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Dexter Executive Producer Scott Buck Previews Season Six

In an exclusive interview, Entertainment Weekly caught up with Dexter's new executive producer, Scott Buck, who provides some hints regarding the direction of season six of the series.
What follows is an excerpt from that interview. For the full conversation, follow the link.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s the overriding theme of season 6?

SCOTT BUCK: What does it mean when a serial killer goes on a spiritual search? Dexter (Michael C. Hall) has always known what he doesn’t want to pass onto his son — his “dark passenger” — but now he’s beginning to ask what he does want to pass on. So that’s forcing him to look around to see what else there is in life.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’re not going to see a New Age-y Dexter, are we?

SCOTT BUCK: Please, no. (laughter) [It's] a very strong, sure-of-himself Dexter, which would be the difference from the Dexter of last year, where Dexter was questioning himself about everything. A year has passed since the end of last season, so Dexter has put his life in order. Things are good for him. He’s very centered, strong and focused, much the same way he was in season 1, but now he knows so much more. He’s a much more self-assured person. A more evolved serial killer.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about the new characters. What can you say about the religious studies professor played by Edward James Olmos?

SCOTT BUCK: Professor Gellar is someone that all of Miami is seeking out. He becomes a big person of interest in some crimes that are being committed in Miami.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What kind of crimes?

SCOTT BUCK: They are probably the biggest crimes we’ve ever seen on this show. We’re going toward a different kind of serial killer than what we usually see. This is someone more in line with the Zodiac Killer…. He kills people with great conviction. This is probably the first serial killer we’ve had who thinks he’s in the right.

And Dexter feels that he has something in common with this guy?
Professor Gellar definitely feels like he’s killing for a reason, and Dexter is very, very curious to know what exactly that reason is, and to try to understand it in some way. It’s very intriguing and baffling, and it doesn’t make sense to Dexter.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Colin Hanks was an interesting casting curveball. How does he fit into the story?

SCOTT BUCK: Travis Marshall is a close acquaintance of Professor Gellar. The two of them work together. Professor Gellar is a character with tremendous charisma, and Travis has very much fallen under his power…. Travis has absolutely no interest or inclination to hurt anyone, yet he’s also someone who’s strongly driven by a belief system that compels him to do things he doesn’t necessarily want to do.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: And Mos Def is playing a religious ex-con?

SCOTT BUCK: He’s a former street thug who found God while in prison, and now we call him Brother Sam rather than Father Sam, because he’s not so much a preacher or a minister — he’s someone who is trying to live what he believes is a righteous life by helping others. He runs an auto-body shop and he hires ex-cons, trying to help them get their lives straight. One of them becomes a suspect in a crime and that leads [Brother Sam] to cross paths with Dexter.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You were promoted to showrunner, replacing Chip Johannessen, who came aboard last season. Why the switch?

SCOTT BUCK: It felt like it was time to change directions and return to the creative foundations of the show…. It’s not just the showrunner who’s changed. We also lost Bob Greenblatt [who left his post as Showtime Entertainment president to become NBC Entertainment Chairman], and brought in [Imagine Television president] David Nevins. One of my first meetings with David was him talking about how change is good: “We’re going into season 6 — let’s not be afraid to break some of the rules that we’ve so highly respected over the years.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Last season, the show featured multiple villains instead of a season-long adversary. Will this season mark a return to the old formula?

SCOTT BUCK: It’s a little bit of both. Last season, Dexter went down a very dark path and we’re trying to find our way back to the Dexter we knew in season 1. So we’re going back to our original format in a lot of ways, but also trying to absorb what we’ve learned along the way.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Coming off the high of season 4, some fans were disappointed by season 5, though it ended up as the highest-rated one yet. What was your take on last season?

SCOTT BUCK: It was a very strong season in showing exactly how human you could make Dexter. To me, that was all very interesting and intriguing. For all the years that he was married to Rita (Julie Benz), we were never quite sure about how he genuinely felt about her — if he ever actually loved her — because the idea of love was something he always struggled with. But Lumen (Julia Stiles) came into his life and he was suddenly open to that possibility for the first time. That was a very new and different Dexter, so that was the most interesting thing about last season.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: On the flip side, what could have been better?

SCOTT BUCK: Just the fact that it was Dexter on a very dark path. It became so heavy and brooding at times that we really wanted to brighten up Dexter’s world a bit…. You couldn’t kill Rita and not have Dexter go to that place, but we spent a season there and now we’ve turned him around. Life is good now.
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