This post contains spoilers for all of Dead To Me season 1.
Netflix's new show Dead To Me has a main character who's only mentioned but never seen. Over the course of 10 episodes, drips and drabs are revealed about who Ted from Dead To Me really is, but that's all fans can hope to get considering that Ted is dead. The show chose not to go the flashback route until episode nine, and still only showed his wife Jen (Christina Applegate), then.
So, if you've come here hoping to find out who plays Ted in some surprise Dead To Me cameo, you're outta luck. After all, the show's not actually about Ted (though as we soon learn, the Dead To Me character certainly thought the world revolved around him). The only way viewers can piece together a picture of Jen's husband (at least in season 1) is by paying attention to the clues and hints the writers dropped along the way. Clues like...
He Was A Musician
Ted worked from his home studio that was furnished with expensive instruments including a fancy drum set and a Les Paul guitar. His mother called him "naturally gifted" at music, and she also praised his job for allowing him to be a stay-at-home father. Before that, it was revealed that he also used to tour.
He Was A Runner
In the first episode, viewers learn that he was an avid runner beginning at the age of 40, so not long before his death at 49. Initially Jen claimed that Ted was out for a run on the night he was killed, but viewers see later that Jen and Ted got in an explosive fight and he was out on the road at 1 a.m. because he didn't want to go back home.
He Was Having An Affair
In episode 3, viewers see that Ted was chatting with a video game user named Bambi89. She sent him graphic messages, which led Jen to believe her husband had been cheating on her. After tracking Bambi down at her waitressing job, Jen learned that Bambi was a singer/songwriter who was working with Ted on an album and had been dating him for a year and a half. Ted lied and told Bambi his wife (that would be Jen) died of breast cancer. The gall. He used the story of being a supposed widowed father to gain sympathy points from Bambi.
His Mother, Lorna, Gifted Him A Gun
Ted kept a gun in a safe in his studio. It was a Christmas stocking gift from his mother, who shared his affinity for firearms.
His Mother Doesn't Like Jen
Lorna is extremely disapproving of pretty much everything Jen does, and being extra critical appears to be her way of grieving Ted, who was her only child. Ted also called Lorna the night he died, but she didn't pick up. She still feels guilty about it.
He's Never Actually Shown On The Series
There's no credited actor playing Ted. The closest viewers get to seeing him is through blurry crime scene photos and a framed (but out-of-focus) photo of him with his two sons that sits in his studio. The catalyst for Judy (Linda Cardellini) and Jen's friendship may have been Ted's death, but this show is not about him. It's about female friendship and grief and just trying to get by.
The show doesn't ignore Ted, and it supplies plenty of examples throughout the 10 episodes of the kind of person he was. But it wasn't necessary to have show Ted in flashbacks to illustrate his life with Jen and his kids. The fact that he's missing is the whole point of the show, and doubling down on that by also having him be a missing piece for the audience helps drive home Jen and her family's absolute loneliness.