Erik King and Michael C. Hall, <EM>Dexter</EM> Erik King and Michael C. Hall, Dexter

On the Season 2 premiere of Showtime's Dexter (Sundays at 9 pm/ET), the blue waters of the bay brought to light the deep dark secrets of our intrepid "hero." Will this treasure of waterlogged limbs give Doakes the ammunition he needs to nail Dexter to the wall once and for all? We asked the surly sergeant's portrayer, Erik King, for a preview.

TVGuide.com: Sgt. Doakes.... We know so little about this guy, it kind of scares me. We're left to wonder just what this guy, this pit bull, is capable of.
Erik King: [Laughs] I actually get that response quite a bit and I have to tell you, the best place to figure out who Doakes is is in this scene from last season. When he's with his mother and his sisters, and you get to see the underbelly of who he is. And when you see him with LaGuerta (played by Lauren Velez), you get a sense of who he is. But you're right, there is this very gruff exterior and he clearly is that type of cop, that when he can't get the answer to what he's looking for when trying to figure out what's going on with Dexter, it drives him crazy. And this season he is obsessive.

TVGuide.com: How do you and Michael C. Hall maintain that tension? Do you avoid each other off the set?
King: We're cordial. Michael, his process is a lot different than a lot of the other actors on the set because he needs to maintain that throughout. Carrying Dexter in that sort of odd-man-out is not something you can jump in and out of. Michael's a great guy and we're very cordial with each other, he's the consummate professional, I love working with him. We're working on the finale now, and this season Doakes and Dexter have quite a few scenes where they come head-to-head. It's always a joy to get in the ring with a good boxer.

TVGuide.com: With Doakes being such a mystery and being so fierce, did you think at any point last season that he would be revealed as the Ice Truck Killer?
King: There were times I thought we were going in that direction, if only because he is so fierce. These two are evenly matched foes, and if Dexter has the potential to be a killer of any sort, it was important for Doakes to also have the ante that high.

TVGuide.com: Now, at the end of last week's season premiere, down there in the water....
King: We found that Dexter's chickens have come home to roost! [Laughs] He is [what will become known as] "the Bay Harbor Butcher."

TVGuide.com: Does that only amplify Doakes' curiosity?
King:
Absolutely. As I said, this season Doakes is complete obsessed with Dexter. In the first season Doakes would come across these crime scenes and Dexter seems to know a lot more than he should know....

TVGuide.com: Yeah, like, "It's a good place to dump a dead body. There's an off-ramp right over there, no street lighting.... " King: Exactly. And Doakes is that kind of guy, because of his special-ops training, who's used to being the top dog. The fact that Dexter knows more than Doakes about a crime scene drives him absolutely crazy. He's a "mere blood-spatter expert," he's not a cop, you know?

TVGuide.com: A blood-spatter expert who knows too much about how killers kill.
King: And he's creepy! Dexter is kind of creepy. He's too affable and he seems to slither through.... Doakes can't seem to get a mark on him.

TVGuide.com: You mentioned the scene with Doakes' mother and sisters. Do you wish there were more opportunities to see that other side of him?
King: I absolutely do. Being completely honest with you, it would give Doakes more bottom, more balance. He's sort of slanted in a particular direction, so I try to add more stuff to it when you see him with Batista and Masuka. But he barks a lot, that's what he does.

TVGuide.com: Might Doakes bend the rules for his own purposes this season?
King: What we'll see this season is that Doakes has some dark secrets as well. With all the characters, this season we're filling in some of the blanks.

TVGuide.com: What did you think of the overall positive reaction to this show about a quasi-sympathetic serial killer, and its easy Season 2 pickup?
King: I was pleasantly surprised. When I first read the script, I saw that we had a serial killer that we had to maintain some sort of sympathy for throughout the season. What I love is how the writers have crafted, based on Jeff Lindsay's book, this guy who is really, really complex, and when we get to the end of the season we realize this he is a child who was traumatized. The question becomes, were it not for that trauma would he still have those impulses? Would he still be riding with that dark passenger, as Jeff Lindsay calls him?

TVGuide.com: Last question: When I was poking around for info on you, I found that you were responsible for perhaps one of the best-ever deaths on Oz. Something about punching through a wall and choking a guy?
King: [Laughs] Moses Deyell was the character, and he was complex in that he killed his girlfriend because she was cheating on him with her husband — he's a man of morals! [Laughs] He and this other guy were both on death row, and he's got this guy right next to him who's a racist, so he eventually chips away at the wall with a shank and chokes him. He reaches through and chokes him to death. It never occurs to him he's murdering somebody; in Moses' mind, he thought he deserved it. It's what should be done.

TVGuide.com: Nicely done!
King: Hey, you do what you gotta do, man.