A television show in the Reality TV category, shown by Fox. The Premiere date was July 24, 2001, and there were a total of 8 episodes, though the last two were shown back to back on one night.

The concept is that in a small (fictional) town, Sunrise, Maine, there was a gruesome murder. Nate Flint, his wife, and his daugter, Abby Flint, were killed. At the house, film was found showing the murder from the perspective of the killer, using night-vision equipment. However, no bodies were found.

10 investigators from around the country were brought in to solve this murder, which has a $250,000 reward. These investigators are the ten contestants for the show - Alan, Andrew, Angel, Brian, Jeff, Katie, Kristen, Lindsey, Shirley, and Stacey. There was also a lead investigator, Gary Fredo, who is a real police investigator.

These investigators would need to work together to find clues, piece together what happened, and then eventually compete with each other to solve the murder.

Every three days, a lifeguard would be chosen. This lifeguard would coordinate the investigation, determining who to send on various tracks, each track covering a different area. This lifeguard would also keep in contact with Gary. And as the investigators were warned, any time they are alone, they are in danger of being killed by the killer - so the lifeguard is safe from that for the three days.

The killer is also playing a game with the investigators. There was a list of 15 possible suspects that they would need to investiage. Also, every three days, a pair of envelopes would be dropped off somewhere. Inside the red envelope is a question. If the investigators give the right answer to the question, one of the fifteen suspects would be eliminated.

Then the black envelope would be dealt with. Inside are two smaller envelopes, each holding a map to a location. At one location, a clue to the investigation sits. At the other, the killer awaits. First, the group as a whole votes, in private which investigator, other than the lifeguard, will go to one of the locations. Then the lifeguard will choose the other. This is analogous to voting players off in Survivor, however, since there is no certainty that the person voted for will be eliminated, it does offer a different influence to the game.

Each of the two players that are travelling to the locations record a "Last Will and Testament". This recording determines who will become the next lifeguard should they be killed when they go out.

At the end, when there are three players left, the one who is the lifeguard (who by this time is no longer sitting in the house during the day's investigations, but going out also) sits back, as the other two go out to the locations. The one who dies does not determine the next lifeguard - as the two remaining players will decide which suspect they believe is the murderer, the "last will and testament" will determine which player gets the first choice at the suspect.


My Thoughts On The Show:

The actual game was very interesting, as we watched the players do a lot of serious work in the course of their investigation. They had to dig up graves, deal with angry and stubborn people, collect evidence at bloody and messy crime scenes, stay up all night at stakeouts, wear hidden cameras, and other similar things.

I have never been a fan of so-called "reality" television. I've never watched Survivor, The Mole, or Big Brother. I did watch some of Fear Factor, but I would compare that to looking at the scene of an accident - you don't really want to look, but you can't help it.

MISTX, as the shorthand goes, was different. There was all the personal interaction of other shows, and believe me, plenty of conflict (as Kristin was sent out 5 times before she finally died). But that wasn't what had me hooked. It was watching a very complex and interesting murder mystery unfold before your eyes. There was plenty of time to think about the clues, about the suspects, and put together your own theories - and I had one that was pretty convincing, however, turned out to be incorrect.

If they ever did it again, I would be watching from the beginning.


Postscript: The winner of the game was Angel. Angel was a firefighter in New York City, and was stationed very close to the World Trade Center. He is one of the missing from the events on September 11, 2001. Due to his being on the show, the loss has not only deeply affected his family, but also the other contestants, the cast, and the crew of the show, along with all the fans that watched him over those weeks.

I send my deepest condolences to his family and friends, and hope he is at least found.

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