Murders Most Foul



In stark contrast to AMC and in almost exactly the same time frame, Guiding Light has crafted an instantly engrossing whodunit that began with Remy (Lawrence Saint-Victor) and Christina's (Karla Mosely) sweet gazebo picnic. They heard muffled voices in the distance and, as Remy left, he discovered diabolical Edmund Winslow's body floating in the river while the audience slowly saw several people — Josh (Robert Newman) entering the church troubled and alone, Dinah (Gina Tognoni) taking a long and contemplative shower, Reva (Kim Zimmer) and Marina (Mandy Bruno) talking to their new babies about how safe they would now be, Shane (Jeff Branson) entering his motel room with a couple of cases of beer in hand — emerge as suspects.

Herein lies the beauty of GL's tale: nothing was obvious about what had happened or was going to happen or might happen next. Unlike the frequently hyperventilating folk of Pine Valley, the citizens of Springfield did not run around loudly declaring to anyone within earshot mortal vengeance against the literal dark ex-prince of San Cristobel. One minute everyone's lives are pretty much proceeding apace; two hours later, they have been mysteriously separated and Edmund is fish food.

Adding fuel to an already smoldering fire is that Edmund, who had been on the loose but completely unseen for a couple of weeks, really was a genuine danger to all of our primary suspects listed above but he had many, many more enemies that could emerge at any minute. That lengthy list includes but is not limited to Olivia (Crystal Chappell) coming back from her trip, who beat a hasty path to Jeffrey (Bradley Cole) with news of having seen Reva arguing with Edmund prior to his demise; Beth (Beth Chamberlain), Edmund's ex-wife whom Edmund had kidnapped and emotionally tortured for years; and even the investigating detective Mallet (Robert Bogue) himself, who has already been established as a hit man in his past and who would have been in the exact same boat as his wife Marina in protecting baby Henry from Edmund, Henry's grandfather! If that's the case, another three additional suspects emerge: Phillip (Grant Aleksander) could be added to the mix, having already killed Grady to protect Lizzie and would not be above doing it again if it were revealed Eddie Boy was threatening his family in some way again. What are the chances that Edmund was the person who might have assisted teen-aged James (Zack Conroy) launch his Ponzi scheme in the first place? What if Edmund was putting the screws to Alan (Ron Raines) to cover it up? The possibilities are awesome!

Where AMC's mystery has completely dispensed with subtext, GL's is drenched in it. One brilliant example: Mallet, improbably toting around baby Henry while investigating Edmund's death, saw suspect Shane and decided to question him. Mallet deftly mixed his interrogation with cooing about the joys of fatherhood, completely unaware that Shane is Henry's biological father....a fact that Shane himself knows and is keeping secret! The upshot: Shane acted incredibly jumpy, which made him look like he had something to hide. Was Shane's jumpiness, as the audience might infer from the scene, because of the fact that he's Henry's father or because Shane really knocked off Edmond? There were several scenes like this (was Reva really talking to Josh about going into remission from cancer or did she kill Edmond to protect baby Colin, whom Eddie Boy had tried to kidnap a few weeks ago?), that makes everything so much more intriguing.

Plus, there is one more thing: Having Remy find a small bag of diamonds on Edmond's body and keep them was an old-fashioned stroke of genius. Laid off from work, determined to help his father who has been ripped off in James' Ponzi-scheme and desperate to assist his wife in opening her new business, this not-so-little twist not only plays on Remy's existing story that has been building for a while now but also puts him square in the cross hairs of being one of the prime suspects in Edmund's death when the truth comes out.

The true difference between "Who Killed Stuart (Not Adam) Chandler?" and "Who Killed Edmund Winslow?" is the degree to which the writers and producers trust the intelligence of their audiences without beating them over the head with the obvious. As interesting as All My Children's mystery is turning out to be in a classical mystery sense, what is playing out on screen is more dated than classic. What is making the story palatable is an extremely clever use of split screens to recount the murder night's events. Guiding Light, on the other hand, went for what is turning out to be something more akin to the modern, understated brilliance of Veronica Mars, revealing an increasingly complicated web of suspects, motives and opportunities in subtle and sophisticated ways.

Upon reviewing this posting, I noticed that I wrote far more about the story onscreen for Guiding Light than All My Children. It struck me that the reason for this is very simple. All My Children presented a mystery and is basically telling us how things went down, essentially distilling its narrative to a whodunit. Guiding Light has taken a whodunit and is elevating it to a genuine mystery, full of suspects, motives and scenarios that are equal parts obvious and veiled but at this point completely unpredictable. Guiding Light is asking me to think; All My Children is telling me I don't have to.

