Michael C. Hall Michael C. Hall

Michael C. Hall woke up to find a horde of text messages and e-mails letting him know the good news that he had garnered his fifth Emmy nomination. "I had actually forgotten that the announcements were today, so it really was a surprise," the star of Showtime's Dexter tells TVGuide.com. 

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"It feels like a miracle that we're still making this show at all," he continues. "We're in our sixth season now, and it's a show about a serial killer, so it's kind of incredible. The fact that it's happened more than a few years running is a real kick in the head."

What's more surprising to Hall than the nomination is how audiences and Emmy voters have empathized with a serial killer, so much so that the show has accumulated 23 Emmy nominations — five this year — since 2007. "It's gravy on top of icing, like it's a really strange tasting cake at this point, but I'll take it," Hall says. "It's a savory, sweet thing. It's surprisingly delicious."

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Hall, who was on the way to the Dexter set while speaking with TVGuide.com, says Season 6 will take Dexter on a new journey. "The places the character has gone beyond the first season have all felt like uncharted waters and this season is no different," Hall notes. "Because he has a son, Dexter's view of himself and his place in the world has broadened beyond his own immediate concerns. It's a new challenge to have a character who would deny God's existence altogether. It's been, thankfully, a whole new challenge to unpeel this layer of human emotion."  

However, where the show won't immediately delve into is finding another love interest for Miami's resident serial killer following Rita's death and Lumen's exodus. "If nothing else, the relationship with Lumen [Julia Stiles] revealed that the appetite exists in him," Hall says. "It can always be debated as to whether or not Dexter is authentically experiencing these things or playing at what it means to experience these things. That's something we could probably all say about ourselves. The fact that Lumen was in a position to not only accept, but require his deepest darkest self was both irresistible and unsustainable."

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Hall, who plans to celebrate his Emmy nom this weekend by gathering some friends to raise a glass, says the sixth season does have a lightness to it — "though it's a lightness within the context of someone who's killing people left and right," he says with a laugh.

Dexter returns for Season 6 this fall.