Michael C. Hall’s Killer Instincts On Dexter

Michael C. Hall at the premiere of the eighth and final season of Dexter at Milk Studios in Los Angeles
Michael C. Hall at the premiere of the eighth and final season of Dexter at Milk Studios in Los Angeles

If watching Dexter makes you squirm in your seat, then Michael C. Hall is happy. The actor, who plays police forensics expert/serial killer Dexter Morgan, relishes your uneasiness. It’s part of a master plan to make him someone viewers hate to love.

“From the beginning, when I read the first script, I immediately recognized that the producers were attempting to create a show around a character who was doing reprehensible things, but was someone who manages to elicit sympathy nonetheless,” Hall recalls. “That challenge was intriguing.”

It was one he couldn’t resist even though he didn’t expect to do another TV series. “I know how spoiled I was doing Six Feet Under. I couldn’t imagine there would be another character that would offer so much complexity and along came Dexter.

It’s hard not to point out that death is central to both Six Feet Under and Dexter. Hall claims that was a coincidence. “I won’t deny that there seems to be a theme, “ he says. “I think I exercise a lot of my interest in death through my work, It’s not something I set out to do.”

Surprisingly perhaps Dexter and David Fisher (his character on Six Feet Under) have captivated viewers. “I find that people like Dexter as much as David. It’s nice for me to go from someone who was a self-saboteur to someone who is quite proactive in his own way. He’s a real go-getter,” Hall says with a chuckle.

That makes Dexter difficult not to like or identify with. He, too, can feel socially awkward, lonely and ill at east with emotions. It doesn’t hurt that Dexter has an endearing sense of humour. He calls his boat Slice of Life and makes quips like, “Nothing last forever. Just ask a Ford Pinto.”

It’s hard not to wonder how a nice guy like Hall can tap into Dexter’s delusional mind for the show’s final season. “I enjoy it. It’s fun to work out all those dark things in a safe, controlled environment – and you exercise some of the demons that might conspire against you otherwise, “he says. Then adds wryly, “I don’t mean to suggest that had I not taken this part, I would have started killing people compulsively.”

Grisly scenes might be tough for some viewers to take, but not Hall. “I had five years of Six Feet Under to prepare for the blood and guts on Dexter. I just marvel at the skill with which the prosthetic people manufacture these life-like, or death-like, body parts. For whatever reason, I have a pretty strong stomach for those things.”

So what does disturb Hall? “People cutting me off in traffic.” He says. “That kinds of turns my stomach. But for some reason, when it come to bloody prosthetics, I’m okay with that.”

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Michele Sponagle

Canadian journalist Michele Sponagle is a prolific creator of lifestyle editorial, from travel to style, from relationships to food trends. She has been there and done that in more than 60 countries — and still counting. She has contributed to most of Canada’s leading media outlets and racked up more than 10 National Magazine Award nominations and one win from the Travel Media Association of Canada for best family feature.

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