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The Murder Mystery

Who Says Thrillers and Comedy Don't Mix?

By Natasja RosePublished 8 months ago 12 min read
8

There are 6 'Scream' Movies and 4 'Scary Movies', but Parody isn't the only way to make Horror funny.

My pitch for a new comedy show is a combination of Mistaken Identity, Cop Comedy, and Sit-Com Drama.

Synopsis

Ramona and Josh are paired up by an internet dating site that matches people based on their internet search history. The site doesn't have a great track record for romances, but a lot of cosplay convention friend groups found each other through the dating service.

Ramona is a fiction writer, specifically Murder Mysteries. Josh is a Serial Killer who goes after the actual scum of society, making the world a better place through murder when he isn't working as a Butcher's Assistant.

They go on a blind date, and get on like a house on fire. Ramona loves that she finally found someone who doesn't sneak out the back door as soon as she starts talking about the book she's working on, and Josh is thrilled at all the creative new murder ideas Ramona comes up with. (Smart and cute! How did he get this lucky?)

The relationship progresses normally, and Ramona's first book is published, getting rave reviews. The local police department usually keeps a copy of the latest Crime Best-Seller in the break room to make fun of via dramatic readings... but suddenly they're noticing details that match up with some of their cold cases, details that were considered too graphic to be included in the press-release...

A Comdey of Errors ensures, with the police investigating Ramona, who is so clean that they only become more convinced that she has to be hiding something. The idea that Ramona is actually just an introvert with no social life is briefly considered, but quickly dismissed. Josh works at a Butcher's and occasionally runs deliveries. Occasional odd hours and searches to get blood out of clothing aren't unusual.

If approved as a one-and-done, the Season can end with either a wrongful arrest and release for lack of evidence, or Josh faking a dramatic death and giving up, resorting to anonymous reporting rather than murder.

If approved as a multi-season show, Season One can end with a near-miss and the case being escalated to a higher level.

By Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

Main Characters

Ramona Bates - Aspiring Crime Fiction writer with a day job. Hangs out in cafes when not working from home. Introvert who occasionally resorts to internet dating sites to pacify her family's demands to 'get out more'.

Josh Smith - Serial Killer, works as a Bucher's Assistant to pay bills. Frequently trawls dating sites to select his next victim from the creeps who don't take no for an answer.

Esperanza Jones - Police Detective assigned to the case when the Brass realised that the new Crime Best-seller contained a lot of details about cold cases that were never released to the public...

By Andrey Zvyagintsev on Unsplash

Side Characters

Victim du Jour - Characters who are generally petty assholes and whose demise would cause several people to breathe sighs of relief.

  • Ultra-Nationalist jerks who accost and berate anyone who "doesn't look [Insert Nationality Here]"
  • Karens who demand a service the shop doesn't provide then spend half an hour yelling at the poor retail assistant and demanding to speak to the manager
  • Obnoxious Influencers who demand free things and offer to pay in 'exposure' and over-use the phrase "Don't you know who I am?"
  • Business owners who exploit migrant workers and under-pay local workers.
  • Wannabe-School-Shooter Incels.
  • You get the idea.

By Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Recurring Characters

Mike Rodrigues - Esperanza's partner, previously dated Josh, amicable break-up after a few weeks.

Vanessa Smith - Josh's older sister, thinks Ramona can do better than her nerd of a little brother. Works in a Talent Agent company and occasionally comes over to hang out and vent.

The Sargent - Esperanza and Mike's commanding officer. Main Purveyor of Trashy Crime Novels in the Precintct break room.

Cafe Staff - Acquainted with Ramona enough to know her usual order occasionally ask about her latest book and get info-dumped upon as short break from the till and coffee machine. Generally collage-aged and fairly nihilistic.

Cafe Patrons - Mums and Bubs groups, Start-Up business types having company lunches on the cheap, WFH employees who have been Officially Reminded to take lunch breaks, and University students. People with laptops and notebooks aren't an unusual sight, but all of them make an effort to avoid sitting next to Ramona's table.

Butcher's Customers - A medley. The Butcher isn't an Ethnic Grocer, but they do affordable special orders for things like goat, crocodile and other non-farm meats, so they get all sorts, from kindly grandmothers who make sure to ask about their day, to mirgrant populations. They all think that Josh is a charming young man, even if his young lady is a little odd.

By Sierra Koder on Unsplash

Bonus Pilot Episode - A Match Made In Murder

Opening Scene

(Fade from black, to an under-lit room. It is a furnished basement. An automatic gun rests against a wall, next to a stalker-shrine of a young woman.

