Marilu Henner reveals how Hallmark keeps the ‘cozy’ in its cozy murder mysteries

Marilu Henner as Aida Teagarden in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries
Marilu Henner as Aida Teagarden in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries. In a recent interview, the actress talked about how Hallmark keeps its murder mysteries family friendly. Pic credit: Crown Media

It’s been seven years since Hallmark Movies and Mysteries debuted the first in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series. Starring Candace Cameron Bure, Lexa Doig, and Marilu Henner, the films feature a librarian with an interest in true crime who solves murders in her small Georgia town.

In a recent interview to promote the 18th movie in the series, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Haunted by Murder, Henner talked about how the network keeps the films from being too graphic or morbid for a family audience.

“You’re only allowed to say ‘murder’ or ‘kill’ five times in the script,” she said during an appearance on KTLA. “…You never actually see someone being killed. That always kind of happens off stage.”

If there is a murder weapon, it has dried blood on it, never fresh, she said. The movies focus more on solving the crimes than the crimes themselves. The stories are so tame Henner feels comfortable watching them with her family.

“I’ve been watching with my seven-year-old niece,” she said.

Hallmark’s cozy mysteries

Based on a series of books by author Charlaine Harris, the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries were first adapted for the small screen by Crown Media in 2015. In Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Bone to Pick, audiences were introduced to Aurora (Bure), her best friend, Sally (Doig), and her formidable mother, Aida (Henner).

It is one of many series the network has adapted over the years for the screen, most falling into the “cozy mystery” category. Coined in the late 20th century, the term refers to murder mysteries that typically take place in a rural setting, are light on violence and gore, and feature a protagonist who is not a professional detective, according to Publishers Weekly.

Agatha Christie is considered the original cozy mystery writer for her Miss Marple series. Other popular cozy mystery writers include Joanne Fluke, Clara Benson, and Annabel Chase.

Offscreen friendship

During her interview, Henner also touched on her offscreen relationship with Bure. The two actresses have become so close while filming the series that they even lived together while in quarantine for the 17th and 18th movies.

“We get a little Airbnb, and it’s so much fun. We’ve become really good friends that way,” she said.

The two even made appearances on Instagram Live together, playing games such as “Never Have I Ever.”

“I always tell people during nine months of the pandemic I spent more time with Candace than I did with my husband,” Henner said during an interview earlier in the year.

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Haunted By Murder will premiere on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries on Sunday, February 20 at 9/8c.

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