Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s New Role in The Boys Season 4 Shocking Resemblance to His Iconic Character

Warning: spoilers ahead for The Boys season 4, episode 6, “Dirty Business.”


  • Joe Kessler in The Boys shares many similarities with Negan from The Walking Dead .
  • Kessler’s language, personality traits, and love for detailed insults mirror Negan’s characteristics.
  • The Boys ‘ use of Negan-inspired elements for Kessler enhances the character’s villainy and complements Billy Butcher’s personality.

Joe Kessler may be a new presence in The Boys for season 4, but the character feels like a comfy pair of slippers to anyone familiar with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s wider TV work. Before appearing in The Boys, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was widely recognized as John Winchester in Supernatural, Negan in The Walking Dead, the Comedian in Watchmen, and Denny in Grey’s Anatomy. With Supernatural‘s creator, Eric Kripke, serving as showrunner on The Boys, it was only a matter of time before Morgan followed the likes of Jim Beaver and Jensen Ackles onto Amazon’s shock-tacular superhero series.

After a veil of secrecy surrounded Kessler throughout Amazon’s pre-season 4 marketing campaign, the character debuted in the season premiere. Since then, Joe Kessler had occupied a pivotal position in The Boys season 4’s cast, quickly revealed as a former associate of Billy Butcher’s and a staunch anti-supe veteran constantly pushing Butcher to give into his most violent temptations. Every time Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Kessler appears onscreen, however, a sense of déjà vu arises, reminding audiences of a totally different villain the actor also plays.

The Boys’ Joe Kessler Is Pretty Much Negan From The Walking Dead

Kessler Could Be Mistaken For Negan’s Variant In The Boys’ Universe

Of all Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s TV roles, Negan Smith is arguably his most iconic, and a large dose of The Walking Dead‘s bat-wielding villain has very obviously seeped into Joe Kessler. On a basic level, both characters revel in ruthlessness and violence. Negan and Kessler are both brutes who would beat someone around the head first, then possibly ask questions later if they can be bothered.

AMC may not give Jeffrey Dean Morgan as much leeway in The Walking Dead as Kessler gets in The Boys , but Negan certainly pushes the zombie franchise’s censorship barriers.

Digging deeper, however, Negan and Kessler both justify their violence by claiming it’s in service of a greater good. Negan ruled over The Walking Dead‘s Saviors with an iron fist because he believed it was the best way to keep his people alive during a zombie apocalypse. In The Boys, Kessler breaks the rules because he views supes as an existential threat to humanity’s existence.

Beyond just their methods and motivations, Negan and Kessler share specific personality traits, mannerisms, and linguistic idiosyncrasies too. Negan is infamously the most potty-mouthed character in The Walking Dead, while Kessler’s colorful language stands out even in the R-rated world of The Boys, dropping choice lines like, “We could just send you back to them in a f**king bucket if you don’t do whatever the f**k we say.” AMC may not give Jeffrey Dean Morgan as much leeway in The Walking Dead as Kessler gets in The Boys, but Negan certainly pushes the zombie franchise’s censorship barriers to their limits.

The most specific similarity between Negan & Kessler, however, is their mutual love of explicitly detailed insults. Throughout his time in The Walking Dead, Negan has provided many witheringly gross put-downs, such as the time he mocked Beta with, “How long have you and the boss lady been together? Is this a ‘Beta with benefits’ situation? You slide her a little Omega on the side?” Kessler copies Negan’s juvenile and offensive sense of humor in The Boys season 4, firing off lines like, “I was thinking we could meet in the mom’s p*ssy, but I wanted some place more private.”

Joe Kessler Borrows A Negan Quote In The Boys Season 4

The Boys Might Be Drawing Inspiration From Negan Deliberately

Hammering home the crossover between The Boys‘ Joe Kessler and The Walking Dead‘s Negan, one specific phrase is uttered by both Jeffrey Dean Morgan characters. In The Boys season 4, episode 6’s final moments, Kessler taunts Butcher with “Don’t you worry, Billy, my boy – Daddy’s home!” This jibe was originally used by Billy Butcher in a past episode, which was undoubtedly The Boys‘ intended parallel, but it’s also remarkably similar to a Negan scene from The Walking Dead season 8, episode 14, where the villain proclaimed upon returning to his group, “Daddy’s home!

Both characters use the “Daddy’s home” line as a taunting way to assert their authority, highlighting just how alike Negan and Joe Kessler truly are. Combined with the cursing, the crude humor, the violence, and the warped moral compass, Kessler feels very much like a spiritual continuation of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s iconic Negan performance.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan Leaning Into His Negan Performance Works For The Boys Season 4

The Boys Season 4’s Negan Influence Makes Joe Kessler Better

Joe Kessler’s Negan-isms are hardly subtle, but The Boys peeking at The Walking Dead‘s homework does, in truth, work quite well. Negan’s arrogant swagger and complete disregard for the feelings of others is a perfect recipe for Joe Kessler to emulate. It neatly positions him as the devil on Butcher’s shoulder, while also giving The Boys a rare example of a character trying to bring down Homelander but remaining villainous in his own right.

Kessler’s creative use of the English language may give off big Negan energy, but it’s consistent with Billy Butcher’s personality too. When The Boys season 4 ultimately reveals Kessler isn’t real, the bad language, violent threats, and jokes about crowded genitalia all feel very much in-keeping with the darker side of Karl Urban’s character. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s experience playing a very similar figure in The Walking Dead gives him the perfect foundation to bring Butcher’s inner demons to life in human form in The Boys.

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