Made by the creator of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Whodunnit? is a murder mystery Reality Show that premiered June 23, 2013 on ABC and ended on August 18.Thirteen contestants are invited to a cursed mansion called Rue Manor. Each week, at least one of them is "killed," and the others must solve the mystery while trying to figure out who among them is the Killer. After collecting evidence, the contestants stand one at a time in the library and reconstruct the murder as best they can. The person whose theory is farthest from the truth becomes the next victim.The evidence-collection phase of each episode has two stages. In the first stage, the contestants gather clues by examining the room where the body was found, the body itself in the morgue, or a relevant third location (usually somewhere the victim had been shortly before the murder) — but each contestant may visit only one of the three locations. The second stage is a treasure hunt: the contestants are given a clue which leads to another clue and so on; the first person to follow the chain of clues to its end finds the murder weapon and gains an insight into the murder method — and ends the hunt before anyone else gets to complete it. Thus, it is not possible for any one person to find all the available clues, and strategies for gaining truthful information from other contestants can be key to a successful solution.The last contestant alive gets to unmask the Killer and wins $250,000.For the long-running British mystery game show, see Whodunnit? (UK).For the Pinball game from Bally, click here.
Amateur Sleuth: Most of the contestants aren't homicide detectives in real life.
Annoying Laugh: Lindsey without a doubt. She hinted in her "post-death" interview that it's why the Killer put an arrow in her throat.
Art Shift: The murder scenes are shot differently from the rest of the show.
Artistic License: Let's just say that liberties have been taken when it comes to how most murders worked, starting with more than one instance of a poison working faster than it does in real life and going from there.
As the Good Book Says: A riddle in the first episode refers to 2 Kings 13:17, a passage about "shoot through the east window" as a clue to the murder. (The contestants looked at Ezekiel 13:17 first because they missed the "2 Kings" part and that's what the Bible in the house was open to, but it didn't seem to mean anything.)
At Least I Admit It: Part of Kam's Moral Myopia is his insistently calling the others 'lying backstabbers'; he makes no secret of only being out for himself, and claims the others are hypocrites for wanting to hedge their bets as much as possible.
Back for the Finale: The Killer "resurrected" their victims in the final episode to run the challenge tasks.
Big Red Button: One with a bomb on it was on the remote the Killer used to blow a victim up.
Break Them by Talking: Melina, being the last person outside of Kam's alliance still left alive, turned into a complete Badass in the next-to-last episode by single-handedly deducing many of the details of Ronnie's murder, just by how well she knew the victim. She then went and confirmed her suspicions by telling the other alliance nearly every single piece of information they knew that she shouldn't, and stunning them into silence.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Do NOT let Lindsey's Annoying Laugh and bubbly personality fool you, she's worked as a chemical engineer, she knew Cris was the Killer the whole time, and she came within less than a minute of beating Cam and winning the whole thing.
Cartoon Bomb: In the death-by-explosion episode, the first clue for the murder weapon hunt arrives in the form of a cartoon-style bomb with fuse fizzing.
Clueless Detective: The eventual winner proves to be one, as they never correctly identified the Killer at any point in the show - during the finale, they even named Giles as the Killer when prompted, as they'd missed Giles' instructions to Read the Fine Print of the contract they were to get. The win came mainly came from succeeding at primarily-physical challenges, not any kind of deduction. The finalist that did suspect the Killer correctly was killed off due to finishing the challenge last. It just goes to show how the show treated the identity of the Killer as essentially an afterthought.
Contractual Genre Blindness: The players get this when they've been eliminated and it's time for their death scenes. Glaring example: the third elimination; the player in question knows he's been marked for death, the others are begging him not to go off alone, but he blows them off and leaves anyway.
Cowboy Episode: The episode in which the victim dies while horse-riding is stuffed with Western clichés and shout-outs.
Creator Cameo: The Killer's creepy, mechanical voice in the finale was done by the executive producer, Anthony E. Zuiker. He and fellow producer Cris Abrego — not to be confused with the contestant named Cris — also appeared as the cops who arrested the Killer.
