SoapLand - The Battle Of The Whodunits: The Result

Discussion in 'SoapLand - The Battles' started by Willie Oleson, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    upload_2018-1-14_22-15-58.png
    All our favourite prime time soaps had at least one mystery crime.
    My initial idea was to create a battle for the murder mysteries, but then I decided that it would be more fun to expand the topic with attempted murder mysteries, mystery stalkers, mystery kidnappers, mystery thiefs etc.
    Those creepy stalkers often ended up being murderers anyway.

    The only rule: they didn't show whodunit. We could suspect, but we couldn't know for sure.
    It has to be a mystery for the audience and the characters.

    upload_2018-1-14_22-7-47.png

    When all the votes are in, we'll gather in the living room and expose our favourite culprit.

     
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  2. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I'm confused. Maybe there are examples I haven't thought of, but isn't it a general rule of soap operas that if they present us with a whodunit scenario that they also, sooner or later, resolve it and tell us whodunit? Movies may occasionally leave us wondering but soap operas rarely, if ever, did. Maybe there are exceptions to this I haven't thought of, but this is my gut reaction to this clause.
     
  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Dear Richard:), I meant before the mystery is resolved. Therefore, no "Columbo" scenarios.
     
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  4. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps he meant that we didn't know from the beginning who did it.

    The Columbo movie series was unique in that we saw the criminal commit the crime in the opening scenes, and the remainder of the movie consisted of Lt. Columbo finding clues, making assumptions, asking a lot of uncomfortable questions--and solving the crime in the final few minutes, while the villain sought to thwart him at every turn. In our world, such a situation might be the non-mystery of whether Val's babies had died or not on Knots Landing. We knew from the outset that they had been taken from her.
     
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  5. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Aha! Ok, I thought the very nature of a whodunit is that they didn't show whodunit, otherwise it wouldn't be a whodunit!
     
  6. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This one is not as easy as "one obvious choice, followed by four runners-up". Especially when I will actively avoid mentioning the obvious one. o_O I'll leave that to everyone else!

    1. Who killed Jill Bennett? (KL) Their best "death" mystery, mostly because they gave us several logical suspects...and an even more logical and well-written resolution.

    2. Who killed Danny Waleska? (KL) Foxy Brown and Stan Zbornak couldn't solve the case in a timely enough fashion; by the time it was all figured out, we'd lost our deposit on the marching band we'd hired for the celebratory parade.

    3. Who killed Carlo Agretti? (FC) Very well written, with lots of twists and turns and long-lasting effects on the fabric of the show.

    4. Who was stalking Karen MacKenzie? (KL) Not a murder mystery, but creepy enough to hold my interest. Unlike her kidnapping (which nonetheless deserves an honorable mention), this mystery gave us the suspects ahead of time and built up the action over several episodes. Lost points for the blink-and-you-missed-it resolution, though.

    5. Who killed Mary-Frances? (KL) Unlike the murders of villains, this story hit hard because Mary Frances's life seemed so sweet and uncomplicated when she died. The eventual revelations behind her demise made it much more than just a random shooting.
     
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  7. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    1. Who Killed Carlo Agretti? (Falcon Crest S2)
    2. Who Killed Roger Grimes? (Dynasty S9)
    3. Who Kidnapped LB Colby? (Dynasty S3)
    4. Who Set Fire To Steven's Cabin? (Dynasty S3)
    5. Who Killed Michael Tyrone? (Flamingo Road S2)
     
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  8. Jock Og

    Jock Og Soap Chat Active Member

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    1) Who shot JR? – DALLAS
    2) Who bludgeoned Carlo Agretti? – FALCON CREST
    3) Who shot Bobby? – DALLAS
    4) Who bombed Richard’s mansion? – FALCON CREST
    5) Who killed Roger Grimes? - DYNASTY


    Richard visits FC to invite Angela and Chao-Li to a conference, at which he claims the person responsible for his mansion's explosion will be revealed, (a scene from season 5, 1985-'86):

    Angela and Chao-Li are in the foyer, with Richard.

    Angela: "Well if this is an invitation to your little carnival forget it!"

    Richard: "Oh now. I've already talked to Lance. He is going to be there. I hope you can come and bring him along too."

    Chao-Li stares at Richard with those beady eyes.

    Richard: "I want all my loved ones in attendance. It is getting late. I will let you know the time. Oh and it wouldn't hurt to bring your attorney too."

    He grins at them and then leaves.

    Angela looks at her watch and then at Chao-Li who is at the bottom of the stairs.
     
