Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Randy Tepper/Showtime

Still. Can't. Breathe.

If you saw tonight's Dexter season finale, it's possible you're still breathing into a paper sack because the thing that was thisclose to happening is perhaps the biggest game-changer we can imagine. But here's what you don't know: It might still be on the way.

So where does Showtime's gripping serial-killer series go from here? Here's what executive producer Sara Colleton spilled to me:

Deb Will Find Out Dexter's Secret. At least, it certainly sounds like that is the over-arching plan, based on what Colleton told me about Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) coming (fuzzy) face to (fuzzy) face with her bloody-knife-weilding vigilante brother in tonight's season ender.

When asked if Deb will ever find out about Dexter's (Michael C. Hall) secret, Colleton replies: "At some point that is an inevitable thing, and that will be an important season in Dexter's history for that to happen." Based on the near heart attack many of us suffered when Deb busted in on Dexter and Lumen's crime scene tonight, that's a pretty good bet!

The Groundwork Has Been Laid: "Deb is slowly coming around to the idea of there being something other than black and white and that there is more than just good and bad," Colleton explains. "I think the turning point for her was when she killed that bad guy this season. And she and Dexter had that wonderful conversation over a beer when she says, ‘I didn't feel anything. And I'm surprised that I don't feel bad for having killed a bad guy.' And Dexter sort of floats something out there just as a little test bomb just to see how his sister would react when he says, ‘Well, Dad once told me there are people who deserve to die.' And that was one of my favorite scenes this year. I know our longtime fans got everything going on in that scene and all the layers."

So What's Next? Colleton tells me that although the official news hadn't come through from Showtime that they'd get a season six when she and her writing team crafted what would happen in tonight's finale, they knew there would be more to the story. "Quite honestly we assumed we would get a pickup. We never had any doubts."

That said, unlike a show like, say, Lost, the Dexter writers insist they take each season one at a time, with no forethought as to where they're heading the following year. "The last episode of the season, you can never find a clue as to what is going to be next season," Colleton says. "We never lay a clue because we have spent the whole season working out this part of Dexter's life, this part of the puzzle, and we really have no idea where we're gonna go in season six. Feb. 1 we will all sit down and it emerges in a really organic way."

And so all Colleton can tell us about season six is this: "We will pick up exactly where we left off and we will stay true to Dexter and who he is at his core. It's going to be a rueful, ironic but healed Dexter and where we go, it'll be great because it'll be wide open."

The Finale Was "Therapeutic." Though Dexter didn't get the happy ending we all might have hoped (with Lumen sticking by his side), you gotta admit, seeing Deb "unlucky in love" Morgan say the words "I'm happy" and sharing an easy smile with Quinn over a beer was pretty dang fulfilling given all that poor girl has been through. She clearly shares more in common with her partner now, having let the "vigilante lovers" go, and Colleton tells me, "I think [Quinn and Deb] are now in a space where they can be very good together."

And of course, with that heart-wrenching scene above a shattered plate in which Dexter let Lumen go, it must be noted that Dexter remains one of the most emotionally gripping and yes, even sometimes breathtakingly romantic series on television. Pretty amazing for a darker-than-dark serial killer show.

Hallmark you might want to get this one on a greeting card stat: "Don't be sorry your darkness is gone. I'll carry it for you, always. I'll keep it with mine." 


What did you think of tonight's Dexter finale?

Follow @kristindsantos on Twitter for more TV scoop.

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