Detective Mole: It's assumed the Killer is sabotaging the investigation. Downplayed, however, as everyone is sabotaging someone else's investigation to avoid being the next victim.
Double Entendre: At dinner after the sixth case, Giles tells the guests they're all gonna get "lei'd." They're having a luau.
Disproportionate Retribution: According to their first note, the killer chose their first victim because she dropped a wine glass during the meet-and-greet.
Dramatic Drop: One victim dramatically drops a bowl of breakfast cereal after receiving a threatening message from the Killer.
Eliminated From The Race: Players are judged by their ability to accurately determine how each murder took place; those who were furthest off the mark are in danger of being eliminated via becoming the next victim.
Elimination Statement: At the end of each episode after the first, the eliminated player whose "murder" was the focus of that episode delivers an elimination statement from the morgue (or equivalent, as in the case of the victim whose corpse spent the episode up a tree) while wearing their death scene make-up and costume.
Failed a Spot Check: Happens on occasion, such as when the players at the morgue missed the wooden splinters in Ulysses' wound. After the seventh case, the killer calls out the final five for missing a great deal of evidence and how it was unacceptable that late into the game, to the point where the idea of a second double murder may be on the table as a result.
Fair Play Whodunnit: Somewhat. The audience is presented with all the clues the players find, but each individual player is denied a share of the clues and must share information with others to get what they're missing. And if players miss certain clues entirely (as is the case in some late episodes), not even the audience is informed of them until the murder is explained at the end of the episode.
At the third case's end, it seems the two potential targets are gonna see another day... Then Don goes to cook his steak, and a mountain lion is released from a hidden passage...
Following the sixth case, Giles announces that the Killer has told him that nobody is going to die that night. Unfortunately for the victim, this was because the Killer intended to strike at 12:01 the next morning.
Hurricane of Puns: Giles and the Killer love to make puns based on the murder the players are investigating.
After Dontae was killed by burning, the episode was filled with fire puns up to and including "Dontae's inferno."
Ulysses was offed using "finishing" nails.
As Geno makes a toast, he becomes "toast".
Hysterical Woman: Some of the contestants, particularly Melina and Dana, get really emotional during the Spared or Scared ceremonies. At times they appear to have forgotten that they are playing a game, and seem to actually think they're going to be murdered.
I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Remarking on the public response to the series while introducing the season finale, Giles mentions that some viewers have asked if the failed contestants were really murdered. The Killer would be able to tell you, Giles says, but then he — or she — would have to kill you.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Lampshaded in the first episode, when one of the contestants compliments the Killer in making a heck of a shot in their first murder: yards away, through an open window, hitting square in the back of the neck, and with a slingshot.
The murder weapon in the fifth case was a simple 2x4 pulled from the floor of an abandoned hut with a pair of nails coated in poison nailed into it.
One also would have been used for the "luau" death — two rings fastened onto the ends of a kukui nut necklace; in the Killer's own words, a homemade choking device — but the intended victim went off track and forced the Killer to use an actual weapon. The Killer made sure to use it in a later murder for good measure.
Instant Sedation: In one episode, the Killer used the traditional chloroform-soaked rag to subdue the victim. And the other victim.
Jack of all Trades: The Killer demonstrates skill with a wide variety of weapons and devices.
Jerkass: Kam, particularly when he hopes that Sasha is the next one murdered even when he isn't also Scared, meaning he just wants her gone for the hell of it. His gloating after her demise just makes him look even worse.
Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold: As abrasive as Kam was, when he was approached by the opposing team to betray his own at Ulysses and Lindsey's expense, he refused to keep information from them, which would later result in him being scared instead of their primary target, Lindsey.Also, when his closest ally, Ulysses, was nominated alongside him, he seemed genuinely saddened that Ulysses would have to be eliminated if he wanted to continue in the game. Kam was never willing to betray his team, leading to its members being the final three contestants in the game.
After a small alliance forms of four players who refuse to share any of their information with the others/blatantly lie about whatever they find, the rest decide to close ranks and return the favor. This leads to members of the first group complaining about the others shutting them out in the exact same way they treated them.
Kam repeatedly talks about all of the people outside his alliance being 'lying backstabbers only out for themselves'... including immediately after he breaks a promise to help one of them, with no apparent sense of irony on his part.
