Exec Says Network TV Would Compromise 'Dexter's' Integrity
Exec Says Network TV Would Compromise 'Dexter's' Integrity
Showtime's dark drama, Dexter, has proven to be a successful venture for the cable network so far, but executive producer Clyde Phillips believes the show would not be able to hold up well in broadcast networks because free television would compromise the show's integrity.

“The moral ambiguity that we are allowed to constantly pursue without having to answer it,” Phillips said when asked what would change if Dexter was to air on network television.  “We're talking about network TV as opposed to cable.  I don't see The Shield on network TV;  I think it would lose a lot of its testosterone.  I think we would lose a lot of our edge.  I think we would lose the ability to live in the shadows we do.”

“Moral ambiguity” is, indeed, an important element in the show, given the eponymous lead character's double-life.  During the day, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) works as blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police, but by night, he hunts down and murders criminals who have passed through the cracks in the justice system.

The series is known for its graphic and bloody depictions of Dexter “at work,” but Philipps claims there's actually more gore on another crime drama than on their show.

“We don't show it.  We talk about it. We see the preamble of it, we see the aftermath of it.  If you add it all up, the 12 episodes [of the first season], it's probably 100 seconds of gore.  Less than 10 seconds an episode. It's nothing,” Phillips said.  “Whereas, on CSI, you've got body parts, you're going inside bodies, you're seeing some gruesome corpses and things.  We don't really need that, I think, because we really pursue the emotional.”

Pursuing the emotional has meant making the series less plot-driven, but Phillips believes this is what makes Dexter such an appealing show.

“We try to tell the stories though Dexter's point of view…  [his] flashbacks always have to be emotionally motivated…  They need to be emotionally driven, rather than plot driven,” he explained.  “I think all of that contributes to the success of the show.  It's emotion, character, and plot, in that order.  And I think that's why people embrace the show.”

For Dexter's second season, which premiered on September 30, Phillips said they had to bring the bar up a notch because they “held nothing back in the first year.”

“If the first year was the origin story, which is a showbiz phrase, then this year is the sort of deconstructing and putting him back together.  I guess the theme of the second year is, ‘Am I good or am I evil?'” he said.

Catch Dexter every Sunday night at 9pm ET/PT on Showtime.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Boston Globe
(Image Courtesy of Showtime)