'No Ordinary Family' star Julie Benz says goodbye to 'Dexter's' Rita

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"Dexter" fans took a devastating hit last season when the series killed off Julie Benz's Rita with the most shocking and gruesome murder of a lead character we can remember seeing on TV.

The actress took at it kind of hard, too -- as the suddenly unemployed often do. But after a quickly rebounding with a high profile arc on "Desperate Housewives," Benz soon found herself co-headlining one of the more hyped series of the new season, the superpower-fueled "No Ordinary Family."

Zap2it spoke with Benz about continued fan reaction to her last role, and her transition from victim to empowered heroine.

"You know, there was a lot of Rita hatred when I was on the show," says Benz, "so it's interesting to see this outpouring of love. My Twitter blew up [during the "Dexter" premiere], with people giving Rita the honor that she deserved. She was an amazing character to play. It was very touching to me to have that response, because sometimes you don't know that people care that much."

Benz is happy for her alma mater, which pulled in its highest ratings ever for its Season 5 premiere, and plans on tuning in to see how things play out in her absence. "Definitely," she says, "I'm really interested to see where they go from here."

Now that she's officially out of the picture, she's relieved to playing someone with more of a backbone. "When I found out I was going to be leaving "Dexter," I wanted to find a strong female character, a really active woman," says Benz. "Basically the exact opposite of Rita. And I'm so fortunate to find "No Ordinary Family. It really was the strongest female character to be found during pilot season."

And while she may have her character pegged, the show is a bit harder. Part sci-fi, part family drama and part sitcom, Benz took it upon herself to name a new genre for the series. "It's a dramactionomedy. That's my word. Pay me 25 cents if you use it."

People seem to be latching onto the term, so she expect the royalties to start rolling in any day now.

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Photo credit: ABC