Fans still grieving the quiet cancellation of Hallmark‘s “Mystery 101” franchise have something new to look forward to. At the most recent Christmas Con fan convention, held in Kansas City from June 8-10, 2023, actor Kristoffer Polaha revealed that plans are in the works for a new mystery movie that he thinks “Mystery 101” fans will love, according to People.
Polaha starred in seven “Mystery 101” movies opposite Jill Wagner, but Hallmark unceremoniously announced the franchise’s cancellation in a social media exchange with one of the series’ fans in April.
“So we all know that ‘Mystery 101’ is officially dead,” Polaha told the crowd during a panel discussion, and then shared what he could about the new mystery he’ll be part of, which is just one of the things keeping him very busy this year.
Kristoffer Polaha is Juggling Multiple TV & Film Projects
When Polaha reiterated to Christmas Con attendees that “Mystery 101″ won’t return, People reported, he told the audience, “You know, stories come and stories go. But I will say that I am extraordinarily proud of something that I’m working on right now that is in the pipeline.”
He continued, “The button was sort of paused when the writers’ strike happened, but there’s a new mystery on the table that I’ll be able to bring to you guys.”
People reported that Polaha also revealed during his Christmas Con panel that his 2022 Lifetime movie with Angie Harmon, called “Buried in Barstow,” might become a series, too.
“Angie’s (production) company is working on turning it actually into a series,” he told the audience. “So there’s a whole conversation happening right now. You guys turned out for it. For whoever didn’t turn out for it, it did really well for a Lifetime, and they’re wanting to take that property and extend it. So yeah, there’s something.”
In addition to those projects, Polaha will star this holiday season in “A Biltmore Christmas,” a Hallmark movie he filmed with Bethany Joy Lenz in January. He’s also filmed a starring role in a sci-fi feature film called “The Shift” from executive producer Dallas Jenkins, who also created “The Chosen.” According to IMDb, it’s slated for a January 2024 release.
How & When Did ‘Mystery 101’ Get Canceled?
On April 23, Hallmark posted a photo of Polaha on its official Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Facebook page to promote the “Mystery 101” marathon that was airing that day. When a viewer commented how much she loved the franchise, the team behind the Facebook account replied and revealed the cancellation news.
“We loved making ‘Mystery 101’ and we’re so glad you enjoyed sleuthing along with us,” the message read. “We want to let you know that our talented sleuths have solved the last mystery and are off the case. In the coming weeks and months there are exciting new mysteries on the way that we know you’ll love!”
The next day, Polaha confirmed the news by tweeting, “Well kids, looks like the cat’s out of the bag. #Mystery101 has solved its last mystery. You are the most incredibly supportive fans ever! We LOVE you! @JillWagner @robinthomas101 & I had the most amazing time entertaining you by bringing Travis, Amy, & Graham to life. But…😉”
The news came as a huge surprise to fans, especially given that screenwriter John Christian Plummer told TV Shows Ace in September 2022 that a concept for the eighth installment of the “Mystery 101” series was ready to go and that he was simply waiting for the green light from Hallmark.
During an Instagram Live session on April 30 with Wagner, Polaha said, “We kind of knew in September 2021 when they started moving the goalposts as to when we were going to film number eight. There was never really a date, but there was always hope.”
Wagner said she liked the cliffhanger of the seventh — and what wound up being the final — episode because it “got people thinking,” but said she “never in a million years thought that this series would end like that. I was shocked that Hallmark allowed the series to end like that but, you know, it’s not my network. I mean, I’m just an actor.”
After agreeing that their characters would have likely run off to Fiji and become independently rich in a final episode, Polaha said, “I’ve had seven TV shows that have all come and gone and they were all great and there’s no reason why any of them got canceled, because we had (good) ratings and critics liked them. But, like, we both know the business — it’s just kind of what happens.”
While viewers wait to find out more about Polaha’s new project, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries hopes sleuthers will keep diving into its other franchises. Alison Sweeney and Cameron Mathison have been filming a new “Hannah Swensen Mystery” this month, following the May premiere of their first movie together in two years. The newest movie will likely premiere before the end of summer.
In June, Hallmark also premiered “The Dancing Detective: Deadly Tango” starring Will Kemp and Lacey Chabert, who have both said they hope will become a new mystery franchise for the network.