Welcome back to my “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” marathon! Today, we’re going to look at a twist on the classic “Whodunit?” mystery story, involving the mystery writer himself.
Alexander Arlington is a famous mystery writer who has just died and gone to Heaven. While speaking with the angel Wilfred, Alexander discovers that he was murdered. Wilfred decides to send him back to the final day leading up to his death. Will Alexander succeed in finding the killer, and who was it that murdered him?
I was trying to decide through this whole segment if Alexander was worth rooting for. Through his interactions with the people he suspects will kill him, he gives good reasons for why they’d have a reason to kill him. The main one is that he comes off as a smug douchebag, especially considering he’s trying to solve his murder before it happens. He gets a small bit of redemption near the end as he acknowledges his obnoxiousness, but he still annoyed me for the most part.
The suspects in question involve his…literary agent/partner (?) who is fired for suggesting he ghostwrite Alexander’s books so he can have a break, his nephew who’s in need of money, and his wife who’s cheating on him with a younger man. All of them are played fine enough, though we don’t get much out of them aside from each one having a motive to kill. Wilfred was also a decent character, acting as Alexander’s “recording angel” who has documents on everything in his life except his murderer. He’s very calm and collected through the whole thing, as you would expect an angel to be.
The segment takes place in two locations: Heaven and Alexander’s house. The house is a nice set piece, allowing most of the interactions to happen in his private study. Heaven is full of clouds, harps and annoying angelic singing. It’s the usual cliched stuff, but it gets the location across. The story felt decently paced as we go from suspect to suspect and try to guess along with Alexander who the killer will turn out to be. The conclusion was something I didn’t think of but should have, though the killer did turn out to be an obvious choice.
Overall, “Whodunit” was an interesting take on that type of story and had some fun with it as a sort of “Twice in a Lifetime” plot. I only wish the main character had been a bit less insufferable, but it was a pretty decent episode nonetheless.