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Series: Ellery Queen
Ellery Queen was an American television detective mystery series that ran for one season from 1975 to 1976 on NBC. It starred Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen, and David Wayne as his father, Inspector Richard Queen.

Set in post-World War II, the show closely followed the format of the early Ellery Queen mystery novels, where just prior to the presentation of the solution to the mystery, a "Challenge To The Reader" was issued, in which the suspects and clues were reviewed and the reader challenged to guess the solution to the crime. In the show, this tradition was preserved by having Ellery Queen break the fourth wall and speak directly to the viewer prior to the commercial break that led into the final act. The final act always employed the time-honored detective cliché of calling together all the suspects, with Ellery Queen presenting the solution to the group, frequently upstaging and skewering the solution proposed by whichever rival sleuth was also in the episode.


Tropes used in Ellery Queen include:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Ellery
  • Adaptation Decay
    • In "The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader", Ellery is not pleased with a comic book series about him.
    • In "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario", the script based on Ellery's novel is said to be not only horrible, but getting worse with each revision.
  • Adorkable: Ellery
  • Alice Allusion: "The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party" is full of them.
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Asshole Victim: Most of the victims were not nice people.
    • Several characters in "The Adventure of the Wary Witness" think that Lin Hagen should be acquitted of the murder of Nick Danello, not because they think Lin is innocent, but because they believe Nick was such a scourge on society that killing him was a public service.
  • Ate the Spoon: In "The Adventure of the Disappering Dagger", Ellery uses a trick spoon designed to dissolve in hot water to explain how the crime was committed.
  • Beneath Suspicion: The killer in "The Adventure of the Pharaoh's Curse". This was the only episode where the killer was not one of the suspects named in the opening monologue.
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: How the suspect claims his prints got on the murder weapon in "The Adventure of the Wary Witness".
  • The Boxing Episode: "The Adventure of the Sunday Punch"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Ellery's Once an Episode "Challenge to the Viewer".
  • Cigar Chomper: Sgt. Veelie
  • Clear Their Name: In "The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep", Veelie is accused of the murder and Inspector Queen and Ellery have to clear his name.
  • Clock Discrepancy: In "The Adventure of the Hard-Hearted Huckster", an important clue is that the victim always had his watch set 5 minutes fast, and his secretary did too because her boss did it.
  • Cold Cash: In "The Adventure of Colonel Nivin's Memoirs", a search of the Queens' apartment fails to find the files the searchers were looking for because Ellery had absent-mindedly placed them in the refrigerator.
  • Compromising Memoirs: The compromising memoirs Colonel Nivin is planning to publish provide the motive for his murder in "The Adventure of Colonel Nivin's Memoirs".
  • Contract on the Hitman: In "The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep", the killer provides the police the location of a hitman who had bungled an earlier attempt on the victim, knowing that the hitman will shoot it out with the police rather than being taken alive. The killer does this because the hitman can identify them as the successful murderer.
  • Dead Man Writing: "The Adventure of Veronica's Veils" opens with a group of people being attending a funeral and then being shown a film in which the dead man says that if they are watching this then he has been murdered and that one of them is the killer.
  • Dead Star Walking: The most recognizable name in an episode's cast would often be the person playing the victim. A prominent example is George Burns in "The Adventure of Veronica's Veils".
  • Death in the Clouds: "The Adventure of the Disappearing Dagger"
  • Disconnected By Death: In "The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument", the Victim of the Week is on the phone to Ellery when he is murdered.
  • Discreet Dining Disposal: In one episode, Inspector Queen discreetly pours a cup of Ellery's awful coffee down the sink, and then follows it by pouring the entire pot out. Ellery then attempts to refill his cup from the empty pot and only notices anything is wrong when he takes a sip from his cup and finds it empty.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Ellery's distractedness causes him to ignore minor details like red lights.
  • Dying Clue: Used frequently. Ellery even refers to it by name in "The Adventure of Miss Aggie's Farewell Performance" when he realises that a dying clue that should have been there is absent.
  • Eureka Moment: Once an Episode
  • Everybody Did It: Not everybody, but in "The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader", three of the five suspects end up being guilty of the murder.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Even Ellery is arrested in "The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader"
  • Fairplay Whodunnit
  • Finger-Licking Poison: The murder method in "The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep".
  • Follow That Car: Played straight in "The Adventure of Colonel Nivin's Memoirs".
  • Fright Death Trap: The Sacred Stiff version is used "The Adventure of the Pharaoh's Curse", with a fatal fright being delivered to a man with a weak heart.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Lamont Franklin in "The Adventure of the Eccentric Engineer".
