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Michael C. Hall in 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: Starzplay

A cunning grin, a bloody knife, lots of plastic wrap and sticky Miami summers — these are all elements of actor Michael C Hall’s iconic TV show ‘Dexter’ that have become permanent fixtures in the minds of fans. History will be revisited with a reboot of the hit show — ‘Dexter: New Blood’, out on Starzplay on November 8.

For eight seasons from 2006 to 2013, the actor played a Miami Police Department forensic analyst who moonlights as a serial killer with a twist; he only targets murderers who’ve evaded justice.

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Julia Jones and Michael C. Hall in 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: Starzplay

Hall perfectly embodied the role as the troubled but lovable Dexter Morgan and now he returns as the serial killer minus the actual killing (at least for a while). Perhaps Dexter’s return is a way to soothe the memories of the show’s contentious series finale, which saw him fake his own death following the demise of his sister and leaving his young son Harrison behind.

In a Zoom interview with Gulf News, Hall said he saw the 10-episode reboot as a way to wrap up the loose ends that upset fans 10 years ago. In ‘New Blood’, Dexter lives in a fictional small town called Iron Lake and goes by the name Jim Lindsay. In this new world, he’s a simple shopkeeper, hasn’t killed in a decade and is trying to live a quiet life; even as visions of his sister Debra Morgan (played by a returning Jennifer Carpenter) haunt him. Despite all the past criticism, Hall says his return was coming at the right time.

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Jack Alcott and Michael C. Hall in 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: Starzplay

It’s pretty crazy to be talking to you right now. Because I’ve been a fan of the original show for ages and I’m sure people around the world are waiting for ‘New Blood’. How does it feel to back in Dexter’s shoes and get back to this role that’s pretty iconic?

Ultimately it was a lot of fun and it was very satisfying. The proposition of doing it was always daunting and kind of scary and difficult to wrap my head around. But we came up with a story that we felt was worth telling and it was fun and satisfying to step back in and feel like we were providing ourselves, and hopefully the audience, some sense of satisfaction that they were maybe missing with the way the series proper ended.

Do you remember what it felt like when you were first releasing the original ‘Dexter’ versus how you feel now, when you have an audience waiting and ready?

It’s totally different. I mean, when we shot the pilot... no one had seen it. It was like we were letting people in on some little secret that we’ve been keeping. Now the secret is very much out and people have their associations and relationship with the character and the show. So it’s a very different thing to be doing, to be returning to it and sharing it with an audience that already exists.

Does it make it easier in any way to get back into it knowing that there’s an audience already?

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Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall in 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: Starzplay

Ultimately, I think I try to forget about that when I’m playing the part and just sort of give over to inhabiting the character within the context of the story we’re telling, and let all the rest of it take care of itself.

I read that the new show has been in the works for a while. How did you decide that now was the right time to make ‘New Blood’?

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Julia Jones and Michael C Hall in 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: Starzplay

I think it had to do with a good amount of time having passed and just putting some space between myself and the experience of shooting the [original] series. I mean, probably as much time had passed as we had spent shooting the show. But I think the story that we decided to tell was one that required this time to have passed because it largely centres on the relationship between Dexter and his now full-grown son. We needed that time for that to have plausibly happened unless we were going to do it five years ago and jump into the future, but I don’t think that would have worked. So, you know, that Harrison has grown into a young man has a lot to do with why the time now is right.

I wanted to touch upon The Code that existed in the original show. What is Dexter’s code now that 10 years have passed?

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Michael C. Hall and Jack Alcott at the premiere of 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: AP

His code now is one of abstinence, at least when we meet him at the beginning of this ‘New Blood’ version. He hasn’t killed anyone since we last saw him and I think his code is about doing penance and not indulging his Dark Passenger [but] managing it. I think he feels obliged as a sense of penance... penance for all the collateral damage; his sister having died being the most notable example.

He feels obliged to do penance for that and to be abstinent. One of the benefits of that abstinence is this internalised relationship that he has with his sister that’s very — at least when we first meet him again — pleasant and soothing and domestic. I mean, it’s very strange because she’s obviously not really there... The Code remains very much etched into his being though so if and when he ever were to kill again he certainly would be inclined to reincorporate it.

Dexter has sort of a unique presence about him. Did you decide to play him in the same way as you did all those years ago? Or did you decide to go a different way in terms of getting into the character?

There was a certain body of preparation that existed for me this time around. Because I played the part for eight years... I do think that Dexter... a lot of the difference, in terms of who he is or how he is dependent on this new context. He lives a much slower paced life, a more isolated life, he doesn’t work in the police department.

He’s more of a regular guy and I think how I played him was dictated by the environment he was in and his desire to fit in and blend in and be like an old shoe in the closet that is Iron Lake. He just wants to be one of these people.

In spite of the fact that he’s living under an assumed name he does have a desire that I think is as earnest and genuine as it’s ever been to be a regular person. And so I allowed whatever would define that regular person within the context of this town to be what led him to behave however he behaves.

The show takes place in a totally different environment from Miami where the original set. Was it a very deliberate choice to have him be so far removed and in a place that’s so contrasting...a cold and small town?

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Steve M. Robertson and Michael C. Hall in 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: Starzplay

Yeah, I think we wanted to change as much about Dexter’s external environment as we justifiably could and I think it makes sense that someone who is committed to abstinence would put himself in an environment that didn’t trigger him, that didn’t remind him of who he used to be and where he used to be.

Also if you who want to live in a world that’s without temptation, living in a small town like this is a good idea. He also faked his own death and did kill A lot of people and while he didn’t leave under immediate suspicion of being a killer it’s always a possibility that that could emerge. So he wants to live with a relatively low profile and relatively under the radar. So to be in a small remote place makes sense, logistically or practically speaking.

What was it like to reunite with your old cast members?

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Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter in 'Dexter: New Blood' Image Credit: Starzplay

It was great. I think having those familiar faces and relationships and people, even if it were just little bits here and there, helped maintain or reinforce the connective tissue between what we’re doing now and what we did then. I think for the audience it will be satisfying to be reminded of those characters in those relationships.

I mean, obviously everything’s very different but we don’t want to completely abandon our sense or memory of that old world.

Don’t miss it!

‘Dexter: New Blood’ releases on November 8 on Starzplay.