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11 Must-Watch Holiday Episodes of Your Favorite Mystery TV Shows

‘Tis the season for sleuthing.

Every mystery aficionado knows that crime never stops, even if you’re too stuffed with Christmas dinner to solve much of anything. That’s why we’re serving up the best holiday episodes of your favorite mystery TV shows. From a yuletide slayer who leaves behind Christmas-themed clues to a small-town mayor who meets a chilling end while still wearing his Santa suit, these special episodes will deliver intrigue and suspense all winter long. What's more, they're all available on Amazon or Acorn—and the collectible DVDs make great holiday gifts! 

So dim the lights, pour yourself another eggnog, and get ready to crack a few festive cases!

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

"Murder Under the Mistletoe"

miss fisher's murder mysteries
  • Photo Credit: Acorn TV

Everyone knows that Jazz Age heiress-turned-sleuth Miss Phryne Fisher would never pass up an opportunity for a glamorous party. Naturally, this episode sees the plucky Melbourne native celebrating Christmas in July at a snowy chateau. All is merry and bright, until one of the partygoers is electrocuted while hanging up Christmas lights. Though the death is ruled an accident, Miss Fisher suspects foul play. Her hunch is proven correct when additional guests are attacked, and it’s up to her to piece together a curious string of clues—including cards depicting the 12 days of Christmas left behind at the crime scenes. This limited edition DVD package includes an eye-catching pop-up image of Miss Fisher, making it the perfect gift for the mystery lover in your life.

Related: 9 Delightful Cozy Mysteries for the Aspiring Poirot or Miss Marple 

Midsomer Murders

"The Christmas Haunting"

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  • Photo Credit: ITV - Independent Television

The ghosts of Christmas past refuse to stay dead in the season 16 holiday episode of Misomer Murders. A ghost hunting party at a haunted house takes a dark twist when one of the attendees is murdered with an antique sword. Though the residents of Midsomer County fear supernatural forces caused the death, DCI John Barnaby and newcomer DS Charlie Nelson team up to prove that a more corporeal culprit was behind it all. While there are several holiday episodes to choose from in this beloved and long-running mystery series, "The Christmas Haunting" is a timeless favorite—plus, this special collectible edition boasts a pop-up image of Barnaby with his lovable canine partner, Sykes.

Related: 13 British Crime Dramas to Die For 

The Brokenwood Mysteries

"A Merry Bloody Christmas"

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  • Photo Credit: South Pacific Pictures

Fans of The Brokenwood Mysteries will be delighted to get their hands on this holiday DVD, complete with a collectible pop-up image of Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd and Detective Constable Kristin Sims at the scene of a yuletide crime. In this special holiday episode, Christmas has come to Brokenwood, New Zealand, but spirits have never been lower. The town’s beloved mayor turns up dead in his home, still dressed in his festive Santa costume. His girlfriend is also found murdered at the home. With the mayoral election approaching, plenty of people wanted Mayor Whitestone out of the picture—but what kind of grinch would take it this far? Shepherd and Sims put their heads together to find out.

Related: 12 Must-Read Murder Mystery Books for Fans of Knives Out 

Murder, She Baked

"A Plum Pudding Mystery"

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  • Photo Credit: Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Though Murder, She Baked is actually a made-for-TV film series, it has five installments, guaranteeing plenty of screen time with small-town baker Hannah Swenson. In this cozy installment, Hannah is juggling two suitors and the busy holiday season at her bakery when she stumbles upon a cadaver in Eden Lake. The victim is the local owner of a Christmas tree lot. Hannah snoops around her Minnesota town to try to discover who would commit such a slaying. Along the way, she grows closer to Detective Mike Kingston. Curious to find out whodunit, and whether Hannah and Mike will ever meet under the mistletoe? There's just one way to find out. 

Related: 11 Hallmark Mystery Movies for a Night of Cozy Thrills 

Poirot

"Hercule Poirot's Christmas"

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  • Photo Credit: PBS

There’s no place like home for the holidays, but a broken radiator has persuaded beloved Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to leave his London flat and take an assignment in Kent, even though it means working through Christmas. He winds up at the country estate of elderly millionaire Simeon Lee, who has sought his help in solving a mystery. However, before Poirot can get much of a head start on the case, Lee’s throat is slashed—and the dearly departed's cunning family members are all pointing fingers. Based on the 1939 Agatha Christie novel of the same name, this special movie-length episode of the long-running television series offers a locked room mystery for the ages.

