"Eventually, most serial killers get caught. There's really not much of a retirement plan," he mused. Therefore, the show is likely to play out in one of two ways: Fans will see Dexter get caught and executed, or watch him evade capture and drive off into the sunset.
The question of whether Dexter Morgan will live or die in the final season isn't just a matter of what makes for the most compelling story. Dexter's odds of survival are likely to be affected by the demands of Showtime as a network.
Showtime's President of Entertainment, David Nevins, has been outspoken about the importance of "Dexter" to his network. "'Dexter' to Showtime is what 'Batman' is to Warner Bros.," Nevins has said to Deadline. "It is a cornerstone franchise."
Nevins also spoke with the Hollywood Reporter and reaffirmed the importance of "Dexter" to the network: "How we end the show is really important; this is such a core franchise, and it's important we do it the right way."
While "Dexter" is coming to an end, the network hasn't ruled out the possibility of a "Dexter" spinoff series in the future. Given the comments Nevins has made about how pivotal "Dexter" has been to the health of the network, it seems likely that some continuation of the franchise could get the green light.
A reboot of the story seems unlikely: It's just too soon. A spinoff centered around Hannah or Deb could work, but only if they survive the "Dexter" finale -- and if Dexter himself is dead or presumed dead at the end of the series. After all, you can't have a spinoff series if the main character of the parent series is still around. At that point, the spinoff would just become "Dexter" Season 9.
There is another possibility: Showtime could pull a "Bates Motel" and do a prequel series that showcases a teenage Dexter Morgan. This would be a great way to keep this "cornerstone franchise" alive for Showtime.
Ultimately, fans will have to wait until this summer to find out Dexter Morgan's fate. Dexter is the ultimate survivor, but perhaps his time has finally run out. His death would arguably open up more possibilities for the franchise to grow, and give supporting cast members their time in the sun.
- Dexter Morgan