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What the final season of 'Dexter' needs: More Masuka and detective skills

The cast of "Dexter" -- from left C.S. Lee as Vince Masuka, David Zayas as Angel Batista, Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan, James Remar as Harry Morgan and Desmond Harrington as Joey Quinn -- is back for the final season, but will everyone make it out alive?

For seven seasons, "Dexter's" titular avenging angel has been getting away with murder. But Dex (Michael C. Hall) is about to take his final bow as Showtime's award-winning drama launches its final season Sunday.

Will Miami's most prolific serial killer (a high honor, considering how many predators seem to be drawn to the Magic City) survive the season? Will he finally be arrested -- caught by his own colleagues or exposed by his guilt-ridden sister? Or could Dexter actually escape?

We can't predict Dexter's ultimate fate, but here are six things we'd like to see (or in some cases, not see) before we bid farewell to the blood-spatter -- and blood-spattering -- expert.

1. Hannah returns: Dexter and his femme fatale have wicked chemistry, and it would be tragic if she didn't return to water his plants. Actually, Yvonne Strahovski's return as Hannah in season eight has already been confirmed, but the circumstances remain a mystery. If she's wearing handcuffs, we hope it involves a tryst with Dexter instead of another arrest.

2. More Masuka: Miami's lead forensics investigator (C.S. Lee) is vulgar, perverted sexist, awkward and tactless, but his quotable quips always provide much-needed comic relief during the most horrific crime scenes. And his signature snicker -- heh, heh, heh -- always draws a laugh from us (if not his irritated colleagues).

3. Less Harry Morgan: The expiration date on Dexter's interfering dead dad (James Remar) is waaay overdue. To the tune of about seven seasons. Can't this grating ghost find another killer to carpool with? (P.S.: If we see LaGuerta's spirit, we might cancel our Showtime subscription.)

4. Miami Metro's Keystone Kops learn some detective skills: Dexter has been taking advantage of these blind buffoons for years, spotting or stealing evidence while his colleagues nurse hangovers or stare blankly at the empty thought bubbles above their heads. Batista, Quinn & Co. will never be Miami's Finest, but even fine would make Dexter's deductions less laughable. (Masuka obviously gets a pass here because he's awesome.)

5. Deb commits suicide: Debra Morgan's (Jennifer Carpenter) complicity in her brother's crimes was hard enough for the lifetime law enforcer to live with. Murdering her own boss at the end of last season will probably completely break her already fragile psyche this year -- and the result may not be a terrible thing. (We won't even mention the incest story line. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he's adopted, but it's still too gross to contemplate.)

6. Dexter escapes: As exciting as it would be to see our protagonist go out in a blaze of glory, it's also a fairly predictable end. A more shocking and gratifying conclusion would be to see his colleagues, friends and family react to the terrible truth -- while Dex feeds Hannah a juicy bite of steak (holler to the opening credits!) under an Argentinian sunset.

However Dexter's journey ends, we are prepared to say goodbye -- on one condition: that the finale feature an homage to every single one of his kills over the years. It's the only fitting tribute to the killer, his victims ... and miles of duct tape and plastic wrap, and the countless olive-green henleys.