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Exclusive: 'Dexter' resurrects Julie Benz

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dexterImage Credit: Randy Tepper/ShowtimeNow this is what I call a killer twist: Julie Benz is returning to Dexter — as Rita!

Sources confirm to me exclusively that Benz — whose onscreen murder at the hands of the Trinity Killer was deemed by EW.com to be the most shocking death in TV history — has signed on to reprise her role as Dexter’s late bride in the first episode of season 5 (debuting this fall).

What? How? Why? Keep reading for answers to those three questions and more…

Specific details of Rita’s “resurrection” are being kept under wraps, but I’m told she is not coming back from the dead. New showrunner/executive producer Chip Johannessen also rules out a spectral visit a la Dexter’s late pa, Harry. “We’re not going to do some ghostly thing with her,” he says. Adds fellow exec producer Sara Colleton: “We reserve those for Harry. If you have too many things like that it becomes gimmicky.”

So how exactly will Benz — who will shoot her Dexter episode before starting work on her new ABC drama, No Ordinary Family — be revived? A Showtime rep would only add that the presence of Rita will “help Dexter deal with his newfound feelings of loss and grief — emotions he has never really felt before.”

Color me stumped! Think you have it figured out? Hit the comments with your theories!

Related: Dexter targets Julia Stiles for top-secret role