If you’ve already seen the horrific season 4 conclusion of Dexter, then you’re probably wondering why the show took such a tragic turn with one of its major characters. The shocking twist, according to executive producer Clyde Phillips, was made quite late in the season as the writers didn’t really know how to wrap up the show with a bang.
Spoiler Warning: Do not read this article if you haven’t seen the finale.
In a nutshell, Dexter‘s final episode saw Dexter killing Trinity but not before Trinity murdered Rita in a bathtub. “The story evolved and it kind of became inevitable,” Phillips told Entertainment Weekly‘s Michael Ausiello of Rita’s death.
“We knew that we had to do more than kill Trinity. It’s a little bit of a corner that we paint ourselves into. Last year we tried to avoid that and actually I think we didn’t do as well as we could have. We killed off Jimmy Smits’ character [in the 11th episode] of 12 episodes and then we had to figure out what we were going to do in the 12th episode. This season, we knew that we were going to take Trinity out in the 12th episode and we think that the audience knew that, too. We had to raise the bar to as high as possible and then figure out what to do next year,” Phillips added.
Julie Benz, who played Rita since the first season of Dexter, was understandably not happy to learn about her character’s tragic fate. However, Phillips was quick to point out that “she knew that this was a possibility” and that the actress was very professional about being written off the Showtime series. Phillips also disproved any notion of Rita’s possible return as a ghost like Dexter’s dad.
While some fans were frustrated at how Dexter season 4 wrapped up, killing off Rita was clearly the better option as compared to the other ending that the writers had planned.
“While Dexter was packing to leave, he saw on the television that a child murderer had just escaped from prison. Either escaped or fallen thru the cracks. So he’s thinking, ‘Do I join Rita on vacation or do I…’ and then he looks towards the camera and he has this big decision,” Phillips said of the other finale option.
(Image courtesy of Showtime)