Exclusive Interview: ‘Dexter’ Star Erik King, Part 2

  • Dec 17, 2007
  • Buddy TV

In last night’s explosive second season finale of Dexter, fans saw two fires.  The second one saw Dexter escape relatively unscathed from a fire set by psychotic pseudo-girlfriend Lila, but it was the first big event in the opening 10 minutes that left fans’ mouths agape.  Erik King’s Sgt. Doakes, a series regular since the first episode, met his end when Lila blew up the cabin he was trapped in.

BuddyTV spoke to Erik King last week and got his thoughts on the big finale, how he found out about his character’s fate, and a possible return to the series, despite his character’s demise.  Continue reading for the full transcript and audio file of the interview.

I’m back here with Erik King, and after that finale Doakes is dead. How did you first find out about that, or hear what would happen in the finale?

The producers were very, very decent about it. I would say around episode four they called me. A lot of actors have that terrible thing where you pick up the script in your mailbox, or on your desk, or in your office, and you say oh god my character’s being killed. That’s not what happened. They called me in well in advance, sat down with me, and just kind of said this is the trajectory that we’re going in. This is sort of where the story has to go. You can’t go three seasons of saying I’m watching you, and let Doakes truly be he who is, and not find something out. Of course I was saddened. I have to say it’s not necessarily for the job, as I’ve been working in the business for quite a few years and I’m very pleased and grateful that I’ll probably continue to work. I’m sure that will happen for me. But I’m really sad for the character, because I really like Sergeant Doakes. I really like crafting that character. I like watching this character evolve from this place where people would see me in the streets and say “Leave Dexter alone, what are you doing, leave Dexter alone,” to sort of creating this more sympathetic guy who had more colors and more bottom to him. I was really saddened by the loss of the character, to be honest with you.

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Definitely. I think a lot of fans were saddened, but it was one of those things that once we saw where this season was going, and once Doakes found out about Dexter’s secret, his death almost became a necessity for the storyline. Having Doakes around, but knowing it, it’s almost hard to continue telling the story and keeping Dexter safe.

I was so surprised, because people come up with their own anecdotes, whether it was the crew or people who have seen the show, and gone well, once he knows maybe they can join forces, or maybe they can do this, or maybe they can do that. I’m excited that people are so excited about the character, that’s what’s really most important to me. Physically, Doakes is gone, but we’ll have to see what happens though.

How did the rest of the cast react when they found out this news?

I think it was really difficult. I kept it from the cast for awhile, and from the crew for awhile as well, because I knew I had the work to do. Since that was the case, I really needed to be in the moment and not carry everybody else’s sadness with me. So for a couple of episodes, nobody knew. Then it was very difficult, especially on a couple of the characters. Lauren Velez, who I’m very, very close to as Laguerta, and David Zayas, and C.S. Lee, they were really impacted by it. I actually sat down with Michael C. Hall myself and told him. They told me before they told anyone else. It was sad man. We really are a family, and I will continue to watch the show because of those actors, and because of those characters and my investment in the show.

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I definitely think that even though Doakes is going to be gone, going into season three Laguerta seems determined to prove that he wasn’t the Bay Harbor Butcher. I think Doakes isn’t going to be totally out of the series.

Exactly. We also know that everyone who dies on Dexter doesn’t necessarily die, right?

I suppose that could be true.

Ask Harry [Dexter’s father, played by James Remar], ask Rudy [the Ice Truck Killer, played by Christian Camargo].

You can definitely be coming back in flashback scenes or dream sequences.

We’ll see what happens.

At the very least, the way you go out, in the giant explosion of this house, that’s one of the better and more flashier ways to go out if your character is going to get killed off.

I agree, it was certainly a big finish. Inevitably, we also knew early on that Dexter could not kill Doakes because he’s an innocent man. Certainly he could frame him, he could come up with something, some other strategy to get rid of him – amnesia, or whatever – but it was clear that he couldn’t kill him. How do you avenge that? It really crosses a line for Dexter, it breaks Harry’s code, and I think in some ways Dexter’s code.

Exactly, which is one of the brilliant paradoxes of the show. Dexter can’t actually kill innocent people, and he’s not a bad guy inherently.

Even though he also thinks he’s not a human guy. He’s always exploring whether or not he has feelings. Watching him, we know, especially as a result of his banter with Doakes, that he’s much more human than he even he thinks he is.

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Now that your schedule is somewhat cleared up, do you have any plans for any movies or any TV work coming up?

Well, as you know we’re on strike now, the writers are on strike. After doing the show, doing all the press for the show, and the Christmas holidays at this point, I’m really looking forward to going to the east coast and hanging out with my family. I have no doubt that I’ll come back and get back to work as soon as the holidays are over, but right now nothing in the works. Although a great romantic comedy would be good, wouldn’t it?

Yeah, definitely a change of pace.

Definitely.

Thank you very much, Erik King. We’re going to be very sorry to see Doakes gone, but it was certainly an explosive finale. I just want to congratulate you on a great season’s worth of work.

Thank you so much. It’s been a joy to work with the cast of the show, and I look forward to season three of Dexter as well. Thank you John, and I appreciate your support.

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

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