The name Clyde Phillips might not ring a bell, but he’s a former “Dexter” executive producer/showrunner from the early years. He recently chatted with E! News and shared his own ideas of how the show should have ended.
Phillips (pictured right), who took over as showrunner of “Nurse Jackie” a year ago, helped shape “Dexter” during its first four seasons until he decided to leave in late 2009 at the end of the Trinity Killer season, which ended with Rita’s shocking death. E! tracked him down to ask what, if anything, he had planned for the very end.
“I haven’t shared this with anyone,” Phillips told the site, “and I can tell you that this is what I personally would have done should I have stayed with the show. I chose not to stay with the show, and so everybody did what they did and I had no problem with that… and I think they did a good job with the final episode. But here is what I personally would have pitched.”
“In the very last scene of the series,” Phillips explained, “Dexter wakes up. And everybody is going to think, ‘Oh, it was a dream.’ And then the camera pulls back and back and back, and then we realize, ‘No, it’s not a dream.’ Dexter’s opening his eyes and he’s on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They’re just starting to administer the drugs, and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery.”
“And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed—including the Trinity Killer and the Ice Truck Killer (his brother, Rudy), LaGuerta who he was responsible for killing, Doakes who he’s arguably responsible for, Rita who he’s arguably responsible for, Lila. All the big deaths and also whoever the weekly episodic kills were. They are all there.”
“That’s what I envisioned for the ending of Dexter. That everything we’ve seen over the past eight seasons has happened in the several seconds from the time they start Dexter’s execution to the time they finish the execution and he dies. Literally, his life flashed before his eyes as he was about to die. I think it would have been a great, epic, very satisfying conclusion.”
Phillips further explained that his idea for the ending was inspired by “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” the 1890 story by Ambrose Bierce about a Confederate soldier that is famous for its time-altering, plot-twisting ending. When the soldier is hanged, the rope breaks, he falls into the river, swims to shore, runs toward his family, see his wife and children, and right before they are reunited, the rope catches and he dies. It turns out that the entire story takes place in the two to three seconds between the soldier’s initial drop and his neck snapping.
Even if Phillips had stayed on with “Dexter,” however, there’s no telling how the series finale would have turned out. “That is what I would have pitched and what I would have liked to have done,” Phillips concluded, “but I can’t say what we would have done because nobody was the boss of that show. It was a collaboration between Sara Colleton and John Goldwyn and the network and me.”
Well, that’s a MUCH more satisfying ending, wouldn’t you say? Oh, what might have been…
“Dexter” Episode 8.12 – “Remember the Monsters?” (Series Finale) (aired 9/22/13)
Season 8 and the series conclude with Dexter (Michael C. Hall) facing impossible odds. With a hurricane threatening Miami, Dexter becomes determined to end things his way.
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