×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Whodunnit?

ABC crime-solving unscripted show resembles bad murder-mystery dinner theater

With:
With: Gildart Jackson.

Ever been to one of those murder-mystery dinner theaters? That’s roughly the experience of watching “Whodunnit?” an especially brain-numbing ABC summer reality show, which assembles 13 contestants to participate in what amounts to a game of Clue, gradually eliminating them, but not before all are asked to provide particularly goofy reaction shots. British actor Gildart Jackson plays the butler, Giles, guiding them through the paces, but even his “Mwa-ha-ha” intros are hardly worth the time. Someone will eventually walk away with $250,000, but thus far the show hasn’t solved a true riddle, better titled “Whywatchit?”

Although the players come from various backgrounds, including some (an ex-cop, a bounty hunter, an attorney with the Dept. of Homeland Security) with law-enforcement experience and credentials, there’s little here any different from the standard TV procedural. The one wrinkle, such as it is, is that those being eliminated take part in staging their own deaths, while the surviving players run around trying to look agitated and tense.

A bit of play-acting goes into all of these shows, obviously, but “Whodunnit?” — a collaboration of reality producer 51 Minds and “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker, who really needs to find a better hobby — feels especially stilted, from the squabbling among the contestants to their expressions of fear about winding up the next victim.

Like “The Mole,” each week the players will present their theories regarding how the latest “murder” happened, whittling down those farthest from the truth for potential ouster.

Lord knows TV has a longstanding love affair with crime and mystery, and there’s a natural impulse to try to get viewers at home to play along. ABC even bills the series as “interactive,” but nothing in the execution provides an incentive or much help in piecing together the facts, so all that’s left is to chortle derisively at the participants and those otherwise responsible for doin’ it.

“Whodunnit?” might work marginally in that respect, from Jackson channeling Vincent Price to the earnestness of the players as they play junior sleuths. But frankly, if you’re going to waste time on something this silly, why not put it to more community-minded use and support your local dinner theater?

Whodunnit?

(Series; ABC, Sun. June 23, 9 p.m.)

Production: Produced by Dare to Pass and 51 Minds.

Crew: Executive producers, Cris Abrego, Anthony E. Zuiker; producer, Matt Weinberg, 60 MIN.

Cast: With: Gildart Jackson.

More TV

  • Game of Thrones finale

    Six Things We Learned From 'Game of Thrones: The Last Watch' Documentary

    HBO gave fans a long parting look at the making of “Game of Thrones” on Sunday night in a two-hour documentary that focused on the Herculean efforts by the small army craft and technical experts who worked on the mammoth fantasy drama. “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch” introduced viewers to the leaders of the [...]

  • 'Killing Eve' Season 2 Failed Where

    'Killing Eve' Season 2 Stumbled Where 'Barry' Soared (Column)

    SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the entire second seasons of “Killing Eve” and “Barry.”  I was dead certain that “Killing Eve” and “Barry” — two of my favorite television debuts of 2018 — should have ended after a single season. Both coincidentally starring unstable assassins, the shows were smart, propulsive, and extremely weird [...]

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content