‘Unsolved Mysteries’

(Above source: Netflix)

Pioneering true crime/paranormal reenactment series Unsolved Mysteries returns this Wednesday, July 1, with six episodes debuting on Netflix.

(Robert Stack on ‘Unsolved Mysteries.’ Source: JustWatch)

The new shows are unhosted, but veteran viewers will always associate Unsolved Mysteries with actor Robert Stack (The Name of the Game, The Untouchables), who hosted the series for 12 seasons (1987-2002: nine on NBC, two on CBS, one on Lifetime).

Unsolved Mysteries was then revived for two seasons on Spike TV (now Paramount Network) from 2008-2010, with actor Dennis Farina (Crime Story, Law & Order) as host.

Cosgrove-Meurer Productions – and since 2017, distributor FilmRise — have repackaged and/or updated the Stack/Farina episodes several times, so the exact number of episodes produced can get confusing. Wikipedia has Farina down for 175 of them, and Stack for some 400. IMDb lists even more episodes.  

From the start, viewers of Unsolved Mysteries were invited to submit tips that might help solve cases (initially via phone or letter, later via the web). We don’t know how many of the cases presented in the show’s various incarnations over the past 33 years have since been solved (each episode included several cases. unlike just one in the new Netflix version, so they number in the hundreds). Nonetheless, you can find loads of old Unsolved Mysteries episodes streaming online.

You can see all 12 Robert Stack seasons free on Crackle, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube or Hoopla (if your library participates in the latter).

IMDb TV throws in four free seasons of Dennis Farina episodes. You can also see eight free seasons of Farina episodes on YouTube.

On the subscription streaming front, Hulu subscribers can see six seasons (80 episodes) of Unsolved Mysteries.

You can also see continuous free streams of the series on Pluto TV, channel 334, and in the TV category at Redbox Free Live TV.

And you can watch Unsolved Mysteries for free over the air via an antenna on Court TV Mystery. The show airs weekdays at 4 pm and 5 pm ET, weeknights at 2 am, and Saturdays at 1 pm and 2 pm. To find your local channel number, visit Court TV Mystery’s Find Us page.

Since the Stack and Farina episodes are available so easily, we’ll regale you instead with three 1987 NBC specials that preceded the series, the first hosted by actor Raymond Burr (Ironside, Perry Mason) and the next two by actor Karl Malden (The Streets of San Francisco, A Streetcar Named Desire):

Finally, we have our own unsolved mystery. Actress Virginia Madsen (Sideways), co-hosted six episodes with Stack during season 11 in 1999. For later repeats, the Madsen episodes were redubbed with Stack’s voice. We searched high and low, but couldn’t find even an excerpt of Madsen on Unsolved Mysteries. If you have one, let us know!

Virginia Madsen on Unsolved Mysteries
(Above: Virginia Madsen. Credit: Enric Teller on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons)

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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