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Series / The Murder Game

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"Are you coming out to play?"

The Murder Game is a British murder-mystery themed reality/game show based on the format of the US show Murder In Small Town X. It ran for a single season in 2003.

Ten contestants play the role of "special investigators" attempting to solve the murder of Catherine Prior, brutally stabbed in a church while preparing for her sister's wedding. Each episode, the investigators search for evidence and interact with actors filling the roles of the suspects and other people involved in the case; doing well in the investigation earns an investigator a "pass" which reduces their risk of being eliminated at the end of the episode. Each episode, two people are selected to play "the Killer's Game", with one surviving to continue the investigation and the other being "killed", supposedly after a run-in with the murderer.

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In the final episode, the field has been narrowed to two investigators and two suspects, and the investigator who correctly identifies the murderer wins the game.

This series provides examples of:

  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Used to keep the suspense going. Several suspects, including the last to be eliminated before the endgame, turn out to have solid alibis that they neglected to mention earlier either because they didn't want to explain what they were up to or just because it slipped their mind in the excitement.
  • Big Secret: At least one of the suspects lies about their whereabouts during the murder because what they were really doing would have got them in trouble of a different kind.
  • Chase Scene:
    • There's a car chase in an early episode.
    • The final episode has two gratuitous chase scenes, involving boats and motorcycles, one for each of the remaining suspects.
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  • Confession Cam: The investigators' HQ is equipped with a sound-proofed room which is used during elimination voting and in the final episode when the surviving contestants lay out their answers to the mystery, but also throughout the series for confession cam monologues.
  • Creepy Crows: There's one in the title card at the beginning and end of each episode.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The murderer engages in this, leaving taunting messages and clues for the investigators.
  • Da Chief: Retired real-life homicide detective Bob Taylor plays this role for the investigators. He's a Reasonable Authority Figure, but with a good line of snark when an investigator lets the side down.
  • Enhance Button: Used to determine where the kidnapper's ransom video was filmed.
  • Facecam: People sent out to play the Killer's Game are equipped with one to capture their reactions.
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  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: One of the locations for the Killer's Game is Dead End Farm.
  • Laser Sight: During the stand-off with the kidnapper, the kidnapper uses one.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: Used at various points when the murderer is lurking around the investigators, distinguished by being green-tinted night-vision footage. (Most of the lurking happens at night, but there's at least one occurrence that happens in broad daylight but is still green-tinted so the audience is in no doubt about who it is.)
  • Never One Murder: One of the suspects is done in by the real murderer about halfway through after being too helpful to the investigation. Not to mention all those eliminated investigators...
  • Previously On…: Used in each episode after the first to recap the most recent progress of the investigation and remind the audience how many contestants and suspects are left.
  • Sand Bridge at Low Tide: A plot point relating to the alibi of a suspect who lives on an island.
  • Tentative Light: During the final Killer's game, one of the contestants' flashlights fails. Possibly not intended, but played for all it's worth anyway.

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