I will be watching both shows over the coming weeks to see how their respective whodunits are resolved, but in these early days of this soap murder mystery cage match the clear winner is Guiding Light.


Comments

myworld's picture
Member since:
17 March 2009
Last activity:
3 years 31 weeks

Oh if only Guiding Light could be the winner in ratings. I watched both shows and I must agree GL is doing it its thing.

AMC looks good, but I admit i enjoy the production on GL because the actual scenes of Edmund in the river and one the bank of the river looked so real, and very well done.

I did like the split screen on AMC, and agree I am thinking on GL, on AMC not so much. Jessie is too much for me, Mallet is too much, this would be a great case on GL for David Grant and for AMC Dereck.

Member since:
12 January 2009
Last activity:
2 years 46 weeks

Thank you very much for this amazing article. I love seeing your columns on DC because I know they will be articulate and insightful. The GL murder mystery really has me intrigued. I can not compare it to AMC because I have long left that show behind but to me GL is simply classic soap with a mondern twist right now. I love the cast of suspects and agree that there could be more that we don't realize yet. Thank you for pointing out the Shayne and Mallet conversation. I loved it because you really could not tell the source of Shayne's anxiousness. Was it the murder or the baby? This mystery has so many directions. They all seem guilty.

GL has become art in all of their stories as of late. As you said they are trusting the viewers and count them as intelligent. Thats how you get fans invested.

Thank you! Help Save the Light! Its worth it!

THEBEST's picture
Member since:
12 February 2008
Last activity:
22 hours 54 min

AMC is pure crap. GL showed up & showed out.

THEBEST's picture
Member since:
12 February 2008
Last activity:
22 hours 54 min

Another thing: what makes these 2 different is that AMC is writing their whodunit as a sweeps stunt. GL is writing theirs as a story. That prick, Chuck Pratt, is totally doing the fans and the character of Stuart a disservice with this BS....

SoapSnob's picture
Member since:
1 July 2008
Last activity:
3 weeks 1 day

Thank you, J. Bernard, for another in a looooooong line of great post. Of course, GL is becoming superior, must-see daytime drama - second only to Y&R - as it hurdles toward its possible end date. And AMCs growing appeal can only be attributed to something that I cannot quite name or understand. Perhaps because there is nothing really there?

Thanks for the shout-out to Veronica Mars. I LOVED (and miss) that show.

DaytimeFan0001's picture
Member since:
23 April 2008
Last activity:
2 days 8 hours

I have said this for years...GL needs a big who done it storyline. I hope Reva is at the middle of it all. This is what needs to happen on this show!

Member since:
18 April 2009
Last activity:
3 years 44 weeks

Complete agree and when you add in the rumors of the characters joining the GL fold when it comes to Edmund's death (BRING ON THE BETH ANN BONNER!!!!) I am excited for what is to come.

Once again (like the Emmy's and dare I reference tonight's Idol finale) sadly the true talent doesn't win in the end. GL faces it's end on CBS and AMC sees one misstep after another be applauded.

UGH!

People wonder why the genre is DYING!

Member since:
2 March 2009
Last activity:
3 years 33 weeks

I agree with you on that..There are several of us fans on Robert Newman's Board who are trying to figure it out..anyone could be a suspect right now. It reminds me of the game Clue. This is the best writing that GL has had in along time.

Member since:
11 May 2009
Last activity:
4 years 27 weeks

I'm tuning in daily to GL to try and figure it out myself. GL is so good right now. Hope it finds a new home!

Member since:
6 January 2009
Last activity:
1 year 42 weeks

GL is really on fire right now. It's murder mystery is enthralling and encompasses the viewer, while AMC's is so blunt and in-your-face it's almost insulting to your intelligence. GL has been one of if not the best soap on tv for the majority of 2009 yet it needs a new home, while AMC keeps going on, the hot mess that it is

Member since:
31 March 2009
Last activity:
2 years 18 weeks

You just don't know, they all could have done it, they all had motive.
Thanks for the post and I have to agree, I'm loving new production model and it fits so well with this storyline and I want to note, GL's actors and actresses rock the house.

DocT's picture
Member since:
13 April 2009
Last activity:
2 years 51 weeks

I absolutely love the comment you've made that GL is setting this up like an Agatha Christie novel. This storyline is sooo good right now. I love how all of the characters on the show will be involved in some way.

The opening scene to the 5/18 episode was just brilliant - no dialogue from Remy finding Edmund's body to alternating between the prime suspects was perfect.

Jill Lorrie Hurst and Ellen Wheeler are crafting some of the most compelling and must see TV right now.

Let's continue to fight to find GL a new home!!!

