Yes, Death in ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ is the same one from ‘The Sandman’

By Louie Fecou
Published: April 25, 2024
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Who plays Death in Dead Boy Detectives? Explained
Sandman and Death in The Sandman Comics | Image via Entertainment Weekly

Kirby Howell-Baptiste returns in Dead Boy Detectives in the role of Death, which she’s reprising from The Sandman, also streaming on Netflix.

Neil Gaiman’s slow-burning fantasy comic book forms the basis for both shows. I was a fan of the comic back in my goth days, so it’s fun to unpack the connections between the two shows and the source material, which itself spawned a significant number of spin-offs and miniseries.

Who plays Death in Dead Boy Detectives?

Who plays Death in Dead Boy Detectives? Explained

Kirby Howell-Baptiste | Image via CBS 8

The character of Death, one of the family known as The Endless, is played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste, now credited as just Kirby, and the good news is that this is the same Death that we met in The Sandman, so it is safe to say that the two shows take part in the same universe.

The talented performer has had a few breaks in TV and film, following a path that many UK actors do, appearing in long-running shows such as Holby City, and guest starring in hot TV series such as Killing Eve and Drunk History. That led to her appearing in many other more widely-known projects, including BarryCulprits, and Sugar.

Kirby’s turn as Death allows her to work on a character that she can truly shape and make her own, and if the show does well, she will be able to hit the comic convention circuit and make a good living if the TV work slows down.

Death Character Explained

Who plays Death in Dead Boy Detectives? Explained

Death’s introduction in The Sandman #8 | Image via Reddit

Death is one of The Endless, a family that also includes Dream, who is The Sandman, and other D-listers such as Delirium, Destiny, Destruction, and Desire.

Neil Gaiman created the character for the series. Her first appearance was in Issue #8, in a story still considered one of the highlights of the book’s initial run.

Death was presented as a fun and upbeat character, flipping the usual grim reaper type personification that we usually get, and instead presenting as a pretty, funny, cute, and hopeful young girl, that juxtaposes her more emo brother Dream.

Death appears to you at the time of your death and helps you adjust to the afterlife, in the nicest way possible. The character would spin off into her own limited series too, and also appeared in other corners of the DC Comic Book Universe.

The Rest of the Cast Explained

George Rexstrew plays the part of Edwin Paine and Jayden Revri plays Charles Rowland, and they are the titular characters.  Both actors are quite young, so they do not have a huge list of credits behind them, but their relative anonymity does allow the viewer to associate them completely with the parts they are playing.

George was previously in a short-form film called Findhorn Case 31.08.18. Revri also has a few credits to his name — you can watch him in the TV series The Lodge from 2016, the mini-series Innocent from 2021, and Fate: The Winx Saga in 2022.

In preparation for the show, DC would send the actors complete runs of every appearance that the characters made in the books, which allowed them a chance to see the building blocks that Gaiman laid when creating the premise.

Other major roles in the show include:

  • Crystal Palace (Kassius Nelson, who you might have spotted in the time travel thriller Last Night in Soho and the TV series Grantchester)
  • Jenny Green (Briana Cuoco, who you might recall from the TV movie The Secret Life of College Escorts. She was also a voice actor in the Harley Quinn animated series, based on the popular psychotic murderer and Joker-loving lunatic.)


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