Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Movie Review: Mystery 101 - Killer Timing

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Characters and still fun and charming
Cons: Plot didn’t work for me, usual Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
There’s explosive start
Is Travis killer’s target?
Still love characters

“Do I Need to Give You to Stay Out of Harm’s Way Speech Again?”  “I’m the One Who Told You to be Careful.”

Of Hallmark’s original mystery franchises, I have enjoyed Mystery 101 the most.  That’s why I am disappointed to say that I found the newest movie, Killer Timing, to be the worst in the franchise to date.

As the movie opens, Detective Travis Burke (Kristopher Polaha) has returned to Chicago to testify in one of the biggest cases he solved just before moving away.  He’s testifying against the serial killer Wolf Man.  It’s a short and productive trip, and when he gets back, he sets up a dinner date with Amy Winslow (Jill Wagner).  However, when they are meeting up at the restaurant, an explosion at a nearby house injuries Travis.

Word has just come out that the Wolf Man escaped on his way back to jail.  Worried that the explosion was an attempt by the serial killer on Travis’s life, FBI Agent Kate Colson (Erin Cahill), who happens to be Travis’s ex-wife, comes to help protect him.  Is someone out to kill Travis?

Obviously, there’s a lot going on in this movie, and this is just the initial set up.  There were plenty of twists to keep me engaged for the first half of the film, and I was enjoying watching the plot unfold.

But then came the second half.  I get what they were going for thematically, but it didn’t make for a satisfying story for me.  It also didn’t help that I was calling all of the plot points in this movie early.  I wish there had been a twist I didn’t see coming.

This isn’t the fault of the actors.  They do a decent job with the material they have.  Yes, it’s still a Hallmark movie, so there is still that cheese element to take into account, but it isn’t overwhelming.

Clearly, there is another movie coming in the franchise with how this one ends.  I’m looking forward to it since I do still love the characters.

And it was the characters that made this one worth watching.  Yes, Travis and Amy are another very slow burn romance in a Hallmark mystery franchise, but I love their relationship and chemistry.  Amy’s father, Graham (Robin Thomas) is another fantastic character.  We don’t see much of the other supporting cast, but it’s really these three I watch the movies for.

Fans of the franchise will still enjoy Killer Timing.  But if you haven’t met the characters yet, don’t start with this Mystery 101 movie.


  1. That's too bad about this one. I've really enjoyed this franchise too but I guess not every one of them can be a winner. Hopefully the next one will be back to its usual form.

    1. Make up your own mind!! I personally loved this episode and while I suspected the bad guy early on, I definitely did not anticipate how he was involved!

  2. Mark,
    Good analysis. I watched this just the other night (rerun) and I was looking for the Hallmark light fare. I also tune into this show more than the other mysteries on the channel for Amy, Travis, and Graham. They definitely make the show.