Member since:
1 April 2009
Last activity:
3 weeks 2 days

Great Article, but I don't think you even needed to explain why ANYTHING in Springfield is superior than anything going on in Pine Lavery.

As a former viewer of AMC, who basically gave up during the Satin Slayer/Zarf debacles, and was officially finished with the show by the time Reese gave her marriage exactly 12 min. before going straight for a week, it appalls me AMC might be fooled into thinking they are a good show w/this Nom.

And it's appalling they believe they can trot out unbelievable Crap and think the public is buying it.

I love seeing their rating sink like the titanic...

Member since:
5 April 2009
Last activity:
4 years 30 weeks

I haven't watched AMC in a while so I can't comment on that story, but your description sounds much like their style of TELLING a story and not presenting one.

GL's production model has really made this story possible in this way - from the real shots at the river, to the positioning of everyone 'out for a walk' and the intimacy and subtly of the new shooting style which can lend itself to more understated acting and quiet moments (much more dramatic than a split screen). Plus, big kudos to JLH and EW for writing and doing this right. I've been noticing the extremely plotted chapters of each episode with choreographed timing and dialogue from one scene overlapping the stories in the others. The writing is like an ongoing work of theater with multiple levels and story arcs criss-crossing.

And, as always, any story that can pull in all of the characters is really exciting to see.

Should we created a guiding light clue game? What would our weapons of choice be?

Member since:
19 February 2009
Last activity:
3 years 15 weeks

GL is on fire right now. The production model is making the murder mystery, as well as the fantastic writing. Great job, GL!!

Member since:
21 November 2007
Last activity:
2 years 28 weeks

What I really like about this story on Guiding Light is how it's envolving people you wouldn't expect. For example, Olivia is the one that sees Edmund and Reva together, Remy finds the body, Phillip and Lizzie bond when she thinks about the good things about Edmund. Edmund has ties to a lot of those residents so it's nice to see that people are effected by this too.
I still hope that he's really not dead though.... but Guiding Light is on FIRE!

troymcclure's picture
Member since:
25 December 2008
Last activity:
2 years 5 weeks

I agree, the production model on GL works very well with a murder mystery. Seeing Edmund dead in the mud has more of an impact then the tradional soap production model.

I didn't even think of the fact that Shayne could be jumpy because of the baby or if he did it, thanks for pointing this out.

I also liked yesterdays show where Lizzie was talking about Edmund and mentioned that he wasn't all bad since he helped her during her leukemia. Nice nod to history right there.

Member since:
4 March 2009
Last activity:
4 years 47 weeks

Love the article, I tried to watch AMC earlier in the year but gave up...

Guiding Light on the other hand, has surprised me, brought me tears of both joy and sadness and just been FUN. I for one can't wait to see how this unfolds.

Member since:
31 March 2009
Last activity:
2 years 18 weeks

My black horse is that Marina killed him.
She knows about Henry, somehow she found out that Shayne was the blood donor. That is why she has been so crazed with not letting Henry out of her sight.
I think Edmund met her in the park after she talked with Reva. I think she has been setting up Shayne & Dinah by really loading on the how lucky she is to have Henry and he is my whole world, showing up at Reva's, showing up and Dinah's place to offer to help with her and Shayne. She didn't say anything because she knows she will lose the baby.

Member since:
13 April 2009
Last activity:
4 years 27 weeks

The Edmund storyline is fascinating even to a new soap viewer like me. They are pulling in all the characters and tying it nicely with their history. I love the writing on GL. I am hoping and praying that this show finds a new home!

Member since:
7 April 2009
Last activity:
3 years 43 weeks

I don't watch AMC so I can't comment on their story (and after September 18th I won't watch soaps at all) but "Guiding Light's" mystery has totally sucked me in. Like many, I came to the show for Otalia but have found myself slowly drawn into the other storylines, too, and this new mystery of who killed Edmund has got me hooked. What's even more brilliant is how the writers are using the mystery to bring up so much of the history of Springfield's citizens along the way, which, as the show approaches its conclusion, is a clever way to walk down memory land without boring the holy heck outta everyone.

Member since:
5 April 2009
Last activity:
4 years 30 weeks

i just wanted to add how nice it is to see GL mentioning its history (which several of you pointed out). Both with Lizzie remembering her time with Edmond as her step father and Beth mentioning Olivia's drunken scene at Phillips funeral - its great for the show to acknowledge its history (even though Soras and other plot twists sometimes make it hard) both for the loyal fans who remember and for the new fans to catch up. Here's to soap writers who actually KNOW the show history and strive for continuity!

Member since:
31 March 2009
Last activity:
3 years 39 weeks

Wow...are you in my head? For months, I have been posting on this site and across the internet that GL is getting it right. First, it was with the Otalia storyline and Phillip's return. Now, it is with the whole show.

