Murder, They Wrote: Six Sitcoms with Killer Whodunnit Episodes

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Nothing goes down smoother than an expertly shaped bottle episode of a sitcom. Add in a dash of murder mystery and you have a comedic cocktail to die for.

There’s a long legacy of shows entirely dedicated to solving mysteries—think Scooby-Doo; Murder, She Wrote; Columbo; and, most recently, Only Murders in the Building and Poker Face. But as a horror fan who has a dark sense of humor, I always loved when my favorite sitcoms got a Clue, taking a break from their traditional punchline proceedings to do some amateur detective work.

Recently, I channeled my hero Jessica Fletcher and went sleuthing for some of these killer episodes, hoping to bring justice to this particular subgenre of sitcom tropes. Find a selection of some of the best murder mystery episodes in recent history below. And watch them for yourself … if you dare!

3rd Rock from the Sun (“Dial M for Dick”)

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Where you can watch: Apple

If you’re unfamiliar with this ’90s sitcom from the dream husband-and-wife team Bonnie and Terry Turner (Wayne’s World, Coneheads, The Brady Bunch Movie, That ’70s Show), it follows a group of aliens (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, and French Stewart as Tom, Dick, Sally, and Harry Solomon) masquerading as an eccentric, but loveable Earth family. So you can imagine the chaos that ensues when this star-crossed crew ends up at a “whodunnit weekend.”

Yes, the Solomons wholeheartedly believe the murders they are “witnessing” are real. As a result, they take it upon themselves to make sure wine isn’t the only thing getting served. The end result is an absolute scream.

Saved by the Bell (“Mystery Weekend”)

Where to watch: Hulu

I remember watching “Mystery Weekend” on TBS in my tween years and immediately becoming obsessed with the ominous one-off. In fact, I’d dare to say it’s my favorite Saved by the Bell episode of all time.

“Mystery Weekend” has a pretty simple set-up: the kids from Bayside High are tasked with solving “a murder” at a spooky mansion that is a loving ripoff of Mr. Boddy’s not-so-humble abode. I won’t spoil any more of its twists and turns, but I will say this episode gives the oft-underused Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) a chance to show that she’s more than just a fashionable accessory … to murder!

The Golden Girls (“The Case of the Libertine Belle”)

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Where to watch: Hulu

Dorothy, Rose, Sophia, and Blanche get up to no good no matter where they go, but take them to a murder mystery weekend and these famous friends become fast foes. Well, for a few minutes anyway as detective novel fanatic Dorothy guesses the who, what, why, and how of it all before the end of the first night away.

Unfortunately for Blanche, someone commits a second murder later that evening—this time in her bedroom! Suddenly, Detective Dorothy is back on the case, while Rose (the self-proclaimed “Sherlock Holmes of St. Olaf”) plots revenge and Sophia commits a different kind of petty crime (“nobody in my family ever left a body to be found”).

Bob’s Burgers (“Hamburger Dinner Theater”)

Where to watch: Hulu

After a raucous night out at a local dinner theatre with her gal pals, the bold and bespectacled Linda Belcher gets the bright idea to bring some razzle dazzle to the family diner with an original production she dubs Dreamatorium.

Set in a morgue, Dreamatorium is a musical murder mystery show for the whole family—well, save for Bob who can’t stand how much Linda loves to randomly break into song. But how will he react when someone actually breaks into Bob’s Burgers during one show, bringing some literal drama to Linda’s low-budget, but high-energy theatrics?

King of the Hill (“Strangeness on a Train”)

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Where to watch: Hulu

This Season 12 episode begins as an homage to Murder on the Orient Express and Terror Train as Hill family matriarch Peggy drags her friends to a disco-themed murder mystery party on a train, complete with era-appropriate costumes and even a few special guests. But things quickly get off track as someone aboard spoils the game’s ending before it can even begin.

Good thing there ends up being a second case to solve as Peggy and Hank have to dodge allegations that they were the ones to have sex in the bathroom. Talk about getting caught in the act!

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (“Murder on the Halloween Express”)

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Where to watch: Hulu, Paramount+, or Pluto TV

In another train-set episode, Sabrina the Teenage Witch serves up an unexpected seasonal treat as the titular spell(wo)man accidentally books her mortal pals a one-way ticket to the Other Realm in a desperate attempt to get them excited about Halloween.

Without warning, the powers that be in the witch world transport the unsuspecting group back to the 1920s for an Agatha Christie-approved night of murder and mayhem, with Sabrina taking on the Hercule Poirot (or Benoit Blanc) role. If Sabrina doesn’t put the pieces together and fast, she and her friends will face a fate worse than death: playing along for all of eternity!

What are your fave murder mystery episodes? Share them with Emily at @emilygagne on Twitter.

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