Actor and screenwriter Paul Campbell has been part of some of Hallmark‘s most successful movies over the years, including co-writing and co-starring in 2022’s smash hit, “Three Wise Men and a Baby.” But he says his latest character — quirky, amateur detective Alden Case in “The Cases of Mystery Lane” — was his “dream role” and one he hopes he’ll get to keep stepping into.
With his most recent Hallmark projects, Campbell, 43, has been given more and more freedom to show his comedic side and dive into more complex scripts than in years past. In a recent interview with TV Insider, the actor said that he’s long aspired to play a role like former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Andy Sandburg did, playing an affable New York detective, in the long-running series “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
When Campbell received the script for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original “The Cases of Mystery Lane,” which premiered on March 19, 2023, he said it “was everything you could possibly want.”
“When I read this,” he said of the script, “I was like, ‘This is it. They’re giving me a shot.'”
Paul Campbell Said Mystery Script Was Among the Best He’s Ever Read
As a successful screenwriter, Campbell pays close attention to the nuances of scripts Hallmark sends his way to act in, and he says the one for “The Cases of Mystery Lane” thrilled him.
“The script is one of the best scripts that I’ve ever read at Hallmark, and I don’t say that lightly,” he told TV Insider. “The writers are new to Hallmark. The script was originally written for broadcast TV, for network. It was written as a pilot and didn’t end up going forward and then Hallmark bought it.”
“It’s quirky and it’s silly and it’s clever,” he continued, “and the relationship between the two leads is wonderful. They’re real characters. There’s humanity. It was everything you could possibly want, plus disguises, fake mustaches. I mean, you can’t go wrong.”
In the movie, which will air again via Hallmark this week and is available to stream on Peacock, Campbell plays the husband of successful attorney Birdie Case, played by Hallmark newcomer Aimee Garcia. She has appeared in multiple Lifetime movies but is best known for her roles in the Netflix series “Lucifer” and Showtime’s “Dexter.” When Campbell’s character Alden can’t settle on a career path and secretly takes a class on private investigating, he gets tangled up in a murder investigation that he hides from his wife, only to learn she might have the key to unlocking the mystery.
In a recent interview with Digital Journal, Garcia echoed Campbell’s sentiments about the script, written by Joel Dovev and Margaux Froley, who are married and based the characters on their life of writing crimes and mysteries.
“Honestly, it is such a good script, and every cast member felt the same way about it, whether they had one line or one scene in it, they all found the script and the story so good,” Garcia said.
In advance of the movie’s debut, Froley wrote on Instagram that Campbell and Garcia “bring our sleuth-y alter egos out to play in the best, most charming and funny of ways.”
Fans Want ‘The Cases of Mystery Lane’ to Become a Series
“The Cases of Mystery Lane” was originally written by Dovev and Froley to be an hourlong TV series, outlined on the screenwriting community CoverFly as “a light hour-long procedural about an eccentric husband and his straight-laced wife who team up as Private Investigators to solve mysteries and end up saving their marriage in the process.”
When Variety broke the news in January about Campbell and Garcia starring in it, the outlet also called it a “show,” but so far Hallmark has only publicly described it as a standalone movie. But fans are already asking for more, hoping it’s turned into franchise, as Hallmark is known to do. The morning after the movie’s premiere, fans were posting on the Heavy on Hallmark Facebook page about their desire for “The Cases of Mystery Lane” to become a series.
One wrote, “Great movie! I will watch the next one! Sounded like it can be a series????”
Another commented, “This was the first Hallmark Mystery where I was surprised at the ending. I’d love to see more.”
Someone else wrote, “I loved it!! I loved Paul’s character! Please give us more!!!!”
On Twitter, the movie was trending as it aired,
Campbell is also hoping there’s more to come because he loved the role and found it easy to work with Garcia, who’s a “pro” at filming a series, he told TV Insider.
“I think the fun is that now hopefully they’ll be working together,” he said, adding that he loved wearing “ridiculous” disguises and playing characters, including some that didn’t make it into the final movie.
“That was the most fun that I had, and also having the couple dynamic in any of those scenes when we were investigating,” he continued. “There’s the scene with the mustache and the pizza boxes and we go in as a couple. Those are the most fun to do, to have somebody to really play off. So with Birdie on the case with me, I’ll have someone to bounce silliness off and I think it’ll create a really, really fun dynamic right from the beginning. And I love those. And then anything with a disguise and an accent, I’m in.”
After the movie premiered, Campbell tweeted, “Thank you SO much to everyone who tuned in and tweeted along with us!! Start the petition for more episodes!!! #TheCasesofMysteryLane”
In response, a fan named Caroline Richardson started a petition on Change.org to urge Hallmark to commit to turning “The Cases of Mystery Lane” into a franchise with additional movies.
The movie is scheduled to air again on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on March 21 at 7 p.m. Eastern time, March 23 at 9 p.m. Eastern time, March 26 at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and April 12 at 9 p.m. Eastern time. It can also be streamed on Peacock.
I love Paul Campbell and his comedic side. It was fun to watch. I would suggest bringing a lighter touch to Birdie’s character.