Are You Doing ABC’s Whodunnit?

Last Sunday marked the premiere of ABC's new “reality” series Whodunnit. Thirteen guests and a butler assemble at a manor house (you know how we forever adore those). When one guest gets “murdered,” the rest have to find the identity of the rampaging killer as one by one they're eliminated or executed or whatever. This isn't the First 48, so we're not facing real deaths or crimes, but a game.

During an online house tour, Giles also uses the word “austerity” about the decor. Does that mean what the writer thinks it means, or is the delivery so very dry that it's impossible to know he's joking? His pointing out the variety of potential weapons among the furnishings was enjoyable, though so obvious (actual armory and devices of torture, taxidermied antlers, heavy chandeliers and paperweights) that any underhanded sarcasm feels doubtful. He also discusses the “parlor room,” not the billiard parlor or even just the parlor. It may being nitpickiness, but we wonder if clunky bits like this are why it has such a schticky feel, like a put-on of a put-on.

Mind you, fake murder games are super fun at a friend's house with cocktails, when everyone's faking terrible accents and keeping the rubber dagger away from the dog, but is it also worthwhile when the sleuths involved aren't the comic actors from Clue, but supposedly “real” folks? Yes, even real is in scare quotes, because most frequently, reality shows are written—at least the storylines are planned—by uncredited writers who may show up instead among the scads of associate producers. This guest list of ordinary people may have been cast into existence or scripted into it, but we have suspicions—sue away.

If you missed it, you can watch episodes online. “High Voltage” is the premiere—no points for guessing the manner of death. Tonight's episode (9/8pm ET) will be “Fire Starter.” So, have you joined in this murder mystery game, and are you finding it too goofy or is it delightfully, awesomely camp?


  1. Doreen Sheridan

    I didn’t expect to love this show as much as I do. Even ran out and bought the book tie-in from Amazon, though it’s of about the expected quality. The show itself is, I think, equal parts cheesy fun and intellectual puzzle. I really do hope they air all nine episodes, if only to find out whether they meant to be so heavy-handed in their editing choices of Ep 2 to point the finger at Don as the killer. I do love the spectacular deaths so far, and I’m not a big fan of gore (just spectacle.)

  2. Clare 2e

    Thanks for the feedback! Makes a difference from a crime fan who’s actually seen it. But even to buying the tie-in novel…that is serious!

  3. Doreen Sheridan

    After this last episode, I have even more respect for the show! The second episode set it up to look like Don was the killer, and the third episode… well.

    As to buying the book, I think it’s because I secretly want to be on the show, so am trying to better understand the game through whatever source material I can find :D.

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