‘Dexter: New Blood’: Why Jennifer Carpenter Says Returning to Play Debra Was Like ‘Jazzercise’

by Chase Thomas
(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Dexter: New Blood is on a roll on Showtime. Folks are jazzed about the return of so many iconic characters, one of which is Deb, played by Jennifer Carpenter. However, after so many years away, it couldn’t have been easy for the longtime co-star of the show with Michael C. Hall to jump back right into the character. Or could it have been?

Carpenter spoke with TV Insider about reprising her role and everything that went into her return. She said, “It was a conversation Michael and I touched on maybe once a year for the past two or three years. It was always in my mind that he was chewing on the idea, and it was no secret to me that I was dead. I think I just asked myself what I would be interested in if I were seeing it from a fan’s perspective. I decided I wanted to see karma at play, essentially. No matter where it went with anyone else’s perspective, that was my home base for everything. It was sort of like trying to perform it all while underwater because it was all so surreal.”

So, this was something that was in the works longer than most folks may have anticipated. You get it from Michael’s perspective. The ending was rough for a lot of fans, and he could always go back and remedy that with the right situation. However, with Carpenter, that never made as much sense. As she mentioned, her character was dead. Still, she was interested in continuing her story beyond the grave with Dexter.

Deb Morgan’s Character Evolution

Now that she’s back, though, we can look at how she is now versus how she was years ago during the original run. She had to get out of her own head as she tells it. She had to forget Deb, and think entirely about Dexter and that particular character. Carpenter said, “I had to not take the temperature of everything else. I think it was incredibly necessary that I isolate my work, my part, my story from whatever the rest of this experience is for everyone else.”

She continued, “I almost didn’t even pay attention to what was going on in the main storyline. I just put my focus on Dexter. Where is he?” Her focus changed. She thought big-picture here. Carpenter continued, “What is he afraid of? What would he think Deb would think of this? What does he want me to tell him?”

This is a truly fascinating way of evolving her character. Carpenter knows with her gone, she has to think as Harry thought about Dexter. She has to become selfless and only think about how Dexter thinks. This is not an easy character evolution and she pulls it off well on Showtime.