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Edgar, a groom in a tux, stands accusing another man seated at a table in front of him across from his bride in a crowded library in season 2 of The Afterparty Image: Apple TV Plus

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The Afterparty creators dare you to try and solve its mystery before its detectives

Mister Police, they gave you all the clues

If you’re ever struggling to decide what to watch, you could always let The Afterparty decide for you. The Apple TV Plus comedy, which kicks off its second season this week, is a different show every time you watch it. Each episode is done in a different genre style — in the second season, you can expect a film noir, a Wes Anderson pastiche, and an ’80s erotic thriller, to name a few — but what each episode in a season has in common is the murder mystery that kicks off in the premiere.

In the show’s second season, the murder being solved is that of Edgar (Zach Woods), an eccentric crypto-millionaire poisoned on the day of his wedding to protagonist Zoë’s (Zoë Chao) sister Grace (Poppy Liu). Much like the first season, which was set at Zoë’s high school reunion, The Afterparty season 2 is meant to be a murder mystery that you can solve, if you’re so inclined. And, if you’re not, it’s still fun as hell.

“The goal is to do a proper Fair Play mystery where, if you’re paying enough attention, the clues are there, and it can be solved,” says creator Christopher Miller — one half of the Lord Miller production team responsible for Across the Spider-Verse, among other things. “But if you are just a casual viewer who likes a fun murder mystery, or a fun comedy, you can just enjoy it as a character show. Or you can have conversations about whodunit without poring over each little detail.”

A bride and her shocked family stand over the bed where the torso of a dead man in a tux lies in season two of The Afterparty. Image: Apple TV Plus

According to Miller, the show’s cast and crew go above and beyond to make The Afterparty the ultimate mystery comedy, appealing to an audience ranging from casual viewers just looking for good jokes and genre parodies to Reddit super-sleuths “who really freeze-frame it,” hiding additional puzzles and clues in the set design “for the real obsessive nerds.”

With a show this layered, there’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg question: What comes first, the genres The Afterparty will parody, or the story its characters will find themselves in?

“Well, really, the murder comes first,” says co-showrunner Anthony King, “and then we from there [ask]: Who did it? And who else is in that situation — who are these characters? And as we’re building those out, as [characters] start to tell their story, you feel like, Oh, of course, this is the way their story is being told.

This is why, King says, when it’s time for Grace, the bride at the center of the story, to share how the night of the murder (her wedding!) went for her, it’s a Jane Austen story.

A bride and groom in Jane Austen-esque period dress read on a picnic blanket in the woods in The Afterparty season 2 Image: Apple TV Plus

“She’s getting married, and she’s in love with the idea of love, and it’s very whimsical,” says King. “And so it’s like, Oh, that feels like a Jane Austen character. Once we know that, maybe we put her in a vintage dress, or we have her get obsessed with antiques, and then that gives us other connections to other characters. It’s a real push-pull, but we want it to really feel organic, so we’re not just cramming genres onto characters for the fun of it.”

And threaded throughout each genre homage are clues — according to the creators, viewers intent on solving the mystery will have to see nine out of the 10 episodes in the season to have all they need to definitively solve the case. Of course, there are gags liberally spread throughout as well. Like, as producer Phil Lord notes, high-stakes Connect Four, which “is finally being depicted as the game of skill that it is.”

You’ll have to watch The Afterparty to figure out what he means by that.

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