My writing hasn’t been as prolific as I’d like it to be this year, so I’m going back to one post a week, and I’ll be covering the one season reality show Whodunnit?, which is delightful and was cancelled far too soon. I found out about this show on a Facebook group and suggested my friends Regan and Liam cover it on their podcast, Mystery Twins Detective Agency. I recently had the time to watch it myself, and decided that this would be the perfect way to ease back into writing on a regular basis. If you’d like to follow along, the entire series is on YouTube. This post is probably going to be a bit longer than the rest of them, due to the work that goes into establishing the characters and premise. Onwards!
First we meet Giles, who was hired as the “cursed estate”‘s butler a few weeks ago. He hasn’t met his employer, but he must follow all instructions to the letter, or his life could be at stake. 13 strangers are arriving to play a mystery game, but they don’t know that the game is murder. The prize is $250,000. Our contestants are:
- Kam, a Homeland Security attorney
- Adrianna, a TV Crime Reporter
- Don, an ex-LAPD homicide detective. He tells the other contestants that he’s a high school football coach, but they all pick him as an ex-cop and don’t believe him when he says he never worked in law enforcement
- Geno, a bar trivia host
- Lindsey, an engineer
- Ulysses, an attorney
- Cris, former Miss Nevada
- Sasha, a journalist
- Melina, a flight attendant
- Dontae, an insurance investigator that tells the others he’s a writer, which they don’t question
- Sheri, an ex-NFL cheerleader
- Ronnie, a private investigator and bounty hunter who tells the others that he works for a frozen food company
- Dana, a cardiac nurse
The contestants toast to the beginning of the game and Sheri drops her champagne glass. Then Giles comes down the stairs to introduce himself and shows them to their rooms, asking them to come downstairs at half past the hour.
A crash has everyone running downstairs, and they find Sheri lying on the floor. The fish tank is broken, a live wire is exposed, and Sheri’s body is convulsing from the electric charge. The contestants are all shocked, and Melina says “I know it’s not a dead body, but it feels too real.” So we know that Sheri’s not actually dead (more on this later), but this is the game. Giles takes the remaining contestants to the parlour, informing them that Sheri was murdered, and that the murderer is with them in the room. He reads a note from their host:
You’ve all been personally selected to play my diabolical game of life and death. Your job: stay alive long enough to discover who I am. You can only do that by being the best at solving the crimes I put before you. Fail, and you may be the next to die. I had to make an example of Sheri because she showed her incompetence by breaking a champagne glass. Her clumsiness cost her her life. Do you really think a cheerleader was ever going to become a worthy adversary? As for the rest of you – the living – here are the rules. Following each murder, I will offer you the opportunity to investigate one and only one of the following areas: the crime scene, the victim’s last known whereabouts, or… the morgue, where you can examine the corpse in a more private setting. Take a moment to decide which of the three areas you wish to investigate. Give careful consideration to your choice. Take a look around. The killer, I’m afraid, is among us.
The Crime Scene
Melina, Don, Cris, Lindsey and Kam go to the crime scene – Melina decides to go with Don because she wants to pick up on his knowledge. What they see is that the fish tank shattered, the fish have been electrocuted, there’s glass everywhere and a bloodstain on the carpet where Sheri fell backwards. Some of them thought that Sheri had fallen from above, but it’s become clear she was standing in front of the fish tank when she died. Don can’t help but talk about the crime scene the way he would in a report, which Melina and Cris both notice. Cris mentions that her father was a police detective, so Don should give up the ruse.
Dana, Ulysses and Dontae go to the morgue. Dontae and Ulysses point out the creepiness of the fact that the morgue is inside the house, and they don’t have to travel off-site to examine the body. The three of them remark on the lack of electrocution burns, before finding something sticking out of the back of Sheri’s neck. Dana and Dontae think it’s a bone, which broke when she fell backwards, but Ulysses extracts the object and discovers what looks like an old musket pellet, which appears to be the cause of death.
