Fans of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Crossword Mysteries series are in for a treat with the next installment, “Riddle Me Dead.”
When Tess offers her factoid expertise to a well-known game show in the vein of Jeopardy, murder follows her once again, and Logan springs into action to solve the crime.
We had the opportunity to chat with Brennan Elliott, who plays Logan on the series, and he thinks this is the installment fans have been waiting for.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to chat too long because, unbeknownst to Brennan, they were in for another lockdown for the weekend, something he only discovered when he ventured out to eat.
His spin, though, was positive. “It’s happy. Good Friday happening somewhere, and I will just be in happiness, Good Friday-ness energy wherever I’m at is how I see it.”
When Brennan and co-star Lacey Chabert filmed their first movie together, they had no idea that their onscreen relationship would take off like it did, spanning the All of My Heart trilogy and Crossword Mysteries.
Doing so many movies together, they’ve grown close, “We got along so well, and we’ve become extremely close and good friends,” Brennan said.
“Obviously, no one perceived that happening, but it’s just a testament to the fans and the network and just realizing that when we’re together, we create something magical, and people enjoy it. I’m just pretty blessed and thankful for that opportunity.”
Brennan thinks they’ve hit the sweet spot with audiences for very simple reasons. “I think both of us come to the work and try to make every scene as real as possible and as honest,” he said, happy that the fans are entertained.
“I just feel like it’s a testament to the scripts and what Hallmark does. They write well for us, and we create something that’s honest and real.
“One of the things that Lace and I, as people, and as artists, we trust each other so well that I think the audiences can see that these are two people that really trust each, and they buy into the characters, and they buy into the story and the relationship.
“That’s how I feel it works. But that’s a question for the audience. I don’t know why it works. It just does, and I’m very grateful for that happening. She’s a very good friend and a lovely artist and actress and person, and I like to think she thinks the same about me.
We just have a great time together, and the audience is responsive. It’s been wonderful. It’s one of those things where when you have a career; you can look back and go, ‘Wow, that was special.’ So very thankful for it.”
Although Brennan is a producer of the Crossword Mysteries, he’s not overly involved in what comes next, trusting the writers for the series and the network, too.
“Look, if they ask, I’ll give them my impressions or how I feel, but I trust the network and the writers, and obviously Brad Krevoy and Amy Krell and the producers we have.
“Whenever they ask Lacey and me for input, we do give it. We try to stay involved as much as we can. You know, inevitably, Lacey and I want to make the best product we can. Obviously, under the time restraints and the budget and Covid and everything else we’re going through as a world when they ask us, we try to give what we can.”
From his viewpoint, the process works. “What we’re doing is working, and the fans love it, so we just try to take our foot off the gas and trust the fans are loving what we’re doing and try to keep bringing good content to the fans and trust the network and the people we’re working with, really.”
But what about this particular movie and any potential action between Tess and Logan?
“I can’t give too much, but I will say this, the fans — what they’ve been asking for and what they’ve been yearning for — will be pleasantly surprised. I always tell people this is the most personal episode we’ve had.”
When asked what Brennan hopes for the franchise’s future, he likens it to a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries staple, Hart to Hart.
“As a team, we’re just solving crimes. I mean, she’s a brilliant mind. She’s almost like a forensic decoder, whether it’s crosswords or it’s the case or whatever. I think bringing her in and helping us as cops, as detectives, solving the case, she’s an amazing asset. And having me as the street kind of guy and coming together, I think it’s like Castle, Hart to Hart — that kind of energy.
“I think that’s where it could go. I think that’s what the fans are looking for. We both have assets and things we can bring to solving something. She has her benefits, and I have mine, and together we’re a perfect team.”
For now, Brennan is pretty happy being a Hallmark leading man. Who could blame him? He’s one of a select few leading men capturing women’s romantic hearts.
“I’ve always said this a million times; if Hallmark calls, I say yes. You know, I have a lot of love for the network. I always tell my wife, ‘I don’t know what leading man I am, but if they think I’m a leading man, I’m very happy to be so.’ [laughs] No. I say that in humor.
“I’m just a guy that loves to tell stories and touch the fans’ hearts. I always say that Hallmark’s the heart of TV. My wife’s like, ‘You’ve got the biggest heart in the world, so you’re in the right place.’ I just feel like I’m just very thankful.”
Brennan’s not just blowing smoke with those statements. He might laugh off being considered a romantic leading man, but he loves every minute of his work with Hallmark.
“You get an opportunity to be a leading man or be a lead male, or whatever that means, to share a story with fans and to touch people’s hearts. Hallmark does it so well. I’m just so honored. I think this is like 20, 21, 22 movies I’ve done for them, and I feel like I’m just starting.
“I’m just so grateful, and I get a chance to work with Lacey and a lot of great ladies, and the scripts are great, and the network is great, and Michelle and Randy. Everyone over there, I just feel like it’s just a great place to be, and I’m just so happy to be a part of it. Just so grateful to have fun. And it is fun.
“We were talking about it on set today yesterday. You know, me and Nazneen Contractor are doing a movie [Love and Ice Wine, directed by Don McBreaty], and we’re just saying, ‘What’s funner than doing this?’ You know what I mean?
“To touch people’s lives and tell stories that are heartfelt, and good family viewing and to play interesting characters. I’m lucky enough to play a real diverse variety of roles, so I’m having a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoying it.”
Love and Ice Wine isn’t the only upcoming project away from another Crosswords Mystery Brennan has on tap. “There’s many on the plate right now that I have to read, first of all. But, yeah, there’s a lot.
“There’s always something going on, and I’ve got at least three or four more on my plate right now that the fans will be happy to see me in. That’s a testament to the network, and I’m just glad. When they call, I just go to work. I love it. Having the best time of my life.”
Brennan has been in the business for a long time, but it was only in the last year that I finally got to see his work in Strong Medicine now that it’s airing StartTV.
For 88 episodes from 2000-2005, Brennan played Dr. Nick Biancavilla alongside Rosa Blasi, Janine Turner, Jennifer Lewis, Josh Coz, and Philip Casnoff. It was such a fun role, and I felt like I was getting to know him for the first time through the earlier work.
“That’s a blast from the past,” Brennan said. “When I moved to the States, and I finished theater school, that was kind of my first job. I was offered, I don’t know, a few episodes or something, and it turned into four or five years.
“It was a place to cut my teeth and learn the business and learn what’s necessary and what’s needed and work on my craft. I always look back on that as a great place to start.”
So many medical shows you watch today are still repeating storylines that Strong Medicine did 20 years ago. “You’re right. You’re absolutely right,” Brennan said. “You know, even like Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo was a guest star on our show.
“A lot of the storylines that we did, about the medical profession or illness or dealing with insurance companies or about dealing with whatever, I mean, clinics and all those things, people are doing it now. It was Lifetime’s flagship show, and I was just honored to be a part of something that was starting the trend.
“my mother was in the medical profession, so she watches a lot of that stuff. It’s kind of her jam. She always says, ‘You know, when you were back on that show … I see the same storylines. It’s like you started it.’
“Well, I didn’t start it, obviously. But you’re right. It’s a testament to what we could do in the beginning. I think when things are done well, people just pick up on it and kind of do it again and again and again because the audience wants to see it.”
With a long resume playing memorable roles, it’s so nice to know that Brennan is enjoying the lighthearted and uplifting fare just as much as anything else he’s done. “I just hope the fans come out on April 11th, watch the show and enjoy it because it’s a really, really, really fantastic episode.”
Crossword Mysteries: Riddle Me Dead airs Sunday, April 11 at 8/7 only on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Don’t miss it!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.