Michael C. Hall

While Michael C. Hall has survived his own life-or-death battle with cancer, his serial-killing character on Dexter will be attempting to pick up the pieces of his life after the savage murder of his wife, Rita (Julie Benz). TVGuide.com spoke with the 39-year-old actor to discuss his health and what Dexter will have to contend with in the new season.

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TVGuide.com: First of all, congratulations.
Michael C. Hall:
On the "being alive" front? Thank you.

TVGuide.com: Yes, that must've been insane.
It was. As much as anything, I think I just felt lucky. I felt lucky to have contracted something that was still curable, still treatable. I had to go through the treatment, but I never really doubted that it wouldn't work. I was really lucky and it was lucky that it coincided with a break in the Dexter production schedule. Dexter is a show that employs a lot of people, a family of people that all cares about each other a lot. It's nice that our work schedule wasn't disrupted by it.

TVGuide.com: You have such a pillar of support around you, so I'm sure that helped.
You worry as much managing other people's feelings about it as managing your own.

TVGuide.com: And how does the show deal with the loss of your hair?
Oh, I wear a wig. My hair has grown back sort of darker and curlier, so I am still using a wig for the show. It's brilliant though. It looks realer than real.

TVGuide.com: While going through treatment, you were getting awards left and right. How did that feel?
It was like two-thirds of the way through the treatment, it had just gone into remission, so I was really feeling like, "OK, now I'm just poisoning myself with the treatment." I was going to keep it quiet, but all those appearances were imminent, so I just felt like it made sense to make an announcement. Because I ended up having to make it public, so many people reached out who wouldn't have otherwise, people from my past who I didn't keep in contact with, and also cancer survivors who I didn't know personally reached out to me, and just fans generally. I did come to appreciate that it is meaningful for people who are going through it to see someone who they know in a certain way is also going through it. I was gratified to know that was helpful to people.

Michael C. Hall: I always wondered if I would live to 39

TVGuide.com: So... Dexter! The show is returning big. Your face is everywhere in the promotions. Is that still weird for you even after all this time?
Yeah, it is. [Laughs] I've been lucky enough to be on a television show that people are paying attention to. Probably the weirdest thing about it is how not weird it seems. It's sort of a confirmation that it is really happening. We're not making this show in a vacuum. When I see that, I see Dexter, I don't see myself.

TVGuide.com: Does Dexter just get to rage this year?
Basically he's got an appetite for vengeance that can't be quenched. He killed Trinity with a sense of kinship and mercy. But had he known what Trinity had done, he wouldn't have killed him that way. Now that he's dead, he can't turn back the clock and bring Rita back to life, nor can he kill Trinity in a more vengeful way. He's, like, can anything quench his appetite for vengeance? I don't know that it can. He'll come across other ways to get his fix.

TVGuide.com: What's the big charge for Dexter this year?
He's got to sift through and reassemble the wreckage that the murder of his wife has created. He is acting, initially, from a state of shock, and then certainly from an impulsive place. I don't think he's able to put it all together. I think Dexter will come to appreciate what has been unconsciously motivating him in a conscious way. He really does crave some way to atone for what's happened, even though he doesn't maybe consciously know that, and even if he does, he doesn't know how to do it.

TVGuide.com: Now both Dexter and Deb seem to be on the same level, having lost people.
In spite of Deb's suspicion [of Dexter in Rita's murder], her desire for kinship with her brother is as strong. To have that in common — they both lost their beloved — possibly at the hands of the Trinity killer, or the daughter, as it turns out in Deb's case. What a mess. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Dexter is also being hunted by Quinn this season.
I don't think Dexter is doing anything to encourage an antagonism between the two. Also, a lot of what Quinn is up to is totally behind Dexter's back for much of the season.

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TVGuide.com: On top of all that, Rita's daughter, Aster, really hates Dexter right now.
She is frustrated beyond her experience with Dexter, and this is the final nail in the coffin. She was abandoned by her biological father, he returned and then disappeared again. Dexter did allow that family to believe in a dream that he certainly wasn't able to fulfill. In the midst of a lot of hurt, she's lashing out at him. Justifiably, given that she doesn't know about Dexter's involvement, but even justifiably as a young, adolescent girl who is trying to make sense of something that is incomprehensible.

TVGuide.com: Can Dexter ever find love again?
I don't know if find it is the word. I think, in spite of himself, he can have an experience of what he may discover as love, but I don't know if there's anything realistically to be done about that.

TVGuide.com: You've done some crazy stuff on Dexter, but what would you say is the one thing you haven't done, but would like to do?
I think it would be nice if we did a full-on musical episode... live. [Laughs] Musical episode shot live — wait for it... forever, because it will never happen.

Dexter returns Sunday at 9/8c on Showtime.