"Dexter" has become a Comic-Con staple in recent years with fans flocking to Ballroom 20 to ask Michael C. Hall the same questions about his own Dark Passenger and Jennifer Carpenter the same questions about swearing.
In its final Comic-Con adventure, "Dexter" will be attempting to stir up excitement after a weak day of movies in the cavernous Hall H.
Click through for my full live-blog...
6:33 p.m. Our moderator today is Ralph Garman, who has had this gig a couple times before.
6:37 p.m. Garman wants us to know that the final season of "Dexter" will be out on DVD on November 5. And the Complete Series will also be available that day.
6:38 p.m. I don't get why "Dexter" panels at Comic-Con always have to be slick promotional platforms for things other than the show itself. It's always about shilling for DVDs or a computer game or an animated webseries or an ap.
6:39 p.m. Time for a package of Dexter's best kills or something. It's always good to see John Lithgow. It takes a lot of guts to show footage from the Colin Hanks/Eddie James Olmos season. Good grief.
6:43 p.m. On our panel: Producers Sarah Colleton, Scott Buck, Manny Coto, former showrunner Clyde Phillips, co-stars Aimee Garcia, Desmond Harrington, David Zayas, Yvonne Strahovski, the deceased (on the show) Lauren Velez, the deceased (on the show) Erik King, the deceased (on the show) Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall.
6:47 p.m. "I don't think it's a feeling that any of us has really processed yet, because it's been such a tight group," Sara Colleton says. "Right now, we're still sorta frozen." Apparently "Dexter" wrapped production last week.
6:48 p.m. Scott Buck says that the "Dexter" staff is 50 percent women, that some people have been there since the show began and some are newish.
6:49 p.m. This is Desmond Harrington's first Comic-Con. "I honestly can't get the scope of the thing yet," he says.
6:49 p.m. One absent cast member sent a message. AWESOME. It's John Lithgow on video. "Hello... Dexter Morgan fans," Lithgow says. "I wish I could be with you all today, but as you know... I'm dead." He adds. He thanks "Dexter" for getting people to recognize him as a psychopath. As if Brian DePalma didn't do that already?
6:50 p.m. It's been hard for Ralph to watch what Deb is going through this year. "It makes my life look really good," Carpenter says, describing the past few seasons as being like a stunt car driver. "It's been scary and complicated and I really appreciate the challenge. I love that I get scripts and don't know what the hell to do with them. Or used to get scripts," she says.
6:51 p.m. "Our conscious minds are aware that it's over," Hall says, but he suspects that in five months, his body will be wondering why he isn't doing "Dexter" again. "I would say five or six months now there'll be some wave of something that we'll all experience.
6:53 p.m. "It's ending on a high note and that's what you want on television," says Benz, who describes it as an honor to have been part of "Dexter" for four years.
6:53 p.m. Erik King says people still come up and talk to him about the show. "I don't think I'm dead," he says. "I'm proud of the work. I'm proud of the show. And I'm proud to be here with the castmembers.
6:54 p.m. "Oddly enough, it feels like I just saw everybody," Velez insists. "It's amazing to be here, because this is my first time at Comic-Con and to see this is crazy. It's so awesome." She thanks us. "Thank you for going on this ride with this team."
6:56 p.m. "I still feel like the new kid on the block," Garcia says, praising Michael and Jennifer and Scott and Sara for setting the tone. "I'm honored to be able to explore Jamie's various naked sides," she says, earning whistles from the crowd.
6:56 p.m. Harrington recalls coming onto the show from a looser environment and not being able to keep up with Michael's work ethic. He admits he got the call to straight up and he did. "It became a joy to be a part of it, so thanks," Harrinton says, choked up.
6:57 p.m. "I still can't say anything," Strahovski says, not admitting that Hannah is coming back. And then admitting but saying, "We don't know when." She hints strongly that Hannah's motivation might be revenge. Or it might be love. She's embarrassed to have outed the possibility of revenge and she covers her face with her name placard.
7:00 p.m. First audience question: Has Michael developed any rituals on how to get into character. "I think I really need to focus on some rituals to get out of character at this point," he chuckles. He says that originally putting on the kill-suit was enough and eventually the whole environment was helpful. "I think after a certain point, it just becomes like second nature," he adds.
7:02 p.m. "Dr. Vogel is someone who really reframes the whole origin story for Dexter," Hall says of Charlotte Rampling's role this season. "She's an icon of world cinema and it's nice as an actor if your assignment is to be mesmerized by someone to be standing across from someone who is so inherently mesmerizing," he explains. "She was our first choice and she said yes," Colleton says of Rampling's casting.
7:03 p.m. Second audience question is about building tension and "just make it so good." Manny Coto is entrusted with answering, which he can't really do. "The approach to 'Dexter' has always been character-based," he says. "When you have a story about a serial killer who is killing other bad killers, the drama almost inherently flows around it," Coto says. Clyde Phillips salutes producer Robert Lewis and composer Dan Licht, who has been with the show for its whole run.
7:05 p.m. A very excitable young woman asks if they have any Comic-Con interests other than being on "Dexter." Apparently Aimee Garcia likes Japanese animation. Michael C. Hall loves "Incredible Hulk" in all of its forms. Hall says this was his chance to play a version of the Hulk. "He's not as green or big," he admits.
