‘Dexter’ Star John Lithgow Reveals He Knew His Entire Character’s Storyline Before Taking the Part

by Samantha Whidden

Following his appearance on “Dexter: New Blood” as Arthur Mitchell (aka Trinity Killer) last year,  John Lithgow recently opened up about how he knew his entire character’s storyline in the original “Dexter” TV series. 

During a video interview with GQ, John Lithgow recalled being approached by “Dexter” creator Clyde Phillips and producer John Goldwin for the role of the show’s infamous killer. “I got a terrific pitch from Clyde Phillips,” Lithgow explained. He and John Goldwin, the producer, sat with me at CAA and banished my agents. They said, ‘No, nobody else can hear this and you can’t tell anybody about this, but we are going to tell you about the Trinity Killer.’”

After hearing the entire pitch, John Lithgow had some questions. “I kept on saying, ‘Well, wait minute, what happened to the baby?’ You know, things like that. And they would have to tell me, and I kept saying, ‘More, more, more,’ to the point where they had given me way more information than they intentioned.”

As the duo kept trying to persuade him to take the part, John Lithgow shared, “I said, ‘No I won’t tell anybody any of this, but no, I’m not doing that.’ And then my agent and my lawyer got on my case and said, ‘John, you gotta do this.’ So I said yes, and had a great time doing it.”

John Lithgow appeared as the Trinity Killer on “Dexter” during the show’s fourth season, which was in 2009. He then appeared in “Dexter New Blood” in 2021. 

‘Dexter’ Alum John Lithgow Discusses Life As the Trinity Killer

While speaking to LA Times in 2009, John Lithgow opened up about his life as the Trinity Killer on “Dexter.”

“I knew everything about the season, and nobody else did,” Lithgow explained. “The only other person who did was [Dexter actor] Michael C. Hall, and he doesn’t like to be told too much ahead of time.”

Lithgow also said that he had this “extraordinary” secret for three months. “Even the directors didn’t know what was coming next,” he explained. He described the character as being more than one-dimensional. 

When asked when he thought the character was actually the scariest, John Lithgow recalled, “When he’s being so nice. I think by far the scariest scene of the whole 12 episodes is Thanksgiving dinner when he’s being the gentle patriarch. That tension between his nice outward demeanor and whatever’s boiling inside him is really disturbing.”

John Lithgow then added his favorite scene was that Thanksgiving dinner. “Also, the first 10 minutes of the next episode is a fantastic piece of writing,” Lithgow said. “It follows immediately upon the end of the last: that was the scene that the whole 12 episodes were building up to. This is where Dexter and Arthur finally know who the other is.”