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Mystery Episode

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Jake: [in German accent] Well, well, well. What do we have here? It appears a crime has been committed and no-one will confess.
Amy: Doing a German accent?
Jake: I was going for Belgian, like in Murder on the Orient Express.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, "Dillman"
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I hereby welcome you to the accusing parlor to discuss... the Mystery Episode.

The Mystery Episode is an episode where the characters attempt to solve a mystery. The mystery in question can be something as mundane as a stolen item to something as serious as murder. The characters will look for clues, make deductions, and finally finger a culprit. The consequences may be suitable for the crime, but not always.

As you'd expect, this only applies if the characters don't solve mysteries on a regular basis, so Detective Dramas and Police Procedurals will not be accepted. Sister trope to Noir Episode and Heist Episode. Thriller on the Express occurs when this happens on a train. And no, this does not refer to episodes that are so ambiguous you can't tell what show they're from.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One episode of Magi sees Sinbad being accused of raping Princess Kougyoku, but he has no memory of the night before, and thus the cast must determine what happened. It later turns out that Kougyoku's attendant put her and Sinbad together in Sinbad's bed, hoping to pressure Sinbad into marrying Kougyoku.
  • A filler episode of One-Punch Man has the S-class heroes having to solve the murder of fellow S-Class ZombieMan while staying at a hot spring. Bonus points for Child Emperor, who is doing the sleuthing here, being voiced by the same actor who did Conan Edogawa.
  • In one episode of Super Sonico The Animation, Sonico is found unconscious in a locked dressing room with her guitar missing. Her bandmates, unable to practice without her, team up with an amateur sleuth to try and track down the culprit. However, the sleuth's increasingly bizarre theories mean that by the time Sonico wakes up, they're no closer to solving the mystery and they've run out of time to practice, though they do at least find her guitar. The Stinger reveals that the sleuth knew all along who knocked Sonico out and why, and was Obfuscating Stupidity to stall for time so they wouldn't get in trouble.
  • Parodied in Heaven's Design Team. While the titular design team are having a vacation, they discover Mercury's body lying in a pool of blood with an ashtray on his head. Jupiter quickly takes it upon himself to investigate the "crime scene", even though Mercury is not dead. He wasn't even attacked by anyone—he simply collapsed from a hangover, and Shimoda put an ashtray on his head to protect it from being bitten by animals. Jupiter invokes the whole sleuthing act to distract the crew until the Angels have finished building the vacation villa they were preparing for the team (it's supposed to be a surprise).
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: The chapter "Remote Island Syndrome" sees the SOS Brigade stay overnight at an island villa belonging to Itsuki's distant relative, when their host is suddenly murdered in the middle of a storm and they scramble to find the killer. It all turns out to be a hoax, designed to keep them (and Haruhi in particular) entertained.
  • The My Hero Academia filler anime episode "Save the World With Love". The episode goes to a training exercise for the Superhero School students to defuse a Hostage Situation, before the situation changes to a locked-room murder mystery that they now have to solve...and then it turns out that the villain set that up so he could escape.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: “The Murder Mystery” is a whodunit spoof that finds humor in murder, Comedic Sociopathy, and Insurance Fraud.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: The Mystery Episode is parodied in Episode 42, in which Gohan, Trunks and Bulma investigate the sudden appearance of a derelict copy of Trunks's Time Machine. Gohan treats the experience as a fun mystery, trying to piece together the bizarre evidence to figure out how the Time Machine got there and what was inside.
    Trunks: Well, at least one of us is having fun with this.

