Are Edwin and Charles Gay in Dead Boy Detectives?

In Netflix’s ‘Dead Boy Detectives,’ a bond is forged between two teenagers who die in the same boarding school but seventy years apart. Instead of moving on to the afterlife, they decide to stick together for the rest of their days and indulge in solving supernatural cases. Being each other’s only friend and confidant, Edwin and Charles develop a deep relationship and are truly inseparable. If one is in trouble, the other will do whatever it takes to save them. While more people become a part of their detective agency, the bond between Charles and Edwin remains the same. For two people who are so dedicated to one another and spend decades with each other as their company, the question of a romantic nature is bound to surface. SPOILERS AHEAD

Charles and Edwin’s Relationship is Made More Complex by Their Sexualities

Image Credit: Ed Araquel/Netflix

Edwin Payne is in love with Charles Rowland; there is no doubt about that. Edwin was gay and had been closeted when he died because it was the 1910s, and homosexuality was not seen in a good light, especially for a teenage boy at an all-boys boarding school prone to bullying. A young Edwin died before he could experience mutual attraction, before he could date someone, or even have his first kiss. He spent decades in Hell, being tortured because he was sacrificed to a demon by his ignorant classmates. But when he got out of Hell, he found a kindred spirit in Charles Rowland.

Being a charming, lovable guy who always tries to brighten up the space around him, it is hard not to fall in love with Charles. With the decades that Edwin spent with him, he fell in love, too, but kept his feelings to himself for several reasons. First, while Edwin knew he himself was gay, he wasn’t sure about Charles. Moreover, Charles’s clear attraction to girls shows Edwin that his friend would not be interested in him, which further leads Edwin to box up his feelings and never let them be known. However, he never tried to hide his disapproval or even his jealousy whenever Charles flirted with girls, especially Crystal.

Considering that Charles is seriously interested in Crystal and that they even kiss at one point and consider the possibility of being together, it is clear that Charles isn’t strictly gay. He does like girls, but does that mean he doesn’t like boys? When Edwin confesses his feelings to Charles, the latter says that while he does love Edwin, it is as his “best mate” and he can’t in earnestness say that he is in love with him. However, at the time, they are on the stairway out of Hell and being chased by a monster, so there isn’t much time to discuss their feelings at length.

Charles says they must focus on the present because they have a lot of time in the world to “figure out what the rest means.” While this might not seem like a lot to go on, it does leave room for hope that, perhaps, Charles might not be as straight as he has appeared so far. The first season of ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ focuses only on his budding romance with Crystal, which has its own complications. He doesn’t get any other love interest (girl or boy), which makes it a bit tricky to pin down the complete picture of Charles’ sexuality at the moment.

With Edwin, however, things are much easier. Not only does his love for Charles become an important plot point in the story, but he also gets two more love interests, the Cat King and Monty, to prove, beyond any doubt, that he is gay. With things cleared up between him and Charles, the second season might have Edwin explore other romantic options, which is when, perhaps, Charles’ true feelings for him might come to light. For now, they seem to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

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