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When Showtime recently renewed Dexter for two more seasons, fans wondered: Is this the beginning of the end for the acclaimed serial killer drama?

Though plans could still change, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins tells EW the working assumption is indeed that Dexter will conclude in the eighth season. Moreover, the creative endgame starts sooner than you think — the remaining episodes of the current sixth season will set into motion events that will resonate through the remainder of the series.

“Coming back for two more years gives us clarity about how and when it will go out,” Nevins said at Showtime’s annual holiday party in Los Angeles on Thursday night. “There’s things that are going to happen [this season] that will set up a very clear endgame that will take two seasons to tell. You have got to be there for the last two episodes.”

Nevins pointed to NBC’s Friday Night Lights, which he developed and produced while running Imagine Entertainment, and how being given an end date allowed showrunner Jason Katims to craft a strong final act. “Having that definitiveness always helps,” Nevins said. “We were able to plot very clearly. It’s rare to have that degree of certainty.”

Asked if Dexter will therefore absolutely conclude in the eighth season, Nevins added, “I’m never going to say ‘never,’ but everybody is operating under that assumption. Things could take a turn creatively where they come to us and say they need more time.”

Meanwhile guests at the party sang the praises for Nevins’ freshman drama Homeland, which some consider the best new drama series of the fall. Nevins said he’s “excited and a little bit anxious” about the conclusion of the intense show’s first season. “It’s emotionally wrenching to the nth degree,” he said.

Some Dexter fans have been less enthusiastic about the show’s current storylines. But it sounds like the remaining hours of the hit drama this season — and Homeland as well — are not to be missed.

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Michael C. Hall plays a serial killer who only murders evildoers in this gruesome drama

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