Michael C. Hall, <EM>Dexter</EM> Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Who'd have thought that a series serving up an unapologetic killer for a protagonist would slay viewers the way Dexter has? Yet the proof is in the pudding (or is that coagulated blood?): The Showtime drama, barely midway through its first season, has already been picked up for a second round of giddy, gory chills. In anticipation of this week's episode (Sunday at 10 pm/ET) — in which the elusive and bloody-brilliant Ice Truck Killer is purportedly unmasked — TVGuide.com spoke with series star and Six Feet Under alum Michael C. Hall.

TVGuide.com: It's good to talk to you, man. I really enjoy the show — though I'm not entirely sure what that says about me as a person.
Michael C. Hall:
[Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Congratulations on the Season 2 pickup. Who did you hear the news from?
Hall:
There were a lot of calls that day from the powers that be.... We finished shooting two weeks ago, and it was announced the following week.

TVGuide.com: At the show's outset, were you bullish or bearish on its prospects? Did a part of you think this subject matter could prove too dark and grisly?
Hall:
Well, I knew it certainly had the potential to be interesting, and that its palatability had everything to do with the tone. There's some pretty dark subject matter, so there had to be some organic-seeming levity and lightness to counterbalance it. I think we've managed to find that.

TVGuide.com: What have you found to be the hardest part about playing Dexter?
Hall:
In a way it's kind of a lonely experience. Dexter is an incredibly lonely guy, and going to that place is one of the biggest challenges.

TVGuide.com: Yeah, we're often reminded — like when Rita showed up unannounced at his place — that any time he's not on duty, he is probably holed up in his apartment.
Hall:
Yeah, yeah....

TVGuide.com: How does the voice-over thing work? Do you record it first, and then act out the scenes? Do you "play" Dexter's voice-over in your head as you do scenes...?
Hall:
It depends on the voice-over, which works in different ways at different times. Sometimes I feel it's appropriate to quite literally have the thoughts [during filming], and sometimes I don't, and I allow the voice-over to sort of be a counterpoint to what's happening in a scene. I will go in my trailer and lay down a preliminary track of the voice-overs, so the editors, when they're cutting it together, have a sense of how that read will be. Afterwards, I rerecord the voice-over to picture, because oftentimes...

TVGuide.com: You want to hit certain beats and stuff.
Hall:
Yeah, and you can only do that if you're looking at the screen.

TVGuide.com: What can you tease about this week's episode, in which "the Ice Truck Killer is identified, but something about it doesn't sit right with Dexter"?
Hall:
Hmm... I'm trying to tell you something without telling you anything. [Laughs] What doesn't sit right with Dexter is that he had this real infatuation with this killer, and the suspect they come up with just doesn't fit the bill.

TVGuide.com: He's like, "There's no way this guy is the killer."
Hall:
Right. [The suspect] stuffs roadkill and lives in a double-wide, and Dexter is really reluctant to give himeself over to the idea that this is the guy.

TVGuide.com: There's stuffs-roadkill sick, and then there's sick sick.
Hall:
Yeah!

TVGuide.com: We also meet Rita's abusive drug-addict ex on Sunday. I can't imagine Dexter is going to put up with much crap from this guy.
Hall:
Um, their relationship has an "inherent tension" from the get-go, yeah.

TVGuide.com: Is it my understanding that in the Dexter book, he considers that he himself might be the Ice Truck Killer?
Hall:
There is an element, in the first book, where he goes through a phase [during which] he starts to wonder if he's really lost his mind and is doing these things and is literally not remembering. But I don't believe that will be an element of the show.

TVGuide.com: Do you happen to know if it's even possible what this guy is doing, chopping up people and leaving no blood?
Hall:
Yeah, [Darkly Dreaming Dexter author] Jeff Lindsay of course did his research, and over the course of the season more details are revealed as to just how someone would do such a thing.

TVGuide.com: Hopefully not enough is revealed that any kids at home might go to reenact it.
Hall:
[Laughs] Yeah, I certainly hope this doesn't do that.

TVGuide.com: Which relationship is most interesting for you to play? Is it Dexter and Rita? Dexter and his sister? Him and Doakes?
Hall:
You know, it's hard to single any one out. What's interesting, particularly in the relationship both with Rita and with Deb, is a real desire for a connection, and, as a result of that, a desire on some level to reveal himself, to confess in a way. That dynamic is at work with both of the primary women in his life.

TVGuide.com: Does a part of you hope that Dexter and Doakes grow to be more civil toward each other, or do you want them to stay loaded with animosity and friction?
Hall:
I don't know where things are headed in Season 2, but I will say that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

TVGuide.com: What can you say about the possibility of the Ice Truck Killer mystery being resolved by season's end?
Hall:
Um, "Stay tuned!" [Laughs] It sort of is one of the narrative spines of the season, and we're not going to leave it alone. We're going to stick with it. I've got to say, when we were shooting the last half of this season, it was a real bullet train. It's going to be really satisfying for fans of the show.

Send your comments on this Q&A to online_insider@tvguide.com.