It’s been two years since much-beloved Hallmark actor Brennan Elliott last starred in a mystery movie for the network — in the fifth installment of his popular “Crossword Mysteries” franchise with Lacey Chabert — but there’s good news for Sleuthers who’ve been eagerly awaiting his return.
Elliott just revealed on the Hallmark Mysteries & More podcast that he’s developing a new mystery franchise with Hallmark. And though some fans may be disappointed that he and Chabert don’t have any immediate plans to reunite for another “Crossword Mysteries” movie, the star didn’t rule out a possible reunion down the line.
The news comes as Elliott turns 48 — on March 24, 2023 — and is excited about starting a new chapter in his career and with his family, after receiving the good news in early March that his wife, Camilla Rowe, has no evidence of disease after her latest surgery for stomach cancer.
Brennan Elliott Shares Status of ‘Crossword Mysteries’
In addition to his traditional Hallmark Channel romances and his most recent drama with Nikki DeLoach, December 2022’s “The Gift of Peace,” Elliott has long been a fan favorite in whodunit movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. In 2016, he starred in three “Flower Shop Mystery” movies opposite Brooke Shields, and he and Chabert co-starred in five “Crossword Mystery” films between 2019 and 2021, with him starring as Detective Logan O’Connor and Chabert playing crossword puzzle editor Tess Harper.
Elliott revealed on the March 15 edition of the Hallmark Mysteries & More podcast that he was surprised that the “Flower Shop” series ended after three movies, and still isn’t sure what was behind that decision. He also said that when he and Chabert were filming “Crossword Mysteries: Riddle Me Dead,” they didn’t expect it would be their last.
“At the time, I thought it was just our fifth movie,” he said. “We were supposed to do three or four more.”
Before the movie premiered in April 2021, he told TV Fanatic, “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.”
Looking back, two years later, he said on the Hallmark Mysteries & More podcast that he’s glad his and Chabert’s long-awaited kiss in “Riddle Me Dead” gave fans a sense of closure.
“Now I look at it and go, ‘Okay, if we’re not gonna do anymore, that was good,’” he said. “That was a great way to end it because we finally had the kiss, we finally got connected, and our characters obviously expressed their feelings for each other through that moment.”
Elliott said he thinks the “Crossword Mysteries” franchise may be “finished,” at least for now, given that Chabert just filmed a second “Dancing Detective” movie with Will Kemp. But he’s always thought the series could continue with the police department hiring Harper, suggesting that then “we could actually be a team on every single case.”
“I thought that (idea) would have been really great and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like (it will continue),” he said, pointing to Chabert’s new franchise with Kemp. “Look, it’s beyond my paygrade, we might do more down the road, I don’t know.”
Elliott said he’s still “dear friends” with Chabert despite not working together the last couple of years.
“We’ll see what the future holds,” he said. “I can see why the fans want it, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to bring them some more content together.”
Brennan Elliott Says He’s Developing New Mystery Franchise With Hallmark
Even if “Crossword Mysteries” doesn’t continue one day, Elliott has plenty of projects in the works now, including developing his own mystery franchise with Hallmark.
He told the Hallmark Mysteries & More podcast, “I’ve pitched a couple of ideas over the years to them and there’s one that we’re working on now, possibly. My own franchise.”
Elliott added that he’s liking the chance to develop it “from the beginning,” to be able to hire the writer, oversee the storylines, and potentially direct. He said bringing it to fruition is “slow-moving, but I’m excited about it … we’re just locking (it) down.”
Though he couldn’t share any specific details, Elliott did say that he wants the movies to be “out of the box” and “a little different” than the typical mystery where someone dies and the characters have to figure out who did it, adding that Hallmark execs have “been really open.”
He said, “They’re like, ‘What do you wanna do?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, let’s discuss it. Let’s collaborate. What do the fans want? What is something they want to see that maybe we aren’t doing?’ You know, we’re in a culture now where we have diversity — I’m talking diverse content — and there’s an audience for everything.”
He continued, “If we just can execute it right, I think it can be a success and hopefully we get three, four or five like we did with ‘Flower Shop’ or ‘Crossword’ and extend it across a number of years and make it a real franchise.”
As for finding the perfect co-star, Elliott said, “There’s nobody I won’t work with. I am excited to see what the future holds because there’s so many that I haven’t worked with and there’s such a new breed of actors coming in, too. So yeah, the future looks hopeful.”
In December, Elliott posted a photo on Instagram that his wife took of him on the phone at lunch, joking that she was showing him being a “hustler.”
He wrote, “Ahh when your better half at lunch thinks it’s funny to catch you on the phone trying to finalize a deal you’ve been working on in secret for a long time!”
Elliott has been juggling work — appearing in three Hallmark movies in 2022, per The List — with caring for Rowe, who was diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2018. A recurrence in early 2022 led to a stage 4 diagnosis and multiple surgeries, including one in early March that provided the good news that her cancer is in remission again.
To celebrate his March 24 birthday, Rowe posted a tribute to him on Instagram.
“I thank God for blessing me with an amazing partner,” she wrote. I knew he was everything and more when I married him, but I have been impressed time and time again with his heart. His love for others and this world, despite what he has lost and sacrificed. Thank you for being you.”