    Literature 
  • "A Murder Case in the Area", one of the stories from the eighth volume of the Sword Art Online light novel, has Kirito and Asuna investigate two mysterious in-game murders. The murders seem impossible, because the victims have been killed with a safe zone where the game mechanics prevent player-killing. It turns out the "victims" have faked their deaths, to scare a third person into confessing to their role in an older murder. In the anime adaptation of Sword Art Online, the story was adapted into two episodes "Murder in the Safe Zone" and "Illusionary Avenger".
  • In the Milly, Molly book (and cartoon episode) "Sock Heaven", the girls try to figure out who stole Milly's dad's lucky sock.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Benson did this twice, both with two-part episodes:
    • "Death in a Funny Position" has the Governor and his staff staying on board a millionaire's yacht when the millionaire is murdered. Shortly afterward, another guest is also murdered leading to an escalating investigation. The millionaire turns out to have faked his death to commit the other murder.
    • "Reel Murder" has George Kennedy shooting a movie at the governor's mansion when the director is killed. Unfortunately, the mansion is snowbound as well, so the characters are trapped with the killer. The killer was a photographer covering the shoot who accidentally ended up on camera. He's in trouble with the mob who are said to be funding the movie.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine does this in "Dillman". Although the show is a sitcom about cops who solve crimes on a regular basis, not a lot of time is devoted to crime deductions. In this episode, however, many homages to the murder mystery genre abound when a prank gone wrong contaminates evidence on Jake's desk and nobody in the precinct admits to it, so Holt brings in a supposed Great Detective to solve the case. It's lampshaded as a Whodunnit multiple times, Jake tries to imitate Hercule Poirot's accent, and Boyle gets to do The Summation.
  • Downplayed for an episode of Bumble. Half the episode is about Peek playing detective trying to figure out who tore the page from a cookbook, the other half is about how to deal with the situation once it's revealed that it was Boo.
  • Community:
    • "Basic Lupine Urology" has the study group investigate when their science project is destroyed, threatening their biology grade. Doubles as a Parody Episode in that it's shot like Law & Order. It was Todd who broke the project, but it had earlier been sabotaged by Neil.
    • "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" involves an investigation into a local hoodlum called the Ass Crack Bandit, whose "crime" is inserting quarters into the butt cracks of Greendale students. Also a Parody Episode, this one of Zodiac. The culprit is never revealed, although a later episode implies that it's Annie.
  • Spoofed in the Frasier episode "Deathtrap". Frasier and Niles turn sleuth to investigate a skull they found in the floorboards in their childhood home, eventually telling the police that their landlord at the time murdered his wife. They realize too late that the skull was theirs, borrowed from their school's science storage for a backyard production of Hamlet.
  • Get Smart: One episode is about Max and 99 trying to figure out which person on a boat is the serial killer. The serial killer is known for making a tapping noise, but everyone on the boat makes a tapping noise.
  • The Goldbergs had the episode "Bevy's Big Murder Mystery Party" where Beverly and Adam organize a murder mystery party with Murray as the "victim". Unfortunately, Murray gets impatient and spoils who the "killer" is before he is "killed". Then a real mystery comes up when one guest is tricked into eating something he's allergic to and another guest's coat is bedazzled with a threatening message. The culprit is Murray who wanted to make up for ruining the previous mystery by giving them a new one.
  • The Golden Girls had an episode where they attend a Mystery Dinner Party with Blanche's boss. After Dorothy quickly solves the murder, Blanche's boss is killed for real and another investigation occurs. The killer was Blanche's coworker, but it turns out to be another game.
  • In the Leverage episode "The Ten Li'l Grifters Job", the team attends a mystery dinner party hosted by their latest mark, which turns into an actual murder mystery when the host winds up dead.
  • An episode of Married... with Children saw perennial loser Al Bundy become mistaken for a famous detective as he's trying to earn extra money for the family. He winds up getting framed for the theft of a titanic diamond by a group of rich clients (and murdering their patriarch but that's not important) and goes on the lamb for a bit trying to clear his name. In the end, his intricate knowledge of cheap shoes allows him to finger the real culprit and be awarded a massive reward for recovering the diamond, as well as the fawning attention of an attractive heiress. Too bad it was All Just a Dream.
  • M*A*S*H episode "I Hate a Mystery". There have recently been a series of thefts around camp. The missing items are found in Hawkeye Pierce's locker, forcing him to find the real thief in order to clear his name. He has a PA announcement made that the items are in a specific location, and the real thief steals them again. Hawkeye then arranges a Summation Gathering where he tricks the thief into revealing himself using a form of Bluffing the Murderer.
  • Modern Family episode "Wine Weekend". After Haley's boss' tiara is damaged, clueless Manny fancies himself quite the detective. This is obviously Played for Laughs as the investigation only uncovers the family's hilarious activities during that night they had wanted to keep secret (e.g. Cam and Phil's hip-hop dancing).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the episode "A Matter of Perspective", Riker is accused of murdering a scientist, and the crew must prove his innocence.
    • One early episode is about finding out why some characters (first Worf, then Dr. Crusher, then Picard) are seeming possessed and who sabotaged something on the Enterprise. Data even impersonates Sherlock Holmes.
    • Zigzagged in "Remember Me", where Dr. Crusher seems to be investigating the disappearances of the crew, but the crew think she's gone. It turns out that Crusher was in another universe.
    • "Clues" is about the Enterprise crew trying to solve the mystery of why there's evidence towards them having been unconscious for a day as opposed to thirty seconds like Data claimed.
    • "The Drumhead" is about investigating a saboteur and Picard dealing with an overzealous judge who suspects Worf for being a Klingon and some other guy for being part-Romulan.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • One episode is about figuring out who killed a scientist, with Tom Paris being falsely accused.
    • Another episode is about Janeway and her crew trying to determine who killed a Red Shirt, with the prime suspects being Suder and Lt. Carrey.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun has an unusual application. Mary and the Solomons attend a Mystery Dinner Party, but the Solomons (being aliens) are unfamiliar with the concept and assume the murder was real. Dick conducts his own investigation which really throws the game off the rails.
  • Victorious: The episode "Who Did it to Trina" had Trina getting injured when her harness breaks during a school play. Sabotage is suspected and all the main characters are suspects. They all give differing accounts of what happened, each pointing the finger at someone else. Eventually it's revealed that Rex is behind it, having sabotaged the harness after she slapped him.
  • The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Bleak Island". James West goes to a storm-wracked island to retrieve a priceless diamond from the estate of its deceased owner. When someone is murdered and the diamond is stolen, West must deduce which of the other people present is responsible.

