Major spoilers for Lucifer on Netflix are ahead. Lucifer season 5B prepares you for a major character death repeatedly. God himself (Dennis Haysbert) questions his own mortality in third episode “Resting Devil Face.” In “A Little Harmless Stalking,” Eve (Inbar Lavi) remerges in Los Angeles only to nearly get murdered (and bring Lucifer dangerously close to the horrid #BuryYourGays trope). Dan Espinosa (Kevin Alejandro) spends the climax of “Daniel Espinosa: Naked and Afraid” convinced he caused the death of dozens of people, Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt) included.
Death doesn’t actually come to Lucifer season 5B until penultimate chapter “Is This Really How It’s Going To End?!” Forty minutes into the episode, Dan bleeds to death in his ex-wife Chloe Decker’s (Lauren German) arms. A trip to the hospital does not revive him. In a heartbreaking sequence, Chloe must tell her daughter with Dan, Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), that her father is dead. A conversation between Lucifer (Tom Ellis) and Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) reveals Dan is not in Heaven and therefore died with some semblance of guilt for his early Lucifer misdeeds, damning Dan to Hell.
Dan’s death is a brutal twist for a show as charmingly low stakes as Lucifer tends to be. Considering the very complicated web of celestial scheming that leads to Dan’s death, it’s time to explain what exactly happened — and whether you should expect to see Dan again on Lucifer (because Instagram does have an answer).
The basics of Dan’s death are simple: He is shot to death by a mercenary named Vincent Le Mec (Supernatural God Rob Benedict), clings to life long enough to put Chloe on track to solve the case, then dies. Despite telling Lucifer in “Naked and Afraid” that he has forgiven himself for any earlier moral failings, Dan still went to Hell. His lifetime of guilt was too much.
Yet, Dan’s seemingly average death during a run-of-the-mill case is actually caused by another Michael (Tom Ellis a second time) plot. Michael hired Vincent and his criminal associate Sayeed Faisal (Mo Anouti) to find the Key to the Flaming Sword, which Ammendiel laid to rest with the body of murdered child Caleb Mayfield (Looking for Alaska’s Denny Love) in season 4. Unbeknownst to Ammendiel, Jonathan Donnelley, a med tech at the coroner’s office and “Going to End’s” initial murder victim, was stealing heirlooms off of bodies and selling them back to their families as part of a scam. Jonathan nicked the Key off of Caleb’s body and gave the object to his fence, TJ (Kevin Douglas), to sell on the black market. When Vincent and Sayeed were dispatched to find the Key, they figured out these details and started the deadly rampage through L.A. that would end in Dan’s kidnapping as he worked the case.
When Michael learned that his lackeys had Dan — Chloe’s ex and Lucifer’s friend — he advised them to kill Dan, forcing Lucifer into a corner. With Dan dead during Chloe’s investigation, she would be forced into a permanent state of guilt, securing her a one-way ticket to hell on her deathbed. Lucifer would then be inclined to return to Hell — and give Michael Heaven — so he could be with Chloe for all eternity.
Dan is a tragic casualty in Michael’s elaborate plan to one-up Lucifer. Upon realizing his tangential part in Dan’s death, Lucifer decides he “has” become God to right this egregious wrong — the decision is no longer a mere preference. ““There are no words to convince me the system isn’t broken. Trixie shouldn’t have to suffer the pain of seeing her father ripped from her like that. … Dan should not be dead,” Lucifer tells his therapist/friend Linda (Rachael Harris) minutes after Dan dies. “The system is not only broken, it’s unjust.”
Considering the positive outcome of Lucifer’s battle against Michael, the question becomes: Can Lucifer use his powerful new position as presumptive God to bring Dan back to life, or ferry him to Heaven? Lucifer does go to great lengths to resurrect Chloe after Michael kills her in the season 5B finale, “A Chance at a Happy Ending.” However, Lucifer also spends his father’s final episode, “Nothing Lasts Forever,” learning the episode’s titular message: Even for deities, some things come to an end.
That’s why it seems most likely Lucifer will run a similar play on a hell-bound Dan come season 6 as he did in season 5A premiere “Really Sad Devil Guy.” Lucifer spends that episode helping career criminal Lee (Jeremiah Birkett) work through his Hell loop and grapple with the guilt he feels for failing his loving family. When Lucifer goes to Heaven in “A Chance at a Happy Ending,” he finds Lee in the Silver City. “No soul has made it up here from there,” Lucifer tells Lee. Lee explains that he stumbled into Heaven the moment he went through the door at the end of his loop. It’s a nice scene that easily could have been cut out of the 51-minute installment — unless it exists to purposefully lay the groundwork for a future Lucifer plotline. Like, say, one where Lucifer shows Dan exactly how to free himself from Hell and find his way into Heaven, where his soul can finally be at peace.
This theory seems especially possible considering Dan’s portrayer Kevin Alejando’s appearances on the Lucifer season 6 set. Alejando reposted a video published by a Lucifer production assistant that shows him on-set in November 2020. Production on Lucifer season 6 began a month earlier in October and the initial video is tagged “#Luciferseason6.” The clip’s caption explains that it depicts Alejandro’s “dramatic entrance” when he is “needed on set.” All together, this suggests Alejandro was needed for at least a single episode of Lucifer season 6.
However, it’s unclear how long we can expect Alejandro, and his character Dan, to stick around. A photo posted by Aimee Garcia from Lucifer’s momentous final day of shooting features each member of the series’ major secondary cast, including Garcia, Rachael Harris, D.B. Woodside, and Lesley-Ann Brandt. Even Inbar Lavi, who plays newer core cast member Eve, is in the shot. Kevin Alejandro is not. It’s possible Alejandro wasn’t on set that day (despite the importance of the occasion), or he personally took the photo. Or Dan’s story will end for good when he is inevitably broken out of Hell within the first few episodes of Lucifer season 6. As God told you, nothing lasts forever.