Edwin and Charles sit at their desk in Dead Boy Detectives.
(Netflix)

Guess Who Wrote That Amazing ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Cameo in Episode 1

The Dead Boy Detectives have arrived on Netflix, and they’ve brought a fantastic guest star along with them.

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Warning: spoilers for Netflix’s Dead Boy Detectives episode 1 ahead!

Episode 1, “The Case of Crystal Palace,” starts off with a bang: Edwin (George Rexstrew) and Charles (Jayden Revri) are hot on the tail of a malicious spirit. When they catch up with him, though, they discover that he’s a mixed-up World War I veteran who’s been wandering the earth for a century. With his mind clear, the veteran is finally free to move on to the afterlife.

So Death comes to claim him.

Death, played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste, is instantly recognizable to fans of The Sandman—both the original comic books and the Netflix series (currently filming its second season). Having Death show up in Dead Boy Detectives only makes sense—after all, “dead” is right in the title—but seeing the return of Howell-Baptiste’s character is a treat for Sandman fans.

In a virtual panel the day before the show’s release, Neil Gaiman, who originally co-created the Dead Boy Detectives in the ’80s, revealed that he wrote Howell-Baptiste’s scene. However, he and showrunners Steve Yockey and Beth Schwartz originally thought they wouldn’t be able to use any Sandman characters because of licensing issues. “We were carefully filing off all the serials numbers,” he explained. But when Netflix bought the show, the streamer had only one request: “Can we plug it into The Sandman?” Gaiman said he was excited when Yockey invited him to write Death’s scene.

The Mary Sue also spoke to Schwartz about the surprise cameo at a press event earlier this month. “We’re so excited to have [Howell-Baptiste],” she told us. “Obviously, the entire show is focused on the boys running from Death, so it was really important that we have her in there for people who might not have seen The Sandman. We wanted to show how death works, and how she comes and takes people so they can move on. That’s what the boys are running from for basically the entire series, so it was important for us to get her for that first episode. Sandman fans are going to be so excited, just as we were so excited to have her. [The cameo] just fit in seamlessly.”

Wait—the boys are running from Death? That’s right. As soon as the veteran is freed from his enchantment, Edwin and Charles hide on the window ledge outside their headquarters so that Death won’t find them. Moving on to the afterlife means that they would be split up, and the two friends want to stay together.

After talking to Schwartz about the cameo, we all couldn’t resist gushing about Howell-Baptiste’s portrayal of Death. “She’s so great,” Schwartz said. “I hope this is real when I die. I hope this is how it really happens. She’s so comforting.”

Season 1 of The Dead Boy Detectives is now streaming on Netflix.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>