A youth is tied to a chair, gagged and struggling.)

(Footsteps echo menacingly through the room)

Killer: Now, I have other places to be, so let’s make this quick. Don’t fight me, and it won’t hurt.

(A man comes into view, holding a knife. He is in his 20s-30s, blond and good-looking. He leans down and removes the gag.)

Youth: I know you! You’re the jerk who tried to hit on Katie by telling me to stop harassing her.

Killer: (looks pointedly at the gun and shrine) First, while I’m sure she’s a lovely girl, I don’t have to be hitting on someone to call you out for bad behaviour. Besides, you clearly didn’t listen. Fortunately for everyone except you, I have a solution.

Youth: (struggling harder) I didn’t hurt anyone! I’ll never talk to her again, I swear!

Killer: I know. (He uses the knife to cut the rope) Get up.

Youth: (stumbles to his feet, is pushed toward the attached bathroom) Are you going to kill me?

Killer: (Indicates an old-fashioned straight razor and shaving cream) That’s up for debate, though the teachers and classmates you were planning to massacre for the heinous crime of not finding you a pleasant person to be around would probably have thanked me for it. I don’t know who told you that manipulative, cruel and ungroomed was attractive, but they lied.

(The Youth picks up a razor and starts to shave. The Killer watches him closely.)

Youth: (muttering) You’d think that one of them would be willing to take one for the team and agree to be my Prom date.

(Killer lashes out, his hand striking the Youth’s wrist. The razor slashs across the Youth’s jugular, opening a vein. He falls. The Killer stands out of range of the blood splatter.)

Killer: No-one owes you anything, especially not at the risk of becoming a statistic. You didn’t plan on surviving the massacre, so consider this me cutting out a lot of pointless death. This way just spares your family the shame and guilt.

(The Killer looks at his watch and pulls of the plastic poncho covering a uniform, leaving via a hurricane door. Off-screen, an engine runs and a phone rings.)

Killer’s voice: Sorry to take so long, boss, but there’s no-one home. A neighbour let me round the back in case their teenager was in the basement, but no answer there, either. Should I leave a note? Ok, on my way back.

(Fade to title: The Murder Mystery)

(Fade to Subtitle: Episode One: A Match Made In Murder)

By Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

Scene One

(Camera pans over a suburban neighbourhood, following a car.

The car parks in front of a Generic House, and the Killer steps out. He walks up to the door and opens it, hanging up his keys and toeing off his shoes. He freezes as a voice comes from further in the house.)

Offscreen Voice: Josh, is that you? Guess what email I got.

Killer/Josh: (pulling a face) I couldn’t possibly imagine.

(A woman, Vanessa, clearly related to Josh, walks into view, frowning)

Vanessa: Really? You should have received one, too, given that it’s your details in the algorithm.

Josh: (rolling his eyes) I tagged those emails as Junk long ago. You know how I feel about blind dates, especially blind dates arranged by a computer.

Vanessa: (mimics his expression) You know the house rules as well as I do: rent deduction in exchange for actually socializing with new people every other month.

Josh: (glares) One of these days, I’m telling Mum that you’re not meeting new people, just hiring your Drama Major friends to roleplay a human version of their latest D&D character

Vanessa: (shrugs) It's unethical to fake-date the people I'm representing. Go ahead, I’ll just switch to cycling through the rest of the gamer group. Then they’ll be new people and not looking for anything more than me buying them the latest miniture set.

(Josh runs a hand through his hair and looks annoyed. Vanessa pats him on the shoulder.)

Vanessa: I looked at your date’s profile, and the look nice. Their facebook is mostly memes, but no alarm bells. All you have to do is have coffee and carry on a half-hour of conversation.

Josh: (groans into his hands) Forward me the email. It’s supposed to have a time and place to meet. Hopefully it’s nothing too appalling, like Starbucks.

Vanessa: (laughs) I’m sure you’ll survive. It’s got to be better than sitting around the house watching true crime shows and horror stories

By Tim Foster on Unsplash

Scene Two

(Scene opens on a street view of a BoHo-type coffee shop/cafe. Through a window, we see a young woman, dressed conservatively for a date. Ramona is sitting at a table for two, writing in a notebook in front of her.

A waitress approaches.)

Waitress: Can I get you anything, hon?

Ramona: Water for the table, please? I’ll wait for my date to arrive before I start looking at the menu.

Waitress: Sure thing. (returns with a carafe of water and two glasses) Have you been dating long?

