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From Rita to Robin: Julie Benz talks 'Dexter,' 'Housewives', a SheWired Exclusive

From Rita to Robin: Julie Benz talks 'Dexter,' 'Housewives', a SheWired Exclusive

Julie Benz is everywhere. The actress has been booking jobs left and right. The actress, who shortly after "Dexter" Season 4 finale aired booked a role as Robin, a lesbian stripper who hooks up with Dana Delany's Katherine on ABC’s "Desperate Housewives," said on the red carpet ahead of the panel that the two characters are different “in every single way.”

Julie Benz is everywhere.

SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen Dexter season 4 finale!

After fans of Showtime’s Dexter picked their collective jaws up from the ground to which they’d fallen upon seeing Rita, the loyal wife to serial killer Dexter Morgan, dead in a literal bloodbath, the actress has been booking jobs left and right.

“My first response (to finding out about her character’s death) was, ‘Oh God, I just lost my job! How am I going to pay my mortgage?” Benz said during the Paley Center for Media’s Dexter panel during its 27th annual PaleyFest.

“When they (the writers) told me all this was going to happen, my first reaction was, ‘What about the baby’ — forgetting it was all TV for a moment,” she said.

The actress, who shortly after Dexter’s Season 4 finale aired booked a role as Robin, a lesbian stripper on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, said on the red carpet ahead of the panel that the two characters are different “in every single way.”

“How is (Robin) not different? I would say Robin is very comfortable in her own skin, very comfortable in who she is; she’s been through a lot but it hasn’t worn her down. She’s a lot more independent.”

“They both have similar paths — with abuse; Rita was always this fragile little bird and Robin is more of a survivor,” Benz added. “She’s more of, ‘This is what happened to me and life goes on.’ I think those are the major differences.”

“Oh, and Rita likes boys and Robin likes girls! Small difference!”

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Indeed. While Rita was busy shuffling around as the perfect suburban mom to Cody, Astor and newborn Harrison, Robin struts her stuff in sexy lingerie around a stripper pole as Dana Delaney’s dream girl.

“(Dana) is awesome; I’ve known her for a while. We worked together years ago,” Benz said of her new co-star.

“There’s been a lot of hype over the lesbian story line and I hope we’ve done it justice by showing that it’s not a ratings stunt at all; it’s really struggling with when you really connect with somebody, do you judge? Everybody struggles with this — race, religion, gender — when you really have that connection with someone,” the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress said.

“I feel like whyjudge the package? Really connect. I feel that’s really what life is about,” Benz said. “I think that’s what you see when you see Katherine (Delaney) go through this journey of the first time she’s met somebody who she really connects with, who really takes her and is loving; she’s had all these really bad relationships. She’s struggling with the ‘Maybe I am gay, maybe I’m not.’ What they’re doing (on the show) is similar to Meredith Baxter coming out later in life, that whole journey.”

Benz, whose role on Desperate Housewives is recurring, already has plans for what comes next: She just booked a role opposite Michael Chiklis in ABC’s drama pilot No Ordinary Family, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Family revolves around a typical American family fronted by Jim (Chiklis), a once aspiring artist-turned-police artist, who suddenly finds themselves with new “abilities.” Benz will play Jim’s wife, a scientist who develops a power for superspeed.

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Lesley Goldberg