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Rita Is "Not a Ghost!" and Other Dexter Scoop from Jennifer Carpenter and Julie Benz

Julie Benz, Dexter Randy Tepper/Showtime

Will Rita (Julie Benz) return as rumored? Is Michael C. Hall doing OK? And how on Earth is Dexter going to recover from that terrifyingly game-changing season finale, which still gives us chills at the very thought of it?

Well, Showtime's Dexter is back in production this very day--whoopee!--and Jennifer Carpenter and Julie Benz are dishing...

"We've had our first read through, and people will be pleasantly surprised," Jennifer tells us about the fifth season premiere, the first since (spoiler alert for anyone who's behind!) Julie Benz's gruesome season-finale sendoff. "We read the first episode, and it doesn't feel like a job anymore. It's just really exciting."

More importantly, in real life, Jennifer says her husband Michael  is "great," "better than ever" and back to work, too, after his battle with cancer late last year, and they are both so grateful for the ongoing fan support.

Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

"We've said it over and over that he's in complete remission just so people will stop worrying," she says with laugh, "but still people come up to him asking, 'Are you okay?'" For the record, he is. Thank goodness.

Production on Dexter's fifth season began bright and early Tuesday, and either Jen's a very good actress (duh!) or she sincerely has no idea if her good friend Julie is actually returning this year, as has been reported.

"Julie is one of my very best friends, and I don't know anything about that," she teases. "I want to know why I'm the last to know everything." Uh-huh, yeah, sure.

For the record, we just nabbed some time with Julie at the Monte Carlo Film Festival a few hours ago, and being as coy as ever, she revealed: "Rita is not going to be a ghost! The writers would never do something so cheesy. I am not going to confirm or deny anything, but if she does come back, it would be to move things along." So, there's that. And it sure sounds like there is something in the works, right?! The mind boggles.

One thing Jen wants fans to know is that Dark Passenger or not, Dexter and Dexter will still deliver the sadistic humor we know and love.  "What's funny is that even in the face of tragedy [of Rita's death], there's still room to laugh with our show," Jennifer says. "That's why people can stomach it, because as bloody as it gets, they make you laugh two seconds later."

Thinking back to that final finale scene, we're not quite sure we can ever laugh again. But if Jen says it's true, we're right there with her.

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Are you counting down the minutes until Dexter returns? Any guesses as to what's ahead for its big comeback? And what in the world Julie Benz could be doing on season five?! Fill us in on your theories!

—Reporting by Brett Malec and Lisa Abdolian

For more Dexter fun, follow @kristindsantos on Twitter.

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