Last Known Whereabouts: Sheri’s Room
Sasha, Ronnie, Geno and Adrianna go to Sheri’s Room. They immediately set about searching the entire room, including lifting up the rug to see if anything’s underneath. They find that the killer forced his way into the room, as there are bits of wood and paint on the floor. A corner from the chest was missing, which Adrianna believes was used as a blunt force weapon. Her theory at this point is that Sheri was knocked over the head and fell over the railing, while Geno thinks she was in front of the aquarium. They go into the bathroom and find a note written in steam on the mirror: MEET ME AT THE FISH TANK HAVE VITAL INFO FOR YOU, proving that Sheri was murdered in front of the aquarium.
Giles takes the contestants outside and encourages to share what they’ve learned. Also, there are finger sandwiches! This is where we see alliances start to form. Kam teamed up with Ulysses and Geno when they split up for their investigations, so they split off from the rest of the group. Kam put this team together because they’re the “smartest and the strongest” guys there – he and Ulysses are both attorneys – so it seems to be a bit of a boys’ club.
Kam is sharing his information from the crime scene when Adrianna asks to join them. They’re unwilling to give her the information they have, so they ask for a few minutes. Adrianna tells them that she just wants to sit in the shade. Ulysses and Kam are agreed in their mistrust of Adrianna, but Geno wants to keep his options open in regards to alliances, so he forms relationships with some of the other contestants, because he doesn’t completely trust the other two. He doesn’t give up all the information, just telling them that they found a note on Sheri’s mirror telling her to come down to the fish tank (this is really the only thing of note from her room anyway). Kam is suspicious, thinking that Geno is holding something back. People don’t trust you just because you pick them, Kam! So Kam and Ulysses go to find other potential allies.
Ulysses moves over to where Dontae was sitting, and shares false information that contradicts what Dontae told them. He’s mad that Dontae shared the information about the musket ball because the group ‘agreed’ to not tell anyone, never mind that he probably shared the same information with Kam and Geno. So he tells the other table that Dontae is feeding them false information. Ulysses is the worst.
Sasha, Don, Dana and Cris are sharing information when Adrianna inserts herself into the conversation. Sasha is annoyed at Adrianna (who has just been knocked back by the bros), who doesn’t seem to have formed any friendships with the others in the short time they’ve been there. Sasha reports what she saw, and Adrianna starts to add to the story. Sasha interrupts Adrianna to say that she just wants to go over the facts. Dana says she wants the facts too, and then “I’m not here to make friends, we’re all here to win.” Are we on The Bachelor now?
The murderer has left another note in the form of a riddle:
To unlock any mystery, you need a key. So please, accept this gift from me. Only think twice on what lock you turn. From the passage you find, you’ll surely learn. There are twelve keys, one for each of you. You might just find the missing clue. Go run, go twist, unlock the lies. To find salvation takes several tries.
The contestants each take a key and rush back into the mansion, looking for anything they can unlock. The keys are engraved with 13:17, which Kam thinks is military time, so he starts looking at the clocks in the house. Lindsey goes to the Bible, being the daughter of a pastor. The Bible was open to Ezekiel, and that passage mentioned daughters, so Lindsey and Dontae go to look for some daughters. Ronnie turns the key over to find two crowns engraved on the other side. They figure out it’s the Second Book of Kings, which mentions an Eastward open window.
Ronnie goes to the east window, and finds a pane of glass missing. 6-1-3 is engraved on the frame, and when he looks outside, he sees a chest with the lock on it. He rushes outside, so everyone who sees him immediately follows. They find a slingshot and a crowbar inside. The slingshot is the murder weapon, and the crowbar was used to gain entry to Sheri’s room. Kam, Don, Lindsey and Dontae weren’t there, so they missed the clue. Ulysses told Kam that it was a slingshot, which proves to be useful.