    Music 
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince had a song on Homebase titled "Who Stole the D.J?" The song casts Fresh Prince as a police detective assigned to find a kidnapped nightclub disc jockey.

    Video Games 
  • The second visit to Halloween Town in Kingdom Hearts II involves a thief going around stealing Christmas presents from Santa Claus, and then Dr. Finkelstein's Experiment. Jack is considered the primary suspect, and ends up leading the case to catch the thief and prove his innocence. At the end, the thief is revealed to be the missing Experiment, who was created without a Heart, and was seeking one out for itself.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In "Mystery of the Missing Hi-Tops", Sonic's iconic red sneakers get stolen when Sonic stays at a hotel during a festival being thrown in his honor. Since Sonic's sneakers are friction-proof, his feet literally burn up if he tries running without them. Because Sonic can no longer run at his usual supersonic speeds until he finds his sneakers, he and Tails turn to detective work to figure out who stole them.
  • Adventure Time had a few of these, including:
    • The aptly named "Mystery Train", which involves solving murder mysteries on a train on Finn's 13th birthday.
    • "The Creeps", which has a Clue-like set-up and centers around a haunting and murder mystery.
    • "Ghost Princess", which centers around solving Ghost Princess's murder.
    • "BMO Noire", which doubles as a Noir Episode, centers around BMO trying to solve the mystery of Finn's missing sock.
  • American Dad!: The episode "Death By Dinner Party" has a serial killer picking off guests at the Smith family's dinner party and Roger trying to find out who the murderer is.
  • In "Avatar Day" from Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Gaang encounter a village of people who hate the Avatar because they blame one of Aang's past reincarnations, Avatar Kyoshi, for killing their leader, Chin the Great. Sokka and Katara try to investigate that Aang is innocent. In the end, after Aang dresses up as Kyoshi, she manifests through his body and tells the truth about what really happened. She confesses that she did indeed kill him, as when she separated the peninsula from the mainland to protect her people, Chin the Great was standing on a collapsing rock, and as he didn't move away, he fell to his death. The villagers still consider Aang guilty and decide to punish him by boiling him in oil, until Aang saves them from the Fire Nation and turn it into a celebration day.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers once had the Planeteers go to San Francisco to find out why several locals came down with several forms of food poisoning at once. Overlaps with Noir Episode because Ma-Ti is reading a pulp detective novel and imagining himself as a detective working the case. The culprit? The locals ate at a seafood restaurant run by Verminous Skumm who has been deliberately harvesting the fish from heavily polluted waters.
  • Ducktales 1987 had an episode where Scrooge is framed for stealing a painting and sent to prison. Huey, Dewey, and Louie launch an investigation to prove his innocence. They succeed in proving Flintheart Glomgold framed him and get him released.
  • Family Guy: The episode Family Guy S 9 E 1 And Then There Were Fewer is an Homage to Agatha Christie. It starts off with the main characters being invited to a dinner at a mansion. The host is revealed to be James Woods, who wants to make amends for everything he's done to them. The guests are suspicious of him and things get worse when people start dying. The bridge to the mansion gets destroyed forcing the guests to stay there and figure out who the killer is.
  • King of the Hill: The episodes "Hanky Panky" and "High Anxiety" were about solving the death of Debbie Grund, one of Hank's coworkers and Mr. Strickland's mistress. The suspects include Mr. Strickland, Strickland's wife, and Debbie's roommate. Hank even believed he may have done the deed at one point, as he had a bad reaction to some Marijuana he smoked and thought it may have erased his memory. In the end, it's revealed that Debbie accidentally shot herself with her own gun that she was planning to use on Mr. Strickland and his wife.
