Having debated favourite mystery books and films, an internet group I belong to started discussing favourite mystery TV shows. The first favourite that sprang to my mind was Columbo. I adore that show and am currently enjoying reruns on TV. I was late to the party, as ever, and saw that someone had already mentioned Columbo - and been told in no uncertain terms that it didn’t qualify as a mystery because viewers knew exactly whodunnit and why.
I didn’t argue, I’m far too polite, but I disagree with that. Viewers know whodunnit, they know why the deed was done and they know Columbo will soon have the culprit brought to justice. They don’t, however, know how Columbo will solve the mystery.
I read on and saw that many people’s favourite mystery shows were unknown to me. I’m a Brit, as you might guess from the funny spelling (I can spell favourite the wrong way, truly :)), and there are dozens of shows, hugely popular in the States, that simply don’t make it over here. (If anyone over the pond wants a house guest, I’d be no trouble. Just sit me down in front of the TV…) Columbo travelled well, thank goodness. In fact, hardly a day goes by when an old Columbo isn’t shown on British TV.
Here are some of my other favourites:
I just loved Robbie Coltrane as the chain-smoking, gambling, whisky drinking forensic psychologist in Cracker.
Lots of clues to be found on dead bodies in Silent Witness. Love this show - and it has nothing to do with Tom Ward. Nothing at all.
The Killing (Danish version) with the amazing Sarah Lund.
And, of course, the Swedish Wallander. I could watch this show over and over and I'm sure I'll read Henning Mankell's books again.
So what’s your favourite TV mystery show? And what about Columbo? Does it qualify as a mystery or not? I say it does.