Michael C. Hall courtesy Showtime Michael C. Hall courtesy Showtime

Cunning, introspective - but ultimately compelling - Dexter Morgan returns to Showtime Sunday for a third season of devious deeds. Dexter star Michael C. Hall has already teased that his character will be playing "fast and loose" with his delicate code of ethics, plus Jimmy Smits has joined the show as assistant A.D. Miguel Prado - and new friend to Dexter. To give us even more of a taste of what's to come, executive producer Clyde Phillips filled us in on what else will be cooking in Miami. - Anna Dimond

Where Season 3 picks up:
"About six months later. Dexter and Rita are going strong. Lt. LaGuerta, after [Doakes was killed in Season 2's explosion], has decided to remove herself a little bit from the day-to-day command and go back in her glass office. She reorganizes the command structure, and Angel Batista becomes the sergeant, taking over for Doakes. And it's a big deal because he, who's always been one of the guys in the bullpen, now has to be a commander of the bullpen and make life or death decisions, and the difficulty of it surprises him. Deb will begin a new romance, and she's striving for her shield."

New characters on the scene:
"We introduce a new cop, Joey Quinn, played by Desmond Harrington. His back story is he's from Boston, moved out of FL has been in narcotics there for 10 years and just moved over to homicide. And then we introduce Jimmy Smits [as Miguel Prado]. We also meet Ramon Prado, Miguel's brother, Anton, who's a confidential informant and Oscar Prado, who is a little brother to Miguel and Ramon. And we meet Yuki Amado, who is an IA officer who is investigating the new officer Quinn, and tries to get Deb to help her."

How Dexter's "fast and loose" code-play will affect his psyche and decision-making:
"Several ways. At the end of last year, he absorbed Harry's code and made it his own. We have a couple of themes this year, one is family values (not to be ironic) and the other is, Dexter becoming his own man. In becoming his own man, commensurate with absorbing the code into his set of rules, he allows the code to evolve. And he will act outside the code a couple of times this year. All completely motivated, and all, if you watch the movie backwards, make sense. He's putting two things in motion, that he can't pull back from, that will change his life forever."

The root of the "underbelly" of a connection Hall says exists between Dexter and Miguel:
To paraphrase, and prevent spoilage: One of Dexter's kills is tied to Prado. The two meet at the crime scene, and share an interest in finding the killer - for their own reasons. Prado soon becomes Dexter's first friend, a proposition that is both meaningful and dangerous for him.

Rita's state of mind after the other woman:
"She's basically forgiven Dexter, and brought him back into her life. And then, of course[a surprise shakes up their relationship]."

Deborah's new relationship:
"She'll be with one of the new people we're introducing this year, and we think the audience will be rooting for one of them and, I think, will be happily surprised that she ends up with the other. She's even surprised that she ends up with the other. Her lesson this year will be learning to see shades of grey, instead of everything being so black and white...And basically, finding her independence."

Harry's presence:
"We didn't want to do flashbacks anymore, for a couple of reasons: A. We felt we'd exhausted that storyline and Dexter, in becoming his own self, didn't need to living in his memory. And B. Frankly, it had started sounding like Yoda giving advice. But we wanted to keep James Remar, and he brings so much to the party. And we came up with this idea of having what we call flash-forwards. So the conversations that Dexter has with Harry, he's really having with himself."

Dexter returns to Showtime Sunday, September 28, 9 PM/ET.