It’s been two years since Hallmark actor Brennan Elliott last starred in a mystery movie for the network — the fifth installment of the popular “Crossword Mysteries” franchise with Lacey Chabert — but there’s good news for sleuthers who’ve been eagerly awaiting his return.
Elliott revealed on the March 15, 2023 episode of Hallmark Mysteries & More podcast that he’s developing a new mystery franchise with Hallmark. And while some fans might be disappointed that he and Chabert don’t plan to reunite for another “Crossword Mysteries” movie in the near future, the star didn’t rule out a possible reunion down the line.
The news comes on the eve of Elliott’s 48th birthday on March 24, 2023, and soon after receiving good news in earlier in March that his wife, Camilla Rowe, showed no signs of disease after undergoing surgery for stomach cancer.
Brennan Elliott Shares Status of ‘Crossword Mysteries’
In addition to his traditional Hallmark Channel romances and his recent drama, December 2022’s “The Gift of Peace” with Nikki DeLoach, Elliott has appeared in multiple Hallmark Movies & Mysteries titles. In 2016, he starred in three “Flower Shop Mystery” movies opposite Brooke Shields, and he co-starred with Chabert in five “Crossword Mystery” films between 2019 and 2021, with Elliot portraying Detective Logan O’Connor and Chabert as crossword puzzle editor Tess Harper.
Elliott revealed on the podcast he was surprised that the “Flower Shop” series ended after three movies, and still isn’t sure why it was given the ax. He added that when he and Chabert were filming “Crossword Mysteries: Riddle Me Dead,” they didn’t expect the production would be their last.
“At the time, I thought it was just our fifth movie,” he said. “We were supposed to do three or four more.”
Before the title premiered in April 2021, he told TV Fanatic, “What we’re doing is working, and the fans love it, so we just try to take our foot off the gas and trust the fans are loving what we’re doing and try to keep bringing good content to the fans.”
Elliot said that, looking back two years later, he’s glad his and Chabert’s characters’ long-awaited kiss in “Riddle Me Dead” gave fans a sense of closure.
“Now I look at it and go, ‘Okay, if we’re not gonna do anymore, that was good,'” he said. “That was a great way to end it because we finally had the kiss, we finally got connected, and our characters obviously expressed their feelings for each other through that moment.”
Elliott said the “Crossword Mysteries” franchise may be “finished” for now, given that Chabert just filmed a second “Dancing Detective” movie with Will Kemp. But he suggested the series could continue with the police department hiring Harper, so “we could actually be a team on every single case.”
“I thought that (idea) would have been really great and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like (it will continue),” he said, pointing to Chabert’s new franchise with Kemp. “Look, it’s beyond my pay grade, we might do more down the road, I don’t know.”
Elliott said he’s still “dear friends” with Chabert despite not working together the last couple of years.
“We’ll see what the future holds,” he said. “I can see why the fans want it, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to bring them some more content together.”
Brennan Elliott Says He’s Developing New Mystery Franchise With Hallmark
Even if “Crossword Mysteries” doesn’t continue, Elliott said he has other projects in the works, including developing his own mystery franchise with Hallmark.
He told the Hallmark Mysteries & More podcast, “I’ve pitched a couple of ideas over the years to them and there’s one that we’re working on now, possibly. My own franchise.”
Elliott added that he’d like to develop a franchise “from the beginning,” and hire the writers, oversee the storylines, and even direct. He said bringing it to fruition has been “slow-moving, but I’m excited about it … we’re just locking (it) down.”
While he didn’t share specific details, Elliott revealed he wants the movies to be “out of the box” and “a little different” from the typical murder mystery whodunit. He added that Hallmark execs have “been really open” to his ideas.
“They’re like, ‘What do you wanna do?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, let’s discuss it. Let’s collaborate,'” he said of his discussion with Hallmark. “‘What do the fans want? What is something they want to see that maybe we aren’t doing?’ You know, we’re in a culture now where we have diversity — I’m talking diverse content — and there’s an audience for everything.”
He continued, “If we just can execute it right, I think it can be a success and hopefully we get three, four or five like we did with ‘Flower Shop’ or ‘Crossword’ and extend it across a number of years and make it a real franchise.”
As for finding the perfect co-star, Elliott said, “There’s nobody I won’t work with. I am excited to see what the future holds because there’s so many that I haven’t worked with and there’s such a new breed of actors coming in, too. So yeah, the future looks hopeful.”
In December, Elliott posted a photo on Instagram of himself on the phone while sitting in a restaurant booth. In the caption, he wrote that his wife took the photo as he was “trying to finalize a deal,” and that “behind every hustle is an even better hustler!”
He wrote, “Ahh when your better half at lunch thinks it’s funny to catch you on the phone trying to finalize a deal you’ve been working on in secret for a long time!”
Elliott has been juggling work — appearing in three Hallmark movies in 2022, per The List — with caring for Rowe, who was diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2018. A recurrence in early 2022 led to a stage 4 diagnosis and multiple surgeries, including one in early March that resulted in good news that her cancer is in remission again.
To celebrate Elliott’s March 24 birthday, Rowe posted a tribute to her husband on her private Instagram page.
“I thank God for blessing me with an amazing partner,” she wrote. “I knew he was everything and more when I married him, but I have been impressed time and time again with his heart. His love for others and this world, despite what he has lost and sacrificed. Thank you for being you.”