September means a lot of things to people. It’s the month that marks the official end of summer. It’s the first full month of school for many. It’s a month of remembrance and reflection for many. It’s also hosts International Talk Like a Pirate Day (seriously, look it up). But for many television fans, this month marks the return of something very special and dear to our hearts. I am of course talking about the return of Showtime’s hit series, Dexter. After 8 months of restless anticipation from fans, Dexter Season 5 finally premieres September 26th, and this season is shaping up to be killer devilishly fun one to die for I hate puns one to remember. Here’s my breakdown as to why this season of Dexter has potential to be the best yet.

1. Last season earned the series its highest amount critical and commercial success thus far:

Last season, the series creators and cast were able to avoid all of the pitfalls that have often troubled serialized dramas and provided fans with the most consistently incredible hours of dramatic programming on television. Evidently the critics and fans agree.  The series finale earned the highest ratings of any Showtime original series in history (2.6 million).  The show also received eight Emmy and three Golden Globe nominations and walked away with four award wins (including Best Supporting Actor- Drama Emmy and Golden Globe win for John Lithgow and a Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama Golden Globe win for Michael C. Hall).

2. The finale left fans on a high note:

Now, I’m going to keep this guide as spoiler-free as possible… but, I simply cannot neglect to mention the ending. The season finale sent the Internet into a whirl (within the Dexter forum at Showtime, the finale episode’s forum contained a staggering 26.3% of the total posts) and built unprecedented hype around the upcoming season. This was only further demonstrated by the  frenzy that fans were whipped into after the release of the Season 5 teaser during Comic-Con. Simply put, fans are hopelessly addicted and loving it.

3. The creators have upped the stakes (again!):

“It was me.” Again, to avoid spoilers, (note: I hope all of you that have neglected this incredible series realize how disappointed I am with you) I cannot explain the significance of this particular quote. But for those of you who have seen the recent teasers will know, this stunned utterance seems to be what puts Dexter back under the spotlight of his longtime opposition/co-worker, Officer Joey Quinn.  With Quinn tracking his every move, Dexter must endure the constant threat of being exposed for his crimes (past and surely a few new ones). Quinn’s friendship/partnership with Debra only further complicates matters. All signs point to an inevitable Dexter/Quinn confrontation. Until then, fans will be waiting with bated breath to see how the conflict gets resolved.

4. More new characters:

After the incredible success of last season’s inclusion of John Lithgow, the Dexter team has signed a significant amount of new talent to join the cast this season. Some confirmed additions of the cast with recurring roles include: Shawn Hatosy (Southland, Alpha Dog), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Queer as Folk), April Lee Hernandez (30 Rock), Jonathan Lee Miller (Trainspotting, Eli Stone), Peter Frederick Weller (Robocop I and II), and Chris Vance (Burn Notice, Prison Break). Arguably, the biggest inclusion to the cast this season is Julie Stiles, who is rumored to play a love interest of Dexter. Fans of the series know how targets of Dexter’s affection tend to end up (dead), so we’re all curious to know just how the relationship will end up.

5. Dexter the family man versus Dexter the serial killer

With the ending of Season 4, Dexter was left psychologically unhinged with three children under his care. During the struggles between his role as a caretaker and his Dark Passenger’s savage desires last season, Dexter thought that he finally had the balance figured out. But, much like a boat at sea, the water always feels calmest before being sucked into a whirlpool. As those familiar with physics know, a void must always be filled. Dexter is floating, disoriented in an ocean of conflicting emotions. Can his family sans his wife be the plank that he clings to in order to float back to shore, or has the guilt and desolation from the loss simply created a vacuum too large to be filled by anything other than lust for a kill?

What is your biggest reason for being excited for this season of Dexter? Leave your reason in the comments below. Be sure to set your DVRs for Showtime on Sunday 9 PM ET/PT and join in on the discussion.