7:07 p.m. "Sometimes if we have a foot, we'll play a little football with it," Zayas says of defusing tense scenes with humor. "You kind of get used to it like a professional policeman would."
7:07 p.m. "I couldn't wait to do it. And I just kept walking around. I wanted to stay in The Zone," Velez says, recalling her last scenes before her series death. "It was hard knowing it was going to be the last one, but it wasn't hard doing the work," Velez adds. King agrees and salutes Michael for showing up every day with "his heart and his craft."
7:09 p.m. Do they root for Dexter or want him to get caught? "It's a complicated question because it's a little bit like talking about a family member," Carpenter says of the morality of the series. "I have a really visceral reaction to everything and everybody here," Carpenter says. She says that she's mostly wanted to protect Dexter, except for the moments she wants to kill him. "I've always been on Dexter's side," Hall says.
7:11 p.m. A guy from Minnesota requests Jennifer Carpenter's name placard.
7:11 p.m. Has Yvonne imagined a way to have the characters from "Chuck" help her take Dexter down? This confuses her. "No," she says. Well-played, Yvonne. Well-played.
7:12 p.m. Question about Michael C. Hall's thoughts on TV. "I learned after 'Six Feet Under' when I original thought I wouldn't do another TV show to never say never," he says, celebrating with "getting on the TV train" at a time that was unprecedented in terms of quality.
7:15 p.m. Do the people think Dexter is an unreliable narrator? Or was he telling the truth at the beginning and he's becoming the mask? "I think when we meet Dexter, he believes what he's telling us, but I always was interested in the notion that maybe his voiceover is not the bottom line," Hall says. And Dr. Vogel is only confusing things this year by suggesting Dexter is lying to himself.
7:16 p.m. Did Jennifer Carpenter say that she could only separate herself from Deb if Deb died? "I meant what I said. I wanted her and want her to die. As an actor. It's because I love her," Carpenter says. Hall notes that, "At the end of 'Six Feet Under' we all got to die and as actors that's nice," Hall says. "I've died on many shows before, but as most of you know they were all like supernatural shows, so they all came back to life," Benz says, noting this was the first time that when she died she was dead. "I actually had to go through a mourning process of losing Rita," she says.
7:21 p.m. How far ahead do the actors know when surprises are coming? King says that he knew he was going to die part of the way into the season, saying that it respected the integrity of the character to have him die. "Those are the hardest decisions that I've ever been part of," Colleton says, comparing characters dying to deaths in the family. Velez says she knew in Episode 10 that she was going to die and that she'd begun to suspect something when LaGuerta was promoted to captain.
7:24 p.m. Quinn is a bit of a mess. "Yup. Bring it on," Harrington says as Garman lists Quinn's various problems. "It's weird because Dexter is a serial killer, but Quinn at times can be a scumbag," Harrington says, noting that he has his good side, though. "It's tough. He's a corrupt guy, but he has his own little code of stuff he won't do," Harrington adds. "Honestly, did you people think I was gonna live for more than a year? I'm STILL HERE." Excellent.
7:25 p.m. "I do everything that Dexter does, but then I just tickle the person," Hall says of how he relieves stress.
7:25 p.m. What piece of the set did actors take? "I'm gonna take Dexter's watch, just because I always had it on," Hall says. He also took Dexter's lanyard. He wanted some blood spatter images from Dexter's lab, but somebody swiped them before he could swipe them. He also got a piece of the railing from outside of Dexter's apartment. Aimee took her character's necklace. "I took all the gold that I wear," Harrington says, adding that it isn't actually real. "I took the black orchid," Strahovski says. "I took a lot. It was fun," Carpenter says. Zayas took one of Batista's shirts and he's wearing it.
7:29 p.m. Is Harrison going to get a spinoff? "Yeah. In 25 years there's gonna be a new series called 'Harrison' and Dexter will have died and I'll be his dead, internalized father," Hall promises.
7:29 p.m. Last thoughts. From EVERYBODY. "The fans have supported us and carried us through these eight years and we all have a really direct connection to you," Colleton says. "Sometimes it's really nice to be reminded who we're doing this for," Buck says. Coto says that the cast are generous and wonderful and great people. Phillips calls it "remarkable and humbling to be a part of this," marveling at being in Hall H for this last panel. "I want you guys to know that my heart is racing so fast right now," Garcia says, vowing to never forget this. Harrington thanks you for watching. Zayas thanks both the cast and the fans. Yvonne "feels really, really blessed to be a part of this group." "I just think it's really extraordinary to end this whole cycle here. Thanks. Thank you," Velez says. "Two years on the show and you guys have kept me alive for the last six years, whether I'm at the Cosco or on the elevator, you always remind me and ask me to say the thing that I can't say," King says. ["Surprise, Motherbleeper" is the thing he can't say.] "The most authentic thing about the show is our relationship with you," Carpenter says. "It can't be a wrap til we're all here together," she adds, voice cracking. "Just as you all waited in line and are here for us, we have been here for you and we are here because of you and we all thank you so much," Hall concludes.
That's all, folks...