GL gives the viewer little exposition and this allows the viewers to use their intelligence to figure out the scene. The understated performances lend the scenes an incredible intensity. Everything is bubbling below the surface. In turn, the viewer is riveted by the scene. I can't take my eyes off the screeen because I have to watch the understated performance to glean any bit of information. And the whole show is not overdramatic. It is just incredibly intense television.

And not only does GL have subtext but it is colored grey. All the characters are in that grey zone. Nothing is black or white. All these supposedly good people could very well have killed Edmund. And Lizzie, Phillip, and Shayne have pointed out the humanity, the goodness, that Edmund had within his his tortured self.

Right now, GL is the best daytime drama if not the best television show. It appeals to the viewer's intelligence. It provides understated performances full of riveting subtext. The production model allows scenes to be gritty or beautiful and so intimate that I feel like a voyeur.

The show must go on! The artistry of the show is too good not to continue past September 18th.

J Bernard Jones's picture
Member since:
9 September 2008
Last activity:
9 hours 7 min

SoapSnob and everyone else, thanks for the kinds words.

The more I think about "Who Killed Eddie Winslow?" the more it brings a smile to my face.

In (unsuccessfully) trying to stay within certain word-count boundaries, I edited out mentioning something many of you pointed out: the effective use of the location footage of Eddie floating in the river/stream, coupled with some of GL's most effective music choices of late to create a truly unsettling atmosphere. The fact that it all took place during broad daylight made everything even creepier.

Since I am not privy to spoilers, I'm speculating along with a lot of you about the possible culprits in Eddie's demise and last night something struck me: where did Eddie get those diamonds?

My guess: Eddie, who was still prince of San Cristobel when Lizzie was sick leukemia, hid the diamonds in Lizzie's unicorn when he first gave it to her in case he needed them later!

And I still stink Olivia's sudden trip and return to Springfield was timed just a little too conveniently to Eddie's demise, no?

Member since:
7 April 2009
Last activity:
4 years 41 weeks

"the degree to which the writers and producers trust the intelligence of their audiences without beating them over the head with the obvious. "

That sums it up right there -- for this story and everything else on the canvas.

Guiding Light actually trusts their audience to watch, listen, know, and think. GL is proving time and time again that it's the best written an best produced show on daytime television.

Member since:
21 May 2009
Last activity:
4 years 47 weeks

Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and insightful article. Guiding Light is doing more than merely ASKING the viewer to think; they are telling the stories in such a manner that the viewer is left with no other option than to delve deeper in to what they have seen, to connect the threads of the story. Guiding Light is currently doing some of the best storytelling on television, both daytime and prime time. The cast, crew, and writers are a talented and dedicated group, and it is clear in the show they put out daily.

Though Guiding Light will soon end its run on CBS, the light is still shining bringhtly. Loyal fans, not just of Guiding Light, but of television as an art form, must continue on in their efforts to keep this powerful program on the air.

Member since:
21 May 2009
Last activity:
4 years 47 weeks

Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and insightful article. Guiding Light is doing more than merely ASKING the viewer to think; they are telling the stories in such a manner that the viewer is left with no other option than to delve deeper in to what they have seen, to connect the threads of the story. Guiding Light is currently doing some of the best storytelling on television, both daytime and prime time. The cast, crew, and writers are a talented and dedicated group, and it is clear in the show they put out daily.

Though Guiding Light will soon end its run on CBS, the light is still shining bringhtly. Loyal fans, not just of Guiding Light, but of television as an art form, must continue on in their efforts to keep this powerful program on the air.

Member since:
21 May 2009
Last activity:
4 years 42 weeks

Thank you for the thoughtful and brilliant comparison of the two shows. Guiding Light is doing what television does best: Guiding Light is asking the audience to think and is giving us heightened reality with twists and turns that leave us wanting MORE MORE AND THEN SOME MORE! Guiding Light is ART right now and that is not a small thing by any stretch of the imagination. I have EVERY faith that GL will be picked up after September and it will continue to WOW the audience by doing all that it does so very well!

Member since:
2 April 2009
Last activity:
1 week 3 days

I think the best part about Guiding Lights murder mystery is that they killed an actual villain someone who had done awful things who finally got his. They didn't do that on AMC.

Member since:
27 February 2009
Last activity:
3 years 5 weeks

Word! to GL trusting the audience to think through implications instead of just telling everything. We are getting great storytelling and hopefully this storyline will give people a chance to see why GL fandom has been buzzing lately. Full props to the Guiding Light writers, may the show be around for them to write for for a long time to come!