Exclusive Interview: Erik King from 'Dexter,' Part 1
Exclusive Interview: Erik King from 'Dexter,' Part 1
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
This Sunday, Dexter's critically acclaimed and highly-rated (for Showtime) second season comes to an end.  When season 2 began, few Dexter fans could have expected the shocking changes the creative team had in store, particularly for Sgt. Doakes, played by Erik King.  Doakes' determination to discover Dexter's dark secret came true midway through the season when he found proof that Dexter was the serial killer known as the Bay Harbor Butcher.  Fans were then doubly surprised when Doakes confronted Dexter and was locked in a small cage in a cabin by the serial killer, awaiting his fate.

BuddyTV spoke to Erik King once again to get his views on season 2 thus far, and what to expect from the season finale.  King spoke about being head butted by Michael C. Hall, the thought process in conveying Doakes' emotions while stuck in the cage, and the possibility of episodes being edited to air on CBS.  Continue reading for a full transcript and audio file of the interview, and check back on Monday for part 2 of our interview with Erik King for his thoughts on the explosive season finale.

Hi, this is John from BuddyTV, and I'm talking once again to Erik King from Dexter. Hi Eric.

Hey John, how are you this morning?

I'm good. Sergeant Doakes has been through quite a lot so far in season two, from finding out that Dexter is going to Narcotics Anonymous, to finding out Dexter's real secret, to being trapped in a cage. Have you had a favorite moment or scene that you've done so far this year?

Wow, there are actually quite a few. Those scenes in the cage are great for me. I think it was a great opportunity for the characters to see each other as men finally, so that's been great. God, there's been so many man. The headbutt was kind of an interesting scene. I think there's so many. There are countless opportunities to sort of reconnect to what was good about the season.

How did that headbutt work? Was that actually you and Michael C. Hall doing those scenes, and then you tackling him later on in the main office?

Exactly. That's exactly what it was, and I have the whiplash to prove it. Of course Michael doesn't hit me, but I have to react as if he did. After a few takes let's just say I've got some injuries, but I'm working them out.

Did you get any of that back though then when you tackle him down and start beating on him?

Yeah, well I come at him pretty hard, so yeah. I was never going to hurt Michael, so he was okay as well.

You talked about being in the cage, because for the last couple episodes you've been stuck in a cage. I imagine it's a different experience for an actor, especially if you're a physical kind of guy, being stuck in this tiny cage for so many of your scenes. How did that work out?

Well, what was most difficult for me was trying to rationalize and work through how Doakes would react to that. With his special-ops background and his law enforcement background, it was really important to me that Doakes' focus was not to escape from the cage. That's not his focus. I think he should have been more cool and calm than that. For some reason, in my mind I imagined that this was not the first time he had been locked up or captured in some way. So my goal was not to escape from the cage as much as it was to invite him into the cage, to sort of invite myself into Dexter. If I can save Dexter, especially after he kills this guy in front of me, if I can save him then ultimately I can save myself.

As far as I'm concerned, as a fan, my favorite scene was your reaction after Dexter kills the guy with you in the room. Suddenly, though Doakes is a very powerful and imposing man, he was for the first time terrified of actually seeing what Dexter really is.

Thank you, I appreciate you saying that John. I think that certainly is a great part of it. Also, as I'm putting this scene together in my head before we do it, there's this layer for me that Doakes is this guy who comes from a family of women. His father wasn't in his life, he spent a lot of time with special-ops, he spent a lot of time and volunteered to become a police officer. It was something that he really, really wanted to do, to the chagrin of some of his friends. What's really important to me is that there's a part of him that is a rescuer, and the fact that he could not save Dexter I think was more devastating than watching the kill. I believe Doakes probably has seen someone die right in front of him, he's killed people in front of him, but to not be able to affect any kind of change in that particular scene I think was devastating for him. He was truly, truly captured.

Definitely, and it was some good stuff. Now I'd like to talk more generally about Dexter. There's been a lot of promotion from Showtime this year about how it's been getting the highest ratings ever for the series' on Showtime. I'm wondering how you respond to that. It's always gotten a lot of critical acclaim, but now it seems to be finding a pretty big audience.

Well we're really excited about it. As you say, the show is finding its audience as well. I think it's word of mouth, people are saying this is a great show, and having the first season on DVD helped a lot as well. It allowed people who don't have premium television to have the opportunity to pick it up and watch the show in succession. I've heard a lot of fans say they just sat through it and watched it for the weekend, and I'm thinking wow, that's pretty good. Although you gotta be kind of screwed up to watch this show, all 12 episodes, in one weekend. I'm excited. I'm excited that the show is really catching on, and the audience has found the show and the show has found its audience.

It was recently announced that due to the writers' strike, CBS is considering repurposing Dexter and airing it on CBS. I'm wondering how you feel about that kind of thing, and do you think it'll change the show at all to edit it for a major network?

Of course it will. I think that it will find another audience, which is a great thing. You're going to get more people who don't have premium television, who don't have to pay for it, and it'll be a broader audience. But, you know, Doakes has a pretty colorful mouth. It'd be interesting to see what he ends up with, how much of Doakes' scenes have to be cut out. Even just the edge of the show. Even though you don't see a lot of killing, your mind thinks you do, just the way that we've crafted it and the way it's directed. You really get a sense that you're in the room, in the space with those victims in Saran Wrap.

That's actually one of the things I was thinking of, because when it was announced that it was going to be on CBS I thought, what about all the killing? Then I started thinking, “Wait a second, do we ever actually see Dexter kill people?”

Exactly. It's pretty interesting, because you think you do. You think it's a really gory show, but in actuality you really don't see it. You hear the chainsaw or you hear that saw go off and you think oh my God, but you don't see it.

Exactly, and that's a credit to the creative team just making you feel setting the scene.

Yeah, and I think it would be a challenge for Standards and Practices, because even though you don't really see it there's a sense that it's happening. So, you know, what is really violence?

This Sunday is the big finale.

Yes, the big, big finale.

We're all looking forward to it, and I think the fans are really excited to see where your character goes and how everything turns out.

Yeah, we'll be putting all the little story pieces together. We'll sort of put the bow on the package, as we did last year for the finale.

-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of Showtime)