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  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    1. Who Shot JR?
    Dallas (Seasons 2-3)
    [​IMG]

    While I really wanted to go for a less obvious top choice, I couldn't in all honesty do it. This - the standard by which all other TV whodunits are measured - was pure lightning in a bottle. It's impossible to watch what's onscreen without feeling part of something big, fuelled by the legendary offscreen backstory which, even having heard it so often for so long, still feels exciting: the order of additional episodes (immediately following another major mystery, by the way - Who Killed Hutch McKinney?); the frustrated off the cuff blurted suggestion to "just shoot the bastard"; the writers' strike leading to a prolonged hiatus; Larry's contract negotiations. Off the back of the phenomenon, one can taste the excitement of all involved in those opening episodes of Season Three. It's the stuff of legend.




    2. Who Killed Ciji?
    Knots Landing (Seasons 4-5)
    [​IMG]

    Like Dynasty's Roger Grimes skein, this one scores for finally using all the show's characters to maximum potential. And for making me think - even briefly - that Val actually could have committed murder. The suspects' motives were plausible and I appreciate how each implied motive played into the characters' idiosyncrasies and weaknesses: Richard's insecurity; Gary's alcoholism and womanising; Abby's ambition; Val's love at all costs for Gary; Chip's duplicity. The approach was typically Knotsian. It's like the powers that be weren't even bothered if you guessed whodunit because knowing is just going to add another layer to what's really important - the character-driven responses to the situation. It's a reason why this one only gets more interesting with each rewatch.




    3. Who Killed Roger Grimes?
    Dynasty (Season 9)
    [​IMG]

    Perhaps the most atmospheric of all the whodunits. In many ways it's the complete opposite of Who Shot JR?… but in a good way: a carefully crafted, season-long story that picked up the threads of all the main players going back to the series' prehistory and tied them together intrinsically and irrevocably. When I think of this story I think of long shadows, crackling fireplaces, hidden tunnels; assignations by moonlight; intense conversations in hushed tones. Not only is it gorgeous, it's satisfyingly twisty.




    4. Who Killed Jill Bennett?
    Knots Landing (Season 10)
    [​IMG]

    For the reasons given by Daniel above. Particularly satisfying for the inclusion of vomit in a genre that usually glosses over its characters' bodily functions.




    5. Who Shot Bobby?
    Dallas (Seasons 6-7)
    [​IMG]

    It has "sequel-by-numbers" written all over it, but I have to include this one for a less than objective reason: it's the story that got me hooked as a regular Dallas viewer. Even though I'd worked out who did it (and bear in mind I was still in primary school), the reveal felt genuinely exciting - and still does when I rewatch. It may not have been as raw, original or impactful as the storyline it was replicating, but the glossy, slick and fun approach works just as well.






    I did want to include the body in the Southfork pool, but that was more of a Whogotdun.
     
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  10. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    I must admit that I felt slightly uncomfortable for omitting this legendary whodunit from my list.
    Not because I thought it would jeopardize the final ranking, or because they did it first (in a 70s prime time soap genre), or because of the global hype it caused - but simply because it is a great whodunit.
    Unfortunately I've never had the pleasure to experience it as a whodunit, although I do remember singing along to a translated version of the "Who Shot JR?" novelty hit.
    I had no idea who it was, maybe I just liked the song.

    There's something eerie about the shooting of Bobby Ewing, but ironically it feels eerie from the shooter's point of view.
    The closed offices, the silence, shadows, and then that chair with its future vicim...or is it? Who or what is in that chair? It seems to embody a disadvantage, an unnerving surprise to the shooter although I'm not sure why.
     
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  11. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    1. Who killed Carlo Agretti? FALCON CREST (including the reveal which lead to one of the greatest "who was killed" cliffhangers)
    2. Who shot JR? DALLAS
    3. Who killed Michael Tyrone FLAMINGO ROAD? (I know he didn't really die but it was still a great mystery)
    4. Who killed Ciji? KNOTS LANDING
    5. Who shot Bobby DALLAS
     
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  12. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Obvious one for me:

    1. Who shot JR?
    2. Who shot Bobby?
    3. Who killed Kristin?
     
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  13. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    1. Who killed Carlo Agretti - FALCON CREST
    2. Who Shot Bobby - DALLAS
    3. Who killed Ciji - KNOTS LANDING
    4. Who was stalking Karen MacKenzie - KNOTS LANDING
    5. Who Killed Jill Bennett - KNOTS LANDING
     
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  14. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    [​IMG]

    And who is not getting away with it?
    Here's our list of favourite soap-whodunits:

    1. Who Killed Carlo Agretti? - 22 points.

    2. Who Shot JR Ewing? - 17 points.

    3. Who Shot Bobby Ewing? - 11 points.

    4. Who Killed Ciji? - 9 points.

    5. Who Killed Roger Grimes? - 8 points.

    Congratulations, Falcon Crest![​IMG]
     
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  15. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Damn, I was gonna vote tonight. Too late I guess.
     
  16. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    [​IMG]

    I thought this topic warranted a surprise reveal:lol:
     
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