  • Little Princess:
    • "I Want My Crayons" is about the Princess trying to figure out how her crayons disappeared. Being four years old, her investigation methods consist of simply searching and asking everyone she encounters if they stole them, then simply going, "OK, let me know if you find them" when they tell her no.
    • In "I Want to Be a Detective", the Princess plays detective to figure out who took her cookies she helped make.
  • The Loud House:
    • Parodied in "Sleuth or Consequences?" where Lincoln and Lucy investigate to figure out who clogged the toilet.
    • In "Crimes of Fashion", Leni gets fired from her job at Reininger's because Ms. Carmichael accused her of stealing scarves from her store's inventory. Lincoln and Clyde, as their favorite comic book superheroes Ace Savvy and One-Eyed Jack, take the case to clear Leni's name. In the end, it is revealed that Ms. Carmichael's young son was the one who took the scarves to use as superhero capes.
    • In "Recipe For Disaster", Mr. Loud's cookbook has gone missing. Lincoln and Clyde take the case as Ace Savvy and One-Eyed Jack. They suspect Mildred Scalise, owner of Frosty Farms Frozen Feast of stealing the cookbook due to the recipes of Frosty Farms being exactly the same as Mr. Loud's. In the end, it is revealed that Mildred was actually Mr. Loud's home-ec teacher back in middle school, and she was the one who taught him those recipes. It is also revealed that Leni took Mr. Loud's cookbook and tried to return it to the library because she mistook it, Lucy's poetry book, and Lola's diary for library books.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "MMMystery on the Friendship Express", someone takes a bite out of a cake that was meant for a contest, then later more people take bites out of more dishes meant for the same contest, and Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle try to figure out who it was.
    • In the episode "Rarity Investigates!", Rarity tries to clear up Rainbow Dash’s name after it looked like she faked a letter to get Spitfire to leave for a family emergency and take her place in the aerial show.
  • Martha Speaks: The episode "Martha Takes the Cake" is about figuring out who took a bite out of Alice Boxwood's birthday cake (swallowing a candle too). It turns out to have been Nelson, since he coughed up the candle, but the strange thing is, there were crumbs on Martha, so it's unknown how they got there.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The "Who Shot Mr. Burns" two-parter. Burns is shot at the end of part one and part two focuses on the investigation. It turns out he was shot by Maggie Simpson while he was trying to steal a lollipop from her.
    • "Bart of Darkness" had a "Rear Window" Homage involving Bart and Lisa, who thought Ned Flanders killed Maude.
    • "Krusty Gets Busted" has Bart and Lisa proving Krusty's innocence when he's framed for robbing the Kwik-e-Mart.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • "Patty Caper" has a missing secret ingredient for the Krabby Patty formula go missing, and SpongeBob has to find out who took it before Mr. Krabs finds out. It turns out that Mr. Krabs himself stole the ingredient to avoid paying the delivery fee.
    • The two-part special "The Great Patty Caper" (not to be confused with "Patty Caper") has SpongeBob and Patrick board a train to a bank where the Krabby Patty secret recipe is help. When the key to the bank goes missing, the episode becomes a parody of train mysteries as they investigate the other patrons to see who stole the key. Several patrons (including a butler) turn out to be the culprits of other crimes, but the key thief is soon revealed to be Plankton, predictably enough.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny" saw Babs and Buster attempting to discover who kidnapped Bugs Bunny and stole his Shloscar award, as well as clearing Daffy Duck's name.
    • "Citizen Max", an homage to Citizen Kane saw Hamton attempting to uncover how Montana Max won the election for Looniversity Student Council president.

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