[[caption-width-right:320:"Tonight, Richard Boone stars as ''Series/HecRamsey''!"]]

The ''NBC Mystery Movie'' (this did not have the definite title, in spite of the page heading) was a WheelProgram that ran on Creator/{{NBC}} from 1971-77.

The most famous element was ''Series/{{Columbo}}'', which came to television in a MadeForTVMovie in 1968 (''Prescription: Murder'', adapted by [[Creator/LevinsonAndLink Richard Levinson and William Link]] from their stage play) before becoming part of the wheel in its initial season following a second TV movie (1971's ''Ransom For A Dead Man''). ''Series/McCloud'' (inspired by the 1968 movie ''Coogan's Bluff'') began as an hour-long show as part of another WheelProgram, ''Four-In-One'', in 1970; the following season, this and ''Series/NightGallery'' were "freed" from the wheel, ''Night Gallery'' for its own slot and ''[=McCloud=]'' to be in the new strand. (The other two elements, ''[[Film/SanFranciscoInternationalAirport San Francisco International]]'' and ''The Psychiatrist'', were cancelled along with ''Four-In-One'' itself.) ''Series/McMillanAndWife'', starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James respectively, was the only element to be directly created for the ''Mystery Movie'' lineup.

Once this was an established success, NBC and [[Creator/{{Universal}} Universal Television]] launched a second night, moving the three originals to Sundays (they initially aired on Wednesdays) as the rebranded ''NBC Sunday Mystery Movie'' and premiering the ''NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie''; they also tried to find a fourth spoke for the wheel, but none of the new arrivals (see below for chronology) stuck, and neither did the ''NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie'' itself (which only ran from 1972-74) - in fact, it wasn't until the final season that they finally had an addition which was a real hit, in ''Series/QuincyME''. In 1977 all the elements were cancelled except for the crusading coroner, who in a reversal of ''[=McCloud=]'' was granted his own hour-long slot (although ''Columbo'' continued to make appearances in additional TV movies).

The series was introduced for most of its run with an opening theme by Music/HenryMancini and visuals featuring a silhouetted figure walking across a landscape at sunset, using a flashlight to light up images of the elements of the wheel that season (the order depending on which one was airing that evening). Here are three examples, for ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ26K3nVM_0 Columbo]]'', ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHk5cGwuS6A [=McMillan=] and Wife]]'' and ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUTMvmvfaos The Snoop Sisters]]'' from the second season of the ''Wednesday Mystery Movie'' - the first one had a different theme by Quincy Jones, which [[http://www.televisiontunes.com/Cool_Million.html you can hear here]] ("Tonight, James Farentino stars in ''Cool Million''!").

In 1989 ABC resurrected the concept; see ''TheABCMysteryMovie''.

!!The ''Sunday Mystery Movie'' elements in order of debut (see individual pages for more details):
* ''Series/{{Columbo}}''
* ''Series/McCloud''
* ''Series/McMillanAndWife'': known as ''[=McMillan=]'' in its final season.
* ''Series/HecRamsey'' (1972-74): that's him in the page image up there.
* ''Amy Prentiss'' (1974-75): focusing on the first female chief of detectives in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco, played by Creator/JessicaWalter. The pilot aired [[PoorlyDisguisedPilot in disguise]] as the double-length ''Series/{{Ironside 1967}}'' episode "Amy Prentiss: AKA, The Chief." Incidentally, the City by the Bay wouldn't have a real female chief of police [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Fong until 2004]].
* ''Series/ElleryQueen'' (1975): While the resulting one hour series aired separately, the two hour pilot debuted as ''An NBC Mystery Movie Special''.
* ''[=McCoy=]'' (1975-76): the first American TV series to star Creator/TonyCurtis, here playing a con man in the JustLikeRobinHood mold.
* ''Series/QuincyME'' (1976-77): with Jack Klugman as an inquisitive, idealistic coroner. The first four episodes aired under the ''Mystery Movie'' banner; early in 1977 it was given its own slot.
* ''Lanigan's Rabbi'' (1977): based on the novels by Harry Kemelman about police chief Paul Lanigan and his friend Rabbi David Small (who dabbles in detective work), starring Art Carney as Lanigan and David Solomon as Rabbi Small.
!!The ''Wednesday Mystery Movie'' elements in order of debut:
* ''Series/{{Banacek}}'': George Peppard as a Polish-American insurance investigator, based in UsefulNotes/{{Boston}}. This was the only element to appear in both seasons (and the only one to have its own page on this site).
* ''Madigan'' (1972-73): Richard Widmark reprised his role from the 1968 movie of the same name (suggesting, despite how the movie ended, that Madigan was NotQuiteDead) as a tough New York cop.
* ''Cool Million'' (1972-73): James Farentino as a private investigator plying his trade to the jet set and upper crust (the title refers to how much he charges per case).
* ''Faraday and Company'' (1973-74): Dan Dailey as Faraday, a PI back in the US after having spent almost 30 years in a Caribbean prison; the "company" (his agency) was basically his family.
* ''Tenafly'' (1973-74): Another Creator/LevinsonAndLink creation, with James [=McEachin=] as the only black lead in this incarnation of the ''Mystery Movie'' lineup, playing one of the unflashiest, most down-to-earth detectives (of any colour) on television - a HappilyMarried family man just doing a job.
* ''The Snoop Sisters'' (1973-74): Leonard Stern's second contribution to the ''Mystery Movie'' wheel (he also created ''[=McMillan=] And Wife''), with Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick as mystery-writing sisters who, like [[Series/MurderSheWrote Jessica Fletcher]] years later, tended to stumble across real-life mysteries. Bert Convy (yes, [[Series/{{Tattletales}} THAT]] [[Series/{{Password}} Bert]] [[Series/WinLoseOrDraw Convy]]) played their police contact.
!!Tropes associated with this include:
* CatchPhrase: Columbo's "Just one more thing..." and [=McCloud=]'s "There ya go..."
* CurseCutShort: In the ''[=McCloud=]'' episode "Butch Cassidy Rides Again", a man on a train swears, with the swears covered by the train whistle bursts.
* MeaningfulName: Creator/LevinsonAndLink named Tenafly after the town of Tenafly, UsefulNotes/NewJersey.
* ReunionShow: ''[=McCloud=]'' was the only element other than ''Columbo'' to have any kind of revival, with 1989's ''The Return Of Sam [=McCloud=]''.