‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Bosses Unpack Lingering Finale Questions and Muse About More ‘Sandman’ Cameos in Potential Season 2

Co-showrunners Steve Yockey and Beth Schwartz break down all the major twists and turns from the first season of their new supernatural dramedy Netflix series, which is set in the same fictional universe as Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman.’

Edwin Payne (George Rexstrew) and Charles Rowland (Jayden Revri) in Dead Boy Detectives

For the better part of the last 30 years, the Dead Boy Detectives — Edwin Payne (George Rexstrew) and Charles Rowland (Jayden Revri) — have specialized in helping ghosts whose cases would otherwise go unsolved. But in reality, these two teenagers — who were killed decades apart at the same boarding school in the U.K. and befriended each other only in death — have only just begun to unravel the mysteries of their own identities.

In the season one finale of Netflix‘s adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner’s DC comics Dead Boy Detectives, Edwin and Charles find themselves entrapped in the clutches of Esther Finch (Jenn Lyon), an evil witch in Port Townsend, Washington, who threatened to exact revenge on them in the pilot episode. After decades of feeding little girls to a magical snake to maintain her youthful complexion, Esther, a local sorceress who was granted the gift (or curse?) of eternal life but not eternal youth, has set her sights on an even more powerful elixir. By hooking Edwin up to an inhumane, man-made contraption in her kitchen, Esther is able to extract a magical potion from Edwin, who endured over 70 years of anguish and suffering in Hell, that will grant her immortality and untold power over the city’s residents.

Upon discovering that Esther blew up Jenny’s (Briana Cuoco) butcher shop and captured Edwin and Charles in a magical glass box, the clairvoyant Crystal Palace (Kassius Nelson) and her bubbly bud Niko (Yuyu Kitamura), who are technically the “Living Girl Detectives,”

On the morning of the eight-episode drop on Netflix, executive producers and co-showrunners Steve Yockey and Beth Schwartz discussed with The Hollywood Reporter the emotional arcs of the show’s core four, the future of Edwin and Charles (who, at one point, looked like they could be more than friends), whether Niko is really gone, and the likelihood of future crossovers with The Sandman.


Edwin has a number of people around him — Niko, Monty (Joshua Robert Colley), The Cat King (Lukas Gage) — all instrumental in his journey of self-discovery in the first season. What narrative purpose did some of the supporting characters serve in helping Edwin reach that place of self-acceptance about his sexuality?

STEVE YOCKEY We sort of built a triangle around him, and you hit the nail on the head. There’s Niko, who’s very supportive of an identity that Edwin doesn’t even know he’s allowed to have at the beginning. There’s The Cat King, who brings in almost an oppressive sexuality, in terms of the degree of aggression [that he preys on Edwin]. And then there’s Monty, who brings the young romance quality that unlocks some of those new feelings.

Edwin doesn’t end up wanting any of those people; those people all help him realize and understand that the feelings he is having for his best friend are something other than friendship. He’s just never had to name it before, because they’ve never had the existential threat of him going back to Hell so immediately. Crystal’s presence really triggers the entire thing, because he doesn’t understand why he’s jealous [of Charles’ crush on Crystal].

Dead Boy Detectives' series review: This 'Sandman' spin-off is boundless  fun - The Hindu

 take it upon themselves to save their new best friends — even if, as Niko puts it, “it’s scary, and the odds are bad, and we may die horrifically.”

Using her clairvoyant powers, Crystal is able to summon Lilith, the goddess of scorned women, who bestowed the gift of eternal life upon Esther. Lilith, it seems, is not best pleased to learn that Esther has been killing children for her own vanity. Before eventually getting her comeuppance, Esther claims one last victim: Niko, who sacrifices her life to save Crystal from a deadly dagger. (But as viewers discover in the season’s big cliffhanger, Niko may not be gone for good.)

By the end of the season, after formally welcoming Crystal to the agency, Edwin and Charles decide to jump through a mirror back to their London office, where the Night Nurse (Ruth Connell) has been waiting impatiently to send them to the afterlife. But in a twist that not even Edwin and Charles could see coming, the head of the afterlife’s Lost & Found Department (Tamlyn Tomita) realizes that the Dead Boys were responsible for closing some of the department’s most difficult cases, and she grants them indefinite immunity to continue their work. To add insult to injury, the Night Nurse, who looks like she would very much like to be anywhere else, is now forced to oversee the operations of the Dead Boy Detective Agency.


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