Dexter Charlotte Rampling

Dexter Morgan is going to meet his maker. Not literally — well, perhaps literally — but definitely figuratively. The eighth and final season of Showtime’s drama will introduce Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a psychiatrist played by veteran British actress Charlotte Rampling.

Vogel seeks out Dexter’s help because a killer is stalking her. She also holds a big key to his past: Vogel helped Dex’s father Harry invent “The Code” that he used to manage his son’s psychotic impulses (that is: Dex only kills people who deserve it).

On a chilly April morning in Long Beach, the Dexter production team was shooting a scene at a snack bar on the beach. Dex (Michael C. Hall) and Vogel discussed his frustration with his estranged sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter). In the background, extras hired to play volleyball players tossed the ball back and forth underhanded over the net, while joggers ran in wide circles around the snack bar.

“I won’t just let her go,” Dexter says.

During a break, I say to Rampling: So this is all your fault then?

She laughs. “I suppose you could say that,” she says. “She decided Dexter was not going to be considered a monster and wasn’t going to be considered mentally insane and not be put into an institution. Dexter is a bit of a guinea pig. He’s possibly one of her success stories if you think The Code is acceptable.”

Rampling (The Verdict, Swimming Pool) hadn’t seen Dexter when she was offered the role, but quickly did a crash-course viewing session on previous seasons and asked friends about the show. After showrunner Scott Buck pitched the character in detail, she decided she really wanted the part. “I knew I was going to play this woman. I thought it was fantastic. I knew it was just for me and I didn’t want anyone else to play her.”

Vogel’s role includes flashbacks to when Dexter was a kid and his father and the doctor wrestled with how to handle him. Expect her scenes with her unwitting patient to have a certain gamesmanship quality.

“There’s something intellectual abut the way Vogel works toward an instinctual person who doesn’t analyze what he does because he has no conscience,” she says. “Dexter’s also very charismatic and so I need to be charismatic to get his attention. It’s very cat and mouse.”

Dexter returns June 30.

Pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly for the behind-the-scenes scoop on Dexter‘s final season, on newsstands now or buy it here:

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

  • TV Show
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  • On Hiatus
  • Showtime