Cast member Michael C. Hall attends a panel for "Dexter" during the Showtime television portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 30, 2012. (Reuters/MARIO ANZUONI)
It always has been astonishing just how much time off Dexter Morgan gets as a fairly low-level employee at the Miami Metro Police Department.
Michael C. Hall, the star of Dexter, smiled slyly and knowingly, almost bashfully, when I brought it up to him.
"The only way I can justify it is, I think he's someone who maybe requires only about 15 minutes of sleep every night," Hall said at the Television Critics Association tour.
"Yeah," Hall added, as if he were running his own theory through his mind and trying to confirm it. "The show certainly asks us to suspend our disbelief in many ways.
"He has magical capabilities. I've suggested he has the power to turn himself into smoke. The power of invisibility. And apparently he can stop time."
Well, one way in which time hasn't stopped is that Dexter is entering its seventh season this fall.
Originating on Showtime in the United States and airing across Canada on The Movie Network and Movie Central, this highly stylized and groundbreaking series stars Hall as Dexter, a serial killer with a code and a conscience.
But he's still a serial killer, lest we forget. That point was driven home with crashing clarity in the final scene of the sixth season last year (spoiler alert, up-to-date plot points are discussed in the following paragraphs).
Dexter's sister Deb, played by Jennifer Carpenter, walked in on her adopted brother as he was doing what he does best, so to speak.
Given that the Dexter-Deb dynamic is at the heart of the series, this will be regarded historically as a "before and after" moment for devoted viewers.
"I think Dexter's journey, at least in part, is that you see him defend himself in a way that he hasn't had to before," Hall said.
"And he never apologizes for what he's done, or what I think we reasonably can expect he'll continue to do. He has a sense of righteousness about who he is and how he has managed it and what he does.
"I think you'll see (Deb) try on a lot of different responses. Maybe a different version of the stages of grief, the stages of discovering your foster brother is a serial killer, whatever those are."
The seeds of this dilemma actually were planted in the very first installment of Dexter.
"In the pilot episode, when we're getting to know Dexter and his world, he talks about his sister and he says something like, if I could have feelings at all, or for anyone, I'd have them for Deb," Hall recalled. "And we've seen her come into an awareness of some sort of deeper, more conflict-laden feelings for him.
"He does genuinely care about her and other people close to him, namely his son, in ways he can't deny. And yet he does maintain an allegiance to his compulsion.
"It's a real s--- situation."
Well, we always can trust that, even as a run-of-the-mill blood-splatter expert, Dexter will get all the time off he needs from the Miami Metro Police Department to deal with it.