Now the contestants go to the library to pitch the true crime: what they think happened, how it happened, and who they think the murderer is. Don, Lindsey and Dontae don’t know about the slingshot, so they don’t have all the information. They need to get as much as they can right, or they could be the murderer’s next victim. I’m not going to go through this except to say that these contestants were accused of being the murderer: Adrianna, Kam, Geno, Cris, Dontae and Dana. Adrianna got the most votes.
After pitching their versions of the crime, the contestants all sit down to have dinner. Lindsey and Don find out about the slingshot from Kris, and realise they’re in trouble. Don proposes a toast, and Kam warns everyone not to drop their glasses. Then it’s time for the best part of the episode.
Giles enters the dining room and tells Sasha that he has a message for her from the killer. He pauses for dramatic effect and gives Sasha time to worry before reading “Congratulations! You are spared.” Ronnie is a little annoyed that Sasha beat him, thinking he had it in the bag. Then Giles goes through the details of the murder:
- The killer broke into Sheri’s room using the crowbar and wrote the message in the mirror while she was showering.
- While Sheri was getting ready to go downstairs, the killer cut the lamp cord to expose the live wire (Sasha was the only person to get this part of the story right, that it was Red Herring Central).
- The killer opened the drapes of the east window and removed a plate of glass. The killer then waited for Sheri to go to the designated area, and fired the slingshot from outside. The slingshot was the murder weapon.
- Sheri fell forward, hitting the fish tank, before falling onto her back. The fish tank was cracked, and burst when the water pressure built up. The exposed live wire gave the impression that Sheri died from electrocution. The time between Sheri’s death and the fish tank bursting gave the killer time to hide the crowbar and the slingshot and return to the mansion.
The remaining contestants then receive cards that tell them whether they have been spared or should be scared, based on the accuracy of their information. They look like this:
Everyone has been spared except for Don and Dontae. Lindsay’s theory was correct enough that she was spared. Giles says goodnight, and tells them that they each get estate pyjamas and socks, and they will have a pyjama brunch in the morning. The guests then retire to their rooms, and Dontae locks himself inside. At 4:38, an alarm sounds and the guests all get out of bed. They convene at the pool, and Giles does a head count. Don is missing for a while, but he shows up, then they’re looking for Dontae. After a few seconds, Dontae runs screaming past them because he’s on fire, and jumps into the pool.
- Whew, that was a lot! Next week (I haven’t decided exactly when I publish these), I hope to have more of my own observations and theories rather than a straight recap.
- Yes, this is basically a more heightened version of The Mole. When I was looking for pictures for this post, I saw the Whodunnit? logo next to The Mole, which I am watching at a faster pace. It has more seasons.
- Speaking of which, there’s an explanation for eliminations in the credits: Eliminations are based on the performance of participants on a written exam testing their knowledge of the crimes, which isn’t dissimilar to the way ‘executions’ work on The Mole.
- The ‘murderer’ knows who they are, so they have all the answers – or not, depending on how much information the producers provide. So by that logic, Sasha is the killer.
- On the other hand, Don came second last (he didn’t know about the slingshot). He was also the second last person out of the house, so probably the closest to Dontae when he was set on fire. I have no idea who the murderer is at this stage
- It would be nice if there were three or four people who could be scared. Just announcing the two lowest scoring contestants makes it more difficult to guess who the next ‘victim’ will be.
- Kam and Geno suspect each other, so that alliance is dead.
- Sasha and Lindsey might get in each other’s way a bit, there could be some drama there. Also Sasha knew about the pellet because Dana told her in private, whereas Dontae told an entire group of people.
- At what point do the contestants get told that they’re eliminated? How does that conversation go?
- I’m not quite sure how they do the ‘dead’ bodies on the show, and I tried to look it up, but I ended up spoiling myself on the winner. I only know who won, and I’m interested to learn how they did all of this once I’ve seen the whole show.
- I guess the numbers carved into the window frame don’t mean anything – another trip to Red Herring Central.
- Images courtesy of ABC and wikiHow.
- Until next week!