  • Girl of the Week: Ellery had several girlfriends in the series, none of whom appeared in more than one episode.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason that the title character in "The Adventure of Colonel Nivin's Memoirs" was killed.
  • Horrible Hollywood: "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario" had the Queens, father and son, witness this for themselves when they go on the set of an adaptation of one of Ellery's books. This being an Ellery Queen mystery, this trope's horrible aspects culminate in murder.
  • Iconic Item: Ellery's Bear Bryant fedora.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episodes title begin "The Adventure of..."
  • Improvised Weapon: The title object in "The Adventure of the Chinese Dog". The choice of this weapon ends up being a plot point, as Ellery realizes that it would have been much easier to kill Eben Wright with the nearby fireplace poker.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Simon Brimmer, the host of a radio mystery series who fancies himself a real detective. He proves to have a knack for ferreting out useful information but always names the wrong person as the killer.
  • Insurance Fraud: "The Adventure of the Judas Tree" ultimately turns out to be a case of insurance fraud, with two suspects making a suicide look like murder so they can still claim the life insurance.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Recurring character Frank Flannigan.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In "The Adventure of the Hard-Hearted Huckster", Flannigan complains about the taste of a cigar:
    "You call this a cigar? It tastes like the inside of a lumberjack's boot!"
  • It Will Never Catch On: When Flannigan's TV show is cancelled in "The Adventure of the Hard-Hearted Huckster", one of the execs suggests that they instead do a Variety Show with Ed Sullivan as the host. Flannigan scoffs at the notion.
    "Ed Sullivan? That stone-faced zombie won't last two weeks!"
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: Ellery says this after surveying the crime scene in "The Adventure of the Judas Tree".
  • Locked Room Mystery: "The Adventure of the Disappearing Dagger"
  • The Mafia: "The Adventure of the Wary Witness" concerns the murder of the son in a prominent crime family. Mobsters also figure prominently in the plots of "The Adventure of the Sunday Punch" and "The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep". In both cases, it's a red herring, as said mobsters have no involvement in the deaths of either victim.
  • Murder by Mistake: Happens to the first victim in "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario". The killer then tries again and gets it right.
  • Mystery Magnet: Ellery
  • Mystery of the Week
  • Mystery Writer Detective: Ellery
  • Never Suicide: Averted in "The Adventure of the Judas Tree", where the death is revealed to be a suicide made to look like a murder.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: In "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario", a movie is being filmed based on Ellery and the man playing Ellery is killed by a gun that was supposed to be filled with blanks.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Lamont Franklin in "The Adventure of the Eccentric Engineer" appears to have gone senile, wanting to do nothing else but play with his electric trains all day. It's all an act; he's merely pretending to have gone crazy so that he can work on his revolutionary new invention in peace.
  • Phone Booth: The Victim of the Week in "The Adventure of Auld Lang Syne" is murdered in a phone booth. Stabbed in the throat, he attempts to use the phone to leave a Dying Clue.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Doyle in "The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party"
  • Read the Fine Print: In "The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader", Ellery despises the proposed Ellery Queen comic, but he is legally powerless to stop it because a clause in Ellery's contract stipulates that the company can license his likeness to use in any way they see fit.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: This is what appears to be happening in "The Adventure of the Sinster Scenario". It turns out the first victim was actually a case of Murder by Mistake, and the similarity of the second victim made it look like a case of this trope.
  • Show Within a Show: Simon Brimmer's radio program "The Casebook of Simon Brimmer".
  • Significant Anagram: In the pilot episode, the names of the fashion designer/victim's clothing lines are anagrams of the names of her lovers.
  • Spinning Clock Hands
  • Spinning Newspaper
  • The Summation: Once an Episode
  • Summation Gathering: Likewise, Once an Episode.
  • Theme Naming: The series occasionally liked to use the names of famous mystery writers as the last names of characters.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario", a stuntman is killed when the brakes of the car he is driving in a stunt are tampered with.
  • Victim of the Week
  • Wheel Program: After a decade and a half of obscurity, the One Season Wonder program found a new audience as cable channel A&E included it in its Mystery Wheel in the early 90s alongside fellow 70's shows Delveccio, Mrs. Columbo, and Ohara US Treasury
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario", Inspector Queen and Ellery go to Hollywood to watch the filming of movie based on one of Elley's novels that features both of them as characters. Neither is impressed with the casting.
  • You Look Familiar: Barbara Rush appeared in "The Adventure of Auld Lang Syne" and "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario" playing two separate characters.


The Eligible BachelorCrimeAndPunishmentSeries/Detective DramaEndeavour
Earth 2Short RunnersEnlightened
EllenAmerican SeriesEmergency!

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