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Dexter is a drama series, no doubt about it, however, what was the reason for letting the main character live in the end? If thinking from moral perspective, Dexter is a killer that "gets away", so what lesson then do we really learn?

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    We are generally fine with spoilers but they must not appear in the question titles. Please keep this in mind on future questions. Thanks! – Catija Aug 26 '15 at 14:50
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Dexter is a survivor. It's something he's always managed, despite his "dark passenger". The end of Dexter shows him doing just that, surviving. Getting on with things.

He's lost Rita and Deb. He won't get Rita's kids; and doesn't really want them anyway. All he has left are Hanna and Harrison. Along the way, he's learned that people close to him hate what it is he does, get killed, or both.

By faking his own death, he knows that Hannah will look after Harrison, and they will both be safe from him and anyone who comes after him either from Florida, or from any future dealings. He doesn't want another Trinity incident with either of them.

He's able to blend in as a no-one doing a menial job where it's unlikely he will be missed for a day or two (unlike his rockstar presence in Miami PD forensics), which means should the urge arise, he'd be able to prepare fully and not need to rush to get back to work.

Arguably, Dexter might not be the killer that "gets away", so much as the one who hasn't been caught yet. Time caught up with all of his victims, some of whom (Trinity specifically) were at it for decades without being caught.

It teaches us that even if we do bad things (ok, Dexter was beyond any normal definition of just 'bad'), that we can put in place measures to protect those around us and try to put the past behind.

Time might yet catch up with Dexter.

  • I would also add that the last scene didn't have the "dark passenger" narrating Dexter's inner monologue. I had interpreted that to mean that the "dark passenger" had possibly been purged from him, and possibly his personal "hell" would be just being a normal nobody. – sonnik Jun 2 '17 at 15:49
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Because Showtime wouldn't let him die:

"How about that finale?" said Dexter producer John Goldwyn at the NYFF premiere of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty this weekend, when we asked how the writers decided on that ending. "They won't let us kill him," he told us. "Showtime was very clear about that. When we told them the arc for the last season, they just said, 'Just to be clear, he's going to live.' There were a lot of endings discussed because it was a very interesting problem to solve, to bring it to a close. People have a relationship with Dexter, even if it doesn't have the size and the ferocity of the fan base for Breaking Bad. But it has a very core loyal following."

I suspect they were/are still hoping to revisit the (lucrative) franchise in the future.

  • Surely the "franchising" aspect of Dexter character cannot be underestimated, but I like to think that the decision was made by the writers and not for (just) mere financial reasons. The season finale imho is not inconsistent with what has happened before. In the previous seasons the theme of the killer that always manages to "get away", gets always a little bit "thinner". Dexter character seems to "evolve" and to be capable to develop feelings and affections, just like a "normal" person, but starts to lose (in a way or another) all the people he cares about in the process. --> – Pesetas74 Aug 27 '15 at 12:03
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    <-- His death at the end of the series might have been cathartic (in a way), but this finale seems much more "darker" to me, and even more appropriate. Just when he seems to have found a companion and a way to live (hide) amongst the others, in order to protect them he is forced to send them away from himself, so the fact that he's alive at the end of the show doesn't feel to me like he "got away" – Pesetas74 Aug 27 '15 at 12:04
  • Though I don't really see why he couldn't end out meeting up with them anyway. I think it's more of the execs wanting to keep him alive. – Wayne Werner Jan 17 '17 at 22:35
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Debras passing away, just as everything started looking good for her, getting back together with Quinn etc. combined with Dexter, the really bad guy getting away (despite him loosing everything in the process). Leaves a deep feeling of unfairness. The wrong person died.

Even though Dexter, the main character is inherently bad, the viewer grew to love him, but the ending makes up for that and shows the viewer how wrong it really is with people like him getting away. And how much havoc and sadness they leave behind.

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