I Love a Mystery!

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As my profile states, I have always been a big fan of mystery. In literature, I began with the Hardy Boys, skipped right over Sherlock Holmes and went to Hercule Poirot. There is something fun about cold-blooded murder.

Much of this is the fault of my upbringing. Mom was a member of the Mystery Guild Book Club. There were always murders and crime dramas hanging around our shelves. Agatha Christie and Ed McBain were some of the staples at my parent’s house. Today, Ian Rankin and Sue Grafton are found constantly at mine.

 

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This love also became part of my movie watching. Basil Rathbone’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes was the Gold Standard for many years. Jeremy Brett would unseat him and Mr. Brett would find himself second to Benedict Cumberbatch. The detective films of the 1930’s and 1940’s were a great place to spend a childhood. Nick and Nora Charles, Charlie Chan, Mr. Moto, The Saint, The Falcon and Sam Spade were usually found spending the evening at the house.

 

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

 

In the 1960’s and the 1970’s, mystery on television entered my life. Every week, there were five or six crime dramas on, with a brilliant detective to match. The interesting fact was that every detective had a gimmick. Often it was a deficiency.

For instance “Longstreet,” played by James Franciscus, was blind. “Ironside,” played by Raymond Burr, was in a wheel chair. “Cannon,” played by William Conrad, was overweight. And “Mannix,” played by Mike Connors, had hair that never moved, no matter how violent the fist fight. And don’t get me started on “Columbo,” who was my favorite. This trend, more or less, ended with the death of Disco.

This brings me to today. Once again, a trend in mystery has begun. We now have two shows in which someone, either monster or supernatural entity, aids the police in finding a murderer. One, of course, is a favorite of mine, “iZombie.” Liv Moore is a Zombie who helps the police solve murders through dining on victim’s brains. According to one online source, the show’s ratings and audience numbers, along with its critical acclaim should insure a third season.

The next show is now two episodes old. “Lucifer” is the tale of a bored ruler of Hell that decides he needs a vacation. So, he goes to Los Angeles. Why L.A. you ask? The answer can be found in the movie “Defending Your Life.” Albert Brooks asks Rip Torn about the existence of Hell.

 

Brooks is told:
“There is no Hell. But I hear that L.A. is getting pretty close.”

 

Now it all makes sense.

So, now that a pattern has been established, what is the next step? Well, thanks to the glory of the Internet, I have managed to find several other mystery shows in development. Here are some of the television programs that you will be watching next season!

NCIS

As many fans know, Michael Weatherly, Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, is leaving the series at the end of Season 13. With all of the other actors and actresses signed through Season 14, this leaves a tremendous hole in the cast. Word has it that one of the last episodes will deal with a deep-sea diver’s death. Enter the latest member of Gibbs’ team, the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

 

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It really makes good sense. Here we have a show that deals with Naval crimes. What better investigator than someone (some thing?) that can breathe underwater? Of course, there will be some challenges to the series. The Creature’s hands are not able to hold a gun or a badge, which could cause some legal issues. Also, he has quite a temper and has been known to rip people’s faces off. Though the show has shown an occasional leaning toward vigilante justice, this may have to be reined in for purposes of believability. Lastly, how will he get along with Agent Bishop? Will she find herself carried away, like many of the female stars of the Creature movies?

Frank’s Law

He dresses in three thousand dollar suits. He drinks expensive wine. He attends all the best parties. He eats at all the best restaurants. He has a chauffeur-driven Bentley. He solves crimes for the police. He’s Frank N. Stein and it’s his Law!

Based on the hit series, “Burke’s Law” starring Gene Barry, it’s Frankenstein as you have never seen him before. He’s suave and debonair. Plastic surgery has cleared up many of the scar issues, although the neck bolts seem to be a turn-on for many of the female characters. Dressed in some of the finest designer clothing, he sets about Los Angeles helping the police solve the most perplexing of murders, while getting to Spago on time to meet is lovely dinner date.

That’s My Partner

Take a stodgy, East Coast, nearly retired police detective. Give him he most challenging case of his career. Have it lead to Tokyo. Partner him up with one of the greatest residents of the city. Throw in flaming atomic breath and wide-spread destruction. And hilarity ensues!
Yes, Godzilla is back! And this time, he wears a badge! Police Detective Eddie Simms comes to Tokyo to investigate gang related killings in New York City that have ties to drug running in Japan. Once there, he finds that the only one in is corner is loose cannon officer named Gojira. This officer has been through more partners that can be counted, most of which have been vaporized, eaten or buried by rubble. Trying to stay one step ahead of Officer Gojira’s damage is just some of the fun in this show.

 

“That’s my partner!”

“That’s my partner!”

 

The title is also the tagline as Simms often says that after a building collapses or boat is sunk.

Night Court

Not the comedy with Harry Anderson, but rather a hard-hitting series focusing on the world of crime and punishment that everyone has a tendency to sleep through. The show takes place in one of the most crime-ridden areas of Chicago. The prosecutor is a tough, unforgiving lawyer, whose family were buried alive by villains back in the 15th Century. Since then, he has waged a one-man war against crime.

Dracula stars as the attorney, D.R. Acula, who fights to punish lawbreakers in the Windy City. Through the series, he is often countered by the defense attorney, Doris Van Helsing, who sees him as too tough in the courtroom, but soft and vulnerable in the bedroom.

And this may not be all. There are shows on the slate for the new season with such titles as “Ghost Squad,” “The Cenobite Mystery Hour,” “Police Cruiser Christine,” and a game show called “Yeti, Set, Solve!”

It is obvious that “iZombie” and “Lucifer” are just the beginning. The doors are open. What will walk in?

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About Ernie Fink

Ernie Fink has been a fan of film, mainly in the genres of horror and mystery, in equal parts, for over fifty years. His love of horror in the cinema begins with “King Kong” and in literature with Edgar Allan Poe and Bernhardt J. Hurwood.  With mysteries, he skipped from the Hardy Boys right to Hercules Poirot, only to find John Rebus and Harry Hole waiting in the wings. He has been known to read subtitles extensively, and rarely leaves a theater until the lights come up.

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