Though, to be fair, Ronnie refused to adhere to his end of the deal by deceiving Geno and feeding him false information, when Kam told him to isolate Geno and not reveal anything. This would've allowed Ronnie to rejoin Geno if he figured out the riddle, whereas Kam wanted him to cut off all ties to Geno
After the mountain lion incident, Giles makes a point to state that the lion was shot with only a tranquilizer dart and is unhurt.
Likewise, the horseback murder makes a point of emphasizing that the horse was merely startled, and not physically harmed.
Nonindicative Name: Absolutely no focus was placed on figuring out the Killer's identity. Instead, it was all about how the murders were pulled off, making the mysteries "Howdunnits". Lampshaded in the final episode by one of the contestants.
One Steve Limit: The name "Cris" tripped some fans up. Cris Crotz (female) was one of the contestants. Cris Abrego (male) is one of the executive producers; he made a cameo appearance in the finale as one of the cops who arrested The Killer.
Open Secret: Don, a retired homicide detective, is one of several contestants with professional detective experience who lies about his occupation to the others. In his case, he's so obviously an old cop that nobody believes him for a moment.
Patron Saint: For bonus irony points, the Killer provided a medallion of Saint Agatha (patron of protection from flames) to the victim s/he intended to set on fire.
Plot Irrelevant Villain: Having one of the guests be the killer was completely irrelevant. The killer could have been someone outside of the players without the story or gameplay going through any significant changes.
Previously On: Every episode except the first and the last begins with a two-part previously-on; the first part recaps the premise of the series and is much the same each episode apart from updates of the murder montage, and the second part recaps the previous episode in detail. The last episode has a completely new previously-on recapping the entire season.
Read the Fine Print: In the season finale. In the last part of the puzzle challenge, Giles told the players to read the fine print on his employment contract to prove whether or not he was the Killer. One player didn't listen to that part, but he ended up winning anyway.
Red Herring: Naturally, these are all over the place. In most cases, the obvious cause of death is the wrong one.
Rhymes on a Dime: In the finale, The Killer spoke to the winner in rhyme. Obviously, it's a habit.
Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The Killer's murders are elaborate to the point that one player eventually thought that using a trained monkey could be a plausible explanation. (For the record, it wasn't, and he was so far off base with the trained monkey idea that he was the next victim.)
Self-Deprecation: In the description of Adrianna's death, Giles gets a mocking tone in his voice when he explains how she spent the night watching reality television. Bonus points for it being Rock Of Love, a show with the same production company as Whodunnit? (51 Minds)
The Strategist: Kam seems to be the primary one from the first season, forming alliances and solving many clues. It was one of the reasons he won.
Stuff Blowing Up: Early previews for the series particularly loved one shot of a fiery explosion. (This was later revealed to be Adrianna's golf cart.) We get another blast later on, as a victim is blown out of the hot tub. This was later revealed to be Ronnie.
Sublime Rhyme: Most of the Killer's clues are rhymes. The finale is stuffed to the gills with them.
The Summation: Following each investigation, each player gets to make one of these in the Library outlining their version of events. At the conclusion, they name their strongest suspect.
Tempting Fate: When Geno makes a pitch to Kam's team where they point out how they haven't been Scared yet, you just know they're asking for it.
In one episode, a clue in the murder weapon hunt requires contestants to find a flight of thirteen steps that the victim fled down, and the Killer's note says that in this case thirteen was unlucky for the victim.
Title Drop: "You have unmasked whodunnit." Giles then gives the winner a pair of golden handcuffs to arrest the Killer—coincidentally, "Golden Cuffs" was the name of the season finale.
What the Hell, Hero?: The killer mentions that one of the reasons that he killed Geno is that, by stealing Giles cell phone in an attempt to be spared (due to a note left by the killer), he proved that he was an unworthy adversary.
Wire Dilemma: One of the challenges in the season finale is a bomb with a blue and a red wire, which must be defused by cutting the wire that matches the color of a clue item from early in the season. One of the competitors never got to see that item, and doesn't recall anyone mentioning what color it was...