Though the sting of Dexter's season finale is still fresh, it's time to think about next season. Executive producer Sara Colleton tells TVGuide.com how far in time the show may jump ahead, who the No. 1 suspect in Rita's murder will be and how much the Trinity Killer will play a role in Season 5.
TVGuide.com: Did you feel that you had to push the limits with this finale?
Sara Colleton: It's something that comes so organically with the storytelling of where Dexter [Michael C. Hall] is in his life and what he's learning and what he needs to learn. Of course, when it first comes up, you think, oh no, we can't do that, because we've created these characters and we love them. It became self-evident as we progressed that this is where Dexter needed to be taken.
TVGuide.com: Why exactly did Arthur (John Lithgow) kill Rita (Julie Benz)? Was it just revenge?
Colleton: It's complicated. We left it that way so everyone, based on their own life and their own experiences, would interpret it so it made sense for them. One way to interpret it is that in some bizarre way, Dexter gave Trinity a finality in his situation, that he does this in a bizarre way to trigger Dexter to deal with who he really is. You can only fake it for so long.
TVGuide.com: Do you see Trinity playing a role next season though? Questions will be raised by Rita's murder and Arthur did show up at the police station.
Colleton: All of those things are legitimate. All those questions will obviously be a part of next season. Dexter can't say that he knows Trinity killed Rita and that he just killed Trinity. There are a lot of possibilities and they will all be thrown out in the room to be discussed.
TVGuide.com: Is there a chance that Julie Benz or John Lithgow might return next season to appear to Dexter in his conscience?
Colleton: Anything is possible on this show because it is a theatrical invention, so any of those devices are possible, but again, none of those have been discussed yet.
TVGuide.com: What are the odds that Arthur pushed a woman to her death before killing Rita and being bludgeoned, thus completing the cycle?
Colleton: But did he break the cycle? If you really examine his death scene, Dexter is giving him an opportunity to break the cycle. Rita is the tie-breaker because he says, "It's all over now." Trinity's thing is tied up with the way he hid the reality from himself. In his master plan, this is the gift he has left behind for Dexter. It can be interpreted, if you look closely at the script, in any number of ways.
TVGuide.com: Dexter can't get vengeance for Rita's murder because he already killed Arthur. Is he going to become more bloodthirsty?
Colleton: That's an instinct he may have, but he may not. Hopefully it will be in what we call the "Dexterous response," which is based in human behavior, but uniquely put through the prism of Dexter's special needs. The fact is that he has children now that he is the sole parent of, and how that affects what he does and the choices he makes.
TVGuide.com: Were Paul's parents introduced as an easy out for Cody and Aster to leave Dexter's care?
Colleton: We needed to have the children not be there for this finale. We're trying to find the most interesting way to have to handle this situation because obviously they can always go with their grandmother or their paternal grandparents, or Dexter can take custody of them. It just opens up a variety of ways we can have Dexter deal with his grief.
TVGuide.com: Are you nervous about writing or casting a villain that can live up to or surpass John Lithgow? Might you do without a villain this season?
Colleton: That's something that's on the table to discuss because of the awesomeness of what Dexter has to deal with on an emotional level. Obviously there's going to be an investigation into who killed Rita and the number— and Dexter is going to be involved in that.
TVGuide.com: Were you about to say that Dexter might be the No. 1 suspect in his wife's murder?
Colleton: If you know anything about crimes, usually a spouse is involved. We may jump ahead six months and it could be all handled. What we wanted to do is give ourselves something that gave us the widest range of possibilities. It's so intense on a show like this, so emotionally draining, and we have a scant couple of months before we get in a room again, so all of these things are up for discussion.
Did you like the Dexter finale? What do you want to see next season?