July 5, 2013 at 7:21 AM ET
The doctor is in on "Dexter," and she's charging even less than Lucy van Pelt's five-cent "Peanuts" psychiatric help.
But as viewers learned in the season eight premiere, "Psychopath Whisperer" Dr. Evelyn Vogel (played by the marvelous Charlotte Rampling) is offering a bit more than free neuropsychiatric services to Miami Metro. In fact, she knows their blood-spatter expert has a habit of spattering blood himself.
"It's very rare that in the eighth season you can introduce a major piece of the puzzle of a character, and Dr. Vogel brings the last remaining piece of the puzzle of Dexter," executive producer Sara Colleton told TODAY.com. "The idea of Harry not being sure of what to do with this child, and going to Dr. Vogel for advice, makes a lot of sense."
So why is she introducing herself to Dexter now?
"She does have an agenda and she does need his help," said the EP. "But at the same time, he is the physical manifestation of her philosophy and her theory, which has made her famous … that without sociopaths, civilization as we know it would not exist. They're the alpha males of society.
"And she comes back and tells this to Dexter at his absolute nadir of emotion, when he is unmoored by the loss of Deb, and says, 'You're perfect.' How seductive is that? So she's able to access his emotional life and gain his trust and get his help in her agenda.
"It's very interesting to see their relationship evolve, particularly at a time when Deb -- who has always been the key emotional relationship -- has taken her support away."
At the same time, Colleton said, Vogel "also becomes very instrumental in bringing Dexter and Deb back together again. Part of Harry's concern was how young Deb was acting out, bringing Dexter into their home, how it would affect his daughter. So she has insight into Deb too.
"It's a very unlikely, odd family, because Vogel really does think of herself as Dexter's spiritual mother, (although) Dexter at first thinks she's Dr. Frankenstein."
Thanks to Harry and Dr. Vogel, Dexter "had a code that he adhered to and tried to live up to … but he starts to see very early on that he doesn't fit the code," Colleton said.
And Vogel might need to toss out her own rulebook. "She has to re-examine her thoughts on sociopaths," noted Colleton, "because Dexter proves very different from the norm. Dexter is constantly surprising her by genuine feeling, so there's a transformation on her part that (develops) over this series."
Like Frankenstein's creature, Dexter has been portrayed as a monster desperately trying to be human.
"The irony is that in his trying on the bits and pieces of human behavior," Colleton said, "they became part of him -- and he was a better brother, a better husband, a better dad than most of us, because he lives such an examined life. He was always questioning himself."
Now Vogel is questioning him -- and encouraging Dexter to "be more vigorous and own up to the human side of himself in a way that he was afraid to earlier in the show's history."
What does Dr. Vogel's appearance mean for Dexter? Click on "Talk about it" below and tell us what you think!