (@SHO_PR) July 19, 2013
Former "Dexter" star Benz said she was "very sad for a very long time" after Rita died. "For me, because it was so sudden and I wasn't prepared for it, it affected me on a very deep level. And because she was so innocent," the actress added.
— Clare Kramer (@ClareKramer) July 19, 2013
John Lithgow, who won an Emmy for his performance as the Trinity Killer, recorded a message to fans: "Hello, Dexter Morgan fans at Comic-Con. I wish I could be with you today, but as you all know, I'm dead. Than you for being such fans. Not a day goes by when people don't recognize me as a psychopath. I have to thank you for that."
When "Dexter's" current stars got on the mic, Hall revealed that they just wrapped the show's eighth and final season last week. They know that the show is over on an intellectual level, but "there's some unconscious part of us that hasn't recognized it yet or accepted it yet," Hall noted. He joked that in five months, they'll be wondering why they aren't going back to work on the show.
Along with Hall, Carpenter and more "Dexter" stars opened up about their characters' current and past struggles. "When we meet Dexter, we believe what he's telling us, but I always believed his voiceover is not the bottom line in terms of what he believes or what is motivating him. I think we're meant to be suspicious of his claim that he's 100 percent psychopath," Hall side. But he did note, "I've always been on Dexter's side myself."
But not everyone is on Dexter's side. "I'm coming back. We don't know when and we don't know if her revenge ... ," Strahovski said, trailing off as the crowd roared at her slip. "... If her motivation -- I'm blushing now. What I meant to say if her motivation is going to be revenge or love."
— Ⓢⓗⓐⓡⓞⓝ (@shanne) July 19, 2013
Deb's been going through quite a bit on Season 8 of "Dexter" thus far, which Carpenter said has been difficult, but eye-opening. "It makes my life look really good. I feel like a stunt car driver," the actress said. "It's been scary and complicated. I appreciate the challenge."
Carpenter also had the opportunity to clarify her earlier statements about wanting to Deb to die. "I wanted her and [I] want her to die. As an actor, it's because I love her," Carpenter said, echoing the sentiment yet again. "It's a little like how [Dexter] treats his victims. I want her to go to the bottom of her abyss where all her secrets lie so I don't spend the next eight years [thinking about Deb and having her in my head]."
With the things that get in their heads after playing such intense character for years, the "Dexter" cast needs to unwind. So how do they relieve stress? "I do everything that Dexter does, but then I just tickle the person," Hall joked. "Pretending to be Dexter is a stress reliever in its own way. Exercising is good -- anything that gets your heart beating," he said, which made the rest of the cast laugh.
With the show now wrapped, the "Dexter" cast members revealed what they decided to take with them from the set. Hall's got Dexter's watch, his Miami Metro lanyard and a 9-foot portion of the railing from Dexter's apartment building, which he's going to put in his backyard. He also wanted to take some of the blood spatter images from Dexter's office, but "they'd been swiped," he said.
So who took the artwork? Carpenter. "I took a lot. It was fun," she said. "I went in there with her and she bagged stuff," Harrington confirmed. "It was crazy."
— Natalie Abrams (@NatalieAbrams) July 19, 2013
But it might not be over yet. There have been rumors that the show could go on with a Deb-centric spinoff. When asked about a "Dexter" spinoff, Hall joked, "In 25 years, there will be a new series called 'Harrison' and I will be his dead internalized father."
Before the "Dexter" cast and crew said their goodbyes, Hall thanked the fans who have made eight seasons of the show possible.
And then both fans and "Dexter" cast and crew members gave each other standing ovations.
— Lesley Goldberg (@Snoodit) July 19, 2013
Take a look at the current cast of "Dexter" and the dearly-departed characters in the group shot below.
— Dexter (@SHO_Dexter) July 19, 2013
"Dexter" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.