The 11 Best 'Pushing Daisies' Case-Of-The-Week Mysteries From Deep Fried Death To Candy Shop Espionage
There is so much to love about Pushing Daisies. From its fairy tale aesthetic to its quip-happy characters, there has never been another show like it on television. Because the show has such a distinctive look, it is easy to forget that Pushing Daisies was also a superior mystery series. Ned and the Pie Hole crew dealt with unforgettable cases of the week unlike anything you would find on Law and Order.
Case of the week shows are plentiful on TV, but they rarely involve intricate references to Alfred Hitchcock movies, a nod to old school noir tropes, and a healthy dollop of whimsy. Thanks to Ned's ability to raise the dead (briefly), the Pie Hole Gang found themselves embroiled in some unique mysteries over the course of the show's all too short two seasons. Despite the cheery colors and quirky sets, Pushing Daisies had a taste for the macabre that always showed up in the grisly deaths it concocted each week — this is a show where someone was deep fried and brought back to life long enough to take a bite out of himself, after all.
Because so much of the story was grounded by comedy, P ushing Daisies could get away with a level of weirdness in its cases of the week that most shows could only dream of. This show is a true paradise for mystery fans, and if you want top notch cases, you need to revisit these 11 episodes.
The first case of the week was also the show's greatest because it kicked off the emotional journeys of all the characters. Who killed Charlotte "Chuck" Charles is a deeply personal mystery for Ned — and for Chuck once she returns to the land of the living.
2. "Comfort Food"
A completely morbid KFC parody finds Colonel Likkin deep fried to death and his secret recipe stolen. Olive and Ned are on the case though, and as usual, they prove to be one of the show's best pairings.
3. "Circus, Circus"
Clowns just keep turning up dead when Ned and Emerson try to find a girl who literally ran away and joined the circus. The sight gags are a big part of this episode's appeal, but the mystery is also refreshingly twisty.
4. "The Legend of Merle McQuoddy"
The Alfred Hitchcock vibes are strong throughout the case of Merle McQuoddy. With a ghostly lighthouse legend, a dark and stormy night, and the exquisite Olive and Emerson pairing, this case is both full of gothic touches and funny.
Figuring out what is going on in "Pigeon" is no easy task, thanks in large part to an incredible guest turn by Jayma Mays whose character's motives remain a mystery right until the very end.
6. "Water & Power"
Pushing Daisies goes full noir for a case involving Emerson's ex (and the mother of his child). This is another instance of the show giving the case of the week a personal twist for maximum emotional impact.
7. "Bitter Sweets"
Olive and Chuck engage in a bit of espionage when a sweet shop opens across the street from the Pie Hole. That only makes them look more suspicious when one of the store's employees turns up dead.
The one and only Pushing Daisies' Halloween episode both delves into Olive's past as a jockey and features a case that forces Ned to consider that he may not be the only supernatural thing in town.
A rent-a-friend scheme goes awry and the world is introduced to the wonderful and slightly odd Randy Mann in the process.
10. "Dim Sum, Lose Sum"
The whole gang goes undercover at a Chinese restaurant to investigate the murder of a chef, and yes, the unraveling of this case is as entertaining as you are imagining it to be.
11. "The Norwegians"
Two groups of detectives, one mystery, and Olive defecting — there's no way this episode wasn't going to make the list.
Pushing Daisies is beloved for its sense of wonder, memorable characters, and intricate world, but these episodes prove it was also one of the best case-of-the-week shows on TV.