Hallmark just took one giant leap into the world of period murder mysteries with their new film, Gilded Newport Mysteries: Murder at the Breakers. The 1895-set movie follows society columnist Emma Vanderbilt-Cross (Ali Skovbye) as she finds herself cooped up at her distant relatives’ iconic Newport cottage in the midst of — you guessed it — a murder investigation. Emma’s skin in the game? Her beloved half-brother Brady Cross (James Drew Dean) is the prime suspect. While Emma attempts to clear her brother’s name, she finds herself flirting with the handsome local investigator, Jesse Whyte (Danny Griffin), and a dashing newcomer to Newport.
While Gilded Newport Mysteries: Murder at the Breakers might scratch that Gilded Age, or even Murder She Wrote, itch, we can’t help but wonder if Hallmark is trying to launch its own version of Miss Scarlet and the Duke. You know, a fun murder mystery show where you’re just dying for the spunky heroine and dashing detective to get it together and kiss already?
Well, when Decider got a chance to chat with Gilded Newport Mysteries: Murder at the Breakers stars Ali Skovbye and Danny Griffin during Hallmark’s day at the Winter 2024 TCA Press Tour, we couldn’t help but ask them about the potential for a Jesse/Emma romance.
“There’s a bit of a love triangle going on in the show,” Griffin says. “There’s I mean, there’s a lovely relationship dynamic between us two because of course, we are friends and we go back a little way. But of course, when your step-brother gets involved and I’m a detective, but we’re also friends. It brings us very close together.”
Griffin then nervously looked at Skovbye. “Ali, what would you say? I mean, I’m a spoiler, like, king.”
“No, no, but we do,” Skovbye said. “ I will say this isn’t just a ‘business mystery.’ There is a ton of romance. There’s a bit of a love triangle. There are definitely some sparks budding between Jesse and Emma. Between the love triangle and us, like, I think there’s just so many different directions and ways for this to go, and I think it really keeps everyone on their toes.”
While Jesse, Emma, and the rest of the characters in Gilded Newport Mysteries might be veering off in different directions, Skovbye and Griffin seem firmly on the same page on many topics, from the future of the potential franchise to their favorite Emma look.
“I did wear a corset every day,” Skovbye said when Decider asked her about the dreaded period drama mainstay. “It was not mandatory, but I did do it voluntarily because I have a very bad posture. So I needed a physical reminder.”
“But I will say I think my favorite costume is the beautiful blue dress I wore at the ball because it felt like my own little Cinderella.”
“That is one of the best,” Griffin said. “I think it’s my favorite that you wear as well.”
When Decider asked the stars if they’d be game for more Gilded Newport Mysteries, they were effusive about their love for the project.
“Oh, my goodness. Of course,” Skovbye said.
“100%,” Griffin concurred.
“We had the absolute best time filming this together,” Skovbye said. “Danny is one of my favorite people ever and all we can hope for is that people love watching the show as much as we loved making the show.”
Gilded Newport Mysteries: Murder at the Breakers only premiered in the last week, so it’s still too soon to know if we’ll see more of Emma, Jesse, and their adventures. During Hallmark’s Mystery panel at Winter 2024 TCA, Elizabeth Yost, SVP Development of Hallmark Media, did confirm there was interest in continuing with the series, but they were waiting on more metrics.
Danny Griffin, at least, can vouch for two mega-fans who want to see more.
“My mother, for one, loved the show. She’s in her fifties. My grandmother loved the show. She’s in her seventies,” Griffin said. “I think it appeals to all age ranges and I think it’s quite rare you get shows like that, I think because it’s set in 1895 there’s something for everyone to sort of latch on to whether it be younger or older. I think it’s a great balance.”