It's the one thing no one expected to happen on Dexter's big season-finale last night: There were no tragic deaths. Hardly any bloodshed. And, oh yeah, did we mention that Dexter Morgan got married and even...wait for it...smiled!?

Did hell just freeze over?!

I just got off the phone with Dexter boss Clyde Phillips, who tells me: "Some of the blogs were disappointed [in the finale]. Not enough blood. They didn't want any subtlety. We stand by what we did, and we did a good job."

Frankly, I couldn't agree more. But why did the third-season finale go down that way, and what will happen next?

Clyde gives us the exclusive scoop...

Why the "happy" ending?
We didn't want the ending to be the way it's been the first two years, where the audience was expecting that whatever the problem in Dexter's life would be dispatched in the last episode in some wonderful, high-energy resolution. We did that in the episode before the last episode. Then we allowed the audience to think, 'Oh my god! (A) What is going on, because this isn't the way Dexter is going to end, and (B) What the hell are they thinking of? What are they going to come up with?' So it was a conscious decision to kill Miguel Prado in the second-to-last episode.

And the wedding does seem a fitting end to a season that was all about Dexter's quest for normalcy.
Yes, it was about the normalcy, with the omen of the blood dripping, and the message that nothing is ever right in his world.

So will next season be a sitcom called It's Dexter! with Rita, Dex, the kids, a laugh track? Or will the darkness return?
[Laughs.] No, the darkness is always going to be there. It's his curse and his blessing, and it's our curse and our blessing.

When do you start plotting out season four? Do you have a theme?
We're going to reconvene the writers room in February...There's not so much a theme as there are obvious things we're going to have to deal with. Dexter's going to be a married man, he's going to be a father, he's going to be living with Rita and three kids. He's the most private person—television's only favorite serial killer will be living with a family.

One of the biggest threads you left hanging is that Deb is looking into her father's affair. Will she find out Dexter's brother was the Ice Truck Killer?
Those files are sitting on Deb's desk waiting for her to look at, and all I can say is that storyline will not be ignored next year.

Any chance Jimmy Smits may come back? After all, we have seen Dex's brother and father after their deaths. Or is that door closed?
I think it's more closed than open—we've had no discussions about that. You mentioning it is the first time I've ever heard those words. But I loved working with Jimmy.

Now, confession time: I personally loved the finale and found it to be both a very fitting end to the season and genius in that it was the one thing that no one expected. It was artfully written, produced and acted out, and wholly satisfying to this die-hard fan.

From where I'm sitting, Dexter's third season was the best thing anywhere on television this fall.

Agree? Disagree? Join me to hash it out in the comments...

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