Ramona: (shakes head) Blind date, based off compatible online search history. That should make things interesting, at least.

(The Waitress’s expression is somewhere between ‘sympathetic’, ‘pitying’ and ‘how pathetic’. Ramona fails to notice, focused on her notebook.)

Ramona: At least we’ll have something in common. My previous attempts either decided I was too weird, or were rebelling by looking for a date that would horrify their parents.

Waitress: How... interesting. So what is it that you do?

Ramona: Admin for an Online Retail store, and aspiring crime fiction writer.

Waitress: (forces a smile) Well, flag me down when your date shows up.

(The Waitress leaves. Ramona continues the writing process for a few minutes. A patron walks in and sits at the table next to her, looks at Ramona's intense expression and re-thinks their seating choice. This process repeats a few times.

Josh walks in and looks around. The Waitress directs him to Ramona’s table)

Josh: Hi, Ramona?

Ramona: (closing her notebook) Yes, hi. You’re Josh?

Josh: (sitting down) Nice to meet you. Sorry, I didn’t realise I was running late.

Ramona: Oh, you’re not, I was just early. There was less traffic than I expected. Besides, even if you were late, you couldn’t be worse than the last one. I waited two hours and was just leaving when he showed up.

Josh: (vaguely offended on her behalf) Not even a text to say he was running late due to whatever the hold-up was?

Ramona: (shakes her head) No. Wasn’t all bad, though. The owners were sympathetic and gave me free re-fills, and I entertained myself by killing him off in-text.

Josh: (laughs and sits down, propping his chin on his hand) Well, I certainly hope you won’t feel the need to do the same to me.

Ramona: (smiles) At the moment, you’re hovering between ‘main love interest’ and ‘bit character with plot-vital information’. Oh, and a text to thank you for a nice date, too.

Josh: (waving for the waitress) You have a ranking system? I’ve never met anyone who admitted it before. So how did you get into the whole blind dating thing?

Ramona: (pulls a rueful face) Apparently, the characters I write have more of a social life than I do. Also, my sister bribed me with use of her fancy kitchen appliances. You?

Josh: My parents waive the rent in exchange for half an hour of socialising with strangers. Housing prices being what they are... (He trails off, not needing to complete the sentance, Ramona nods sympathetically) My sister bribes the local theatricals. You write?

Ramona: Yes, Crime fiction. That’s usually what scares off my dates, once I start talking about whatever scene I’m working on.

Josh: (looking decidedly dreamy) I take back every bad thing I ever said about online dating sites. This one actually got it right.

Ramona: (pleased but confused) What?

Josh: (blushes slightly) Oh, that probably sounded weird. Sorry. I love crime, can you tell me what it’s about?

Ramona: (pats his hand) Normally I’m the weird one. How about we agree not to apologise, unless the other person is actually offended, and to tell each other if we are?

(The Waitress brings drinks, looking mildly disbelieving as Josh places his hand over Ramona’s. They lock eyes, crushing very hard on each other)

Josh: That sounds wonderful

Ramona: (pink-cheeked) So, the killer leaves clues, but only when he knows that his villains can’t escape him.

(Camera begins to pan out and away, voices starting to fade out and scene darkening to a fade to black)

Josh: For his own enjoyment, so the police feel their failure more keenly, or to heighten the victim’s fear?

Ramona: Ooh, good point! I hadn’t even thought of that! Do you mind if I write this down, or would that be rude?

Josh: Go ahead, I’m pretty sure you could ask me to wait in a car on a deserted road at midnight, and I’d do it.

Ramona: (giggles)

(Cut to black)

The Tumblr Prompt that started the whole thing

SketchesSatiricalFunnyCONTENT WARNINGComedyWriting
8

About the Creator

Natasja Rose

I've been writing since I learned how, but those have been lost and will never see daylight (I hope).

I'm an Indie Author, with 30+ books published.

I live in Sydney, Australia

Follow me on Facebook or Medium if you like my work!

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Comments (5)

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  • Phil Flannery8 months ago

    I was thinking the same thing as Randy before me. We must be of the same era. This would make a great show.

  • Kelly Sibley 8 months ago

    Gosh, that was a really interesting read, I learnt a lot!

  • Interesting blend of "Dexter" meets "Murder She Wrote" meets "Seinfeld".

  • J. S. Wade8 months ago

    Great layout and concept. 😎

  • Dana Crandell8 months ago

    Well thought out and outlined. This sounds like the birth of a new cult classic!

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