Related: 7 Thrilling Agatha Christie Adaptations That Hit the Mark 

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

"The Blue Carbuncle"

the adventures of sherlock holmes
  • Photo Credit: Granada Television

When a priceless gem nicknamed the “Blue Carbuncle” is reported stolen from a London hotel, only to turn up in the entrails of a Christmas goose, Holmes and Watson are left to puzzle over how the stone wound up there. Beginning with the police commissioner’s recollection of the group of ruffians who were found with the goose the night before, Holmes uses his superior deduction skills to track down the bird’s whereabouts in reverse chronological order. Holmes' and Watson's search for the thief leads them on a wild goose chase all over snowy London in this classic holiday special starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock.

Related: 10 Thrilling Sherlock Holmes Books 

Murdoch Mysteries

"A Merry Murdoch Christmas"

murdoch mysteries
  • Photo Credit: Shaftesbury Films

In turn-of-the-century Toronto, Detective William Murdoch and Dr. Julia Ogden are attending a Christmas charity gala when they stumble upon a corpse: that of the event’s rich benefactor. Who would want to break the neck of the generous Alistair McGowan? Murdoch doesn’t discount the possibility of revenge enacted by Krampus, a half-goat, half-demon Christmas creature of yore that was supposedly spotted nearby. Soon, however, Murdoch encounters far more likely suspects in the form of disgruntled employees. If just one holiday episode of Murdoch Mysteries isn’t enough, you can get your hands on the Christmas Cases Collection, which includes three feature-length episodes for your viewing pleasure: A Merry Murdoch Christmas, Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas, and Home for the Holidays.

Related: Murder Most Foul: 11 Beguiling Victorian Mysteries 

Murder, She Wrote

"A Christmas Secret"

murder she wrote
  • Photo Credit: CBS

If only the holiday season could bring good tidings to Cabot Cove, Maine. Instead, mystery author and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher finds herself unraveling the motives behind the shooting death of Wanda Andrew, a city worker. The murder weapon belongs to Charlie Davenport McCumber, the new business partner of a prominent business tycoon. But Jessica suspects a setup, prompting her to dig deeper than the local police force is willing to go. The episode "A Christmas Secret" isn’t available for standalone purchase, but why not buy and binge on all of Murder, She Wrote’s ninth season?

Related: Get Swept Away: 9 Thrilling Seaside Mysteries 

How to Get Away with Murder

"Best Christmas Ever"

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  • Photo Credit: ABC

How To Get Away with Murder is a legal drama with a thrilling twist: Annalise Keating, a lawyer and professor of law, becomes entangled in a murder plot along with five of her students. In “Best Christmas Ever,” Annalise and the interns spend Christmas break coping with the emotional aftermath of the murder, all while putting on a jolly front for the outside world. Because the episodes aren’t standalones, like many of the other shows on this list, we recommend you watch the first ten episodes of season 1 before diving into this holiday entry. With an Emmy Award-winning performance from Viola Davis, you’ll be hooked on this mystery before you know it—luckily, the show is now in its sixth season.

Related: 8 Psychological Thriller Books That Will Torment You For Days 

Monk

"Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa Claus"

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  • Photo Credit: Universal Media Studios

Detective and social recluse Adrian Monk isn’t the most popular man in town, but wounding a man dressed as Santa Claus isn’t doing him any favors. Following a weird incident in which toys are dropped from a roof onto the traffic-heavy street below, Monk enters said building to see what’s going on. A rooftop struggle ensues, with the surviving Santa claiming that he was attacked by Monk; Monk claims he acted in self-defense. With the whole town turning on him, Monk uses his incredible attention to detail—a symptom of his obsessive-compulsive disorder—to clear his name and prove Santa’s criminal intent.

Related: Classic Mystery Authors to Read Based on Your Favorite Contemporaries 

Sherlock

"The Abominable Bride"

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  • Photo Credit: BBC Worldwide

This dizzying special episode of Sherlock swings between modern-day and Victorian England. In the 19th century, Holmes and Watson face their oddest case yet: a young bride named Emelia commits suicide, only to reappear later that same evening and strike down her husband. The mystery deepens when a ghostly Emelia is spotted attacking additional men. Are there supernatural forces at work, or is there a sinister conspiracy afoot? Though Christmas doesn’t factor into the plot of this episode, the wintry cityscape nevertheless gives it a holiday feel that's perfectly suited for the chilly season. 

Related: The 10 Best Sherlock Holmes Portrayals on Film and TV—Ranked 

This post is sponsored by Acorn. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for Murder & Mayhem to continue publishing the mystery stories you love. 

Featured image: Caley Dimmock / Unsplash 

Published on 03 Dec 2019

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