EXCLUSIVE: Lauren Velez Dishes on 'Dexter' Season 5 and the Last Days of 'Ugly Betty'

I caught up with my favorite Dexter actress Lauren Velez today as she walked around her new neighborhood, El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) in New York City, where she just bought her first house. We spoke about what’s coming up on Dexter season 5—including possible trouble in paradise for Laguerta and Batista—and she told me what it was like to be on the set of Ugly Betty during the last days of filming.

When do you start filming Dexter season 5?
In early June! June to the end of October or early November, I think.

I hear there may not be a “big bad” this season ala John Lithgow’s Trinity Killer? Is that true?
My understanding is that instead of having another serial killer, they’re going to have Dexter go through the five stages of grief—which sounds pretty phenomenal to me!

Do you think Laguerta will pity Dexter a lot more now that he’s lost his wife?
I’m not sure what’s going to happen between them, but I think it will bring them closer in a way. It certainly opens the door for some really interesting things to happen. And while I love the relationship between Batista and Laguerta, I have a funny feeling it’s not going to last. It was her opportunity to be happy, but at the end of the day she is who she is. She’s ambitious, she’s a go-getter, and I think she’s very different from Angel in this way. He’s providing her with this place of safety and love, but I think that Laguerta is going to ultimately get bored with.

Will Dexter Morgan be much darker in season 5?
I think part of the acting out—the serial killing aspect of it is—he has this need and he takes care of it. He has this anger, this rage, and he takes care of it. And then he’s able to continue functioning in society. Now, this old wound has been reopened—his son has suffered the same fate as him—I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen to him.

You got a lot of publicity at PaleyFest09 when you said, “A huge wrench is going to be thrown in the works,” for Batista and Laguerta. What did you mean by that?
You know, it’s funny because I don’t do Facebook or Twitter, and I don’t read blogs or any of that. So generally, I have no idea what the public thinks about the show. I heard rumors, but I try not to read it because it causes me anxiety, because I’m as neurotic as any actress can get. But what I said is that there’s got to be something that happens that challenges both of them—not only both characters but David Zayas and I as actors. It’s my hope that they create a huge thing that happens between them—something that happens from their past, or something from their future.

What would you personally like to see happen to Laguerta in season 5?
Ultimately, what I want to see is for her to be challenged. I want her to be put in situations where it’s out of her control, where she has to use different skills. The first few seasons everything was so self-contained and even though she lost her cool a few times, she still ran the show. She finally let someone in, but it’s still her show. So I would love for something to happen that is so unexpected that she doesn’t know how to deal with. She’s such an incredibly complex, dynamic woman.

Rumor has it you’re doing Ugly Betty again?
Well, you know they’re canceled, so I just did my final episode with them. They wanted to wrap up the storyline with Ignacio and Elena.

Was it the finale you filmed?
It’s the penultimo, the second to last one. And we’re still trying to work out whether or not I’m going to do the finale. That would be this week, so I should know any minute.

What was the mood like on the set during the last days of filming?
It was bittersweet. They were so happy to have been part of something so great! There’s nothing else like this on TV and I think I think it’s really genius. It’s funny and moving and touching. I’m really sad that its being taken off the air and I think that was the general mood on the set—you know, sadness that it’s over. But you know, these are all seasoned, experienced actors, and they know that’s the way it goes.

That’s the business.
It sure is, man.