Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Yvonne Strahovski.

chat room

Yvonne Strahovski on Playing Dexter’s Love Interest and Women Serial Killers

Yvonne Strahovski plays our favorite serial killer's new love on Dexter — your classic case of boy meets girl, boy tries to kill girl, boy falls for girl instead, because she's a killer, too. Unlike Rita, Lila, or Lumen, Hannah McKay can hold her own with Dex, even if she doesn't have as high of a body count. Too bad his Lieutenant sister Deborah is closing in on Hannah, just as Captain Maria LaGuerta is closing on the real Bay Harbor Butcher — otherwise these two crazy kids might have a chance! Strahovski chatted with Vulture about joining Dexter, her favorite murder method, and her crush on Tom Hanks.

You recently tweeted that your cable guy had yet to come by, so you haven't been able to watch your own show. If he'd been watching, he'd know not to mess with you!
[Laughs] Yeah. I still haven't gotten to watch the last three episodes. Time Warner Cable said they were going to come out on Tuesday. That was the only appointment they could give me, and that was a week ago. If only I could actually speak to somebody, and not an automated voice! But yeah, if they knew I was Hannah McKay, they should watch out — I could slip something in your drink. But I'm not an actual serial killer, you know.

If you had to kill someone, which method would you use? Dexter's or Hannah's?
I think poison is a pretty good option. Either that, or a lethal injection. Similar to what Dexter does with the tranquilizer, but with a deadly poison.

Did you research female serial killers, or serial killer portrayals, for the role?
Aside from the entire six seasons of Dexter, I watched a couple of movies — Natural Born Killers, Monster. They're all very different, and I took elements from each, like the heart that Charlize Theron put into Aileen Wuornos. Watching Dexter back-to-back, like six or seven episodes back-to-back at a time, I would end up having weird dreams about serial killers. It really infiltrated my brain. And then I got to the set, and I had a hard time remembering the actors' real names! I wanted to call them by their character names. I don't know if they noticed.

Female serial killers are often thought of as rare, but maybe it's just that they're rarely caught. Like Hannah, they tend to be more subtle in their methods, and have longer killing careers.
There you go! They're smarter and better. Or more organized. Hannah uses methods of poison. She's not cutting people up into a hundred pieces, and she's very secretive about it. The only reason she feels comfortable elaborating on her killings is that Dexter discovered her secret. Otherwise, I don't think she would have told him, even if she found that she loved him to pieces. That's a nice pun.

Do you think she could justify a spinoff if she survives this season? Or does she work better as part of a crime spree couple with Dexter?
A lot of people say it seems like Bonnie and Clyde, and although that would be a fun idea for a series, or a continuation of the series, it's also unrealistic. But who knows?  

Do you think she knew he killed her father? It was somewhat ambiguous.
Yeah, I think so. I think she knew in that moment. I certainly thought that on the day, and I thought she didn't want to talk about it. There's no point in talking about it. And Dexter's obviously very repressed with his feelings, even if she does bring something emotional out of him. He's breaking his code, he's talking about love — so I think Hannah thinks she's good for him. I think she thinks they're an excellent match. What she wanted from day one was a partner and a lover to help fulfill her dream of a simple life, to get away from all the attention she has from being known as a serial killer since the age of fifteen. That's why she does what she does. She kills those who get in her way of that life. And she feels incredibly lucky to have met Dexter; neither of them has to hide in front of the other. What are the odds of that happening?

Would she try to kill Deborah, if she got in the way by pursuing the Arlene lead? Or would Hannah hold back, for Dexter's sake?
That's a good question. We'll have to wait and see!

You're in the upcoming Seth Rogen film The Guilt Trip, as his long-ago high school sweetheart. What's that relationship like?
That's a whole different dynamic! It's a straight-up comedy, and it was so much fun to be on that set. Seth is still obsessing over his sweetheart, the bubbly girl next door, who you sort of meet in the middle of the movie. But she's totally normal, and it's circumstances you can relate to, the wondering, What if I was still with that person? And then you discover what happened to those two people since high school. Seth is a big jokester, too. He had a really wicked laugh that intrigued me, and he likes taking photos, so the mood on set was very light and jokey. The mood on Dexter is a little more mellow, although we still have fun, and Michael C. Hall is very witty.

Apparently Turner and Hooch is one of your favorite films? Defend yourself! Even Tom Hanks makes fun of that one.
I was a kid! [Laughs] I was obsessed with Tom Hanks. He was my high school crush. Everyone else had pictures of Brad Pitt blasted all over their textbooks, and I was the weird one who had Tom Hanks. And Turner and Hooch was one of my favorites. That, and The 'Burbs. That's why it was so funny when I finally got to work with Colin Hanks on The Guilt Trip — I finally got one of them!

Photo: Getty Images