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Harper's Island
Intertitle of Harper's island
Format Horror, Mystery Crime
Created by Ari Schlossberg
Starring See below
Country of origin  USA
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Jeffrey Bell
Ari Schlossberg
Jon Turteltaub
Running time 42 minutes
Original channel CBS
Original run April 9, 2009 (2009-04-09) – July 11, 2009 (2009-07-11)
External links
Official website

Harper's Island was a horror thriller/mystery created by Ari Schlossberg for CBS's 2008–2009 television season. The series premiered on April 9, 2009, at 10:00 pm ET/PT. Harper's Island had only one season with 13 episodes.[1] One or more characters were killed during each episode. The first three episodes aired on Thursdays, but CBS moved the program to Saturdays during the week of April 28. The final episode aired on July 11.

The series was shot on Bowen Island, an island municipality about two kilometers west of Vancouver in Canada's British Columbia province, and at the University of British Columbia.

The actors and actresses were not told about their characters' deaths until the day that each script was given.[2] The only actor to know the length of his contract was Richard Burgi, as his death was seen as a major turning point in the series.[3]


Cast and characters


Main cast

Guest stars



In March 2008, CBS ordered a 15 minute pilot presentation of the project. In May 2008, the show was retooled, with Jeffrey Bell coming onboard as showrunner and Jon Turteltaub as an executive producer. Schlossberg remained onboard as a co-executive producer along with Karim Zriek and Dan Shotz.[10]

Bell subsequently rewrote the first episode which Jon Turteltaub would direct. During the retooling process six of the fifteen original castmembers from the pilot presentation were replaced, including Ryan Merriman (Henry Dunn), Samantha Noble (Trish Wellington), Bill Dow (Sheriff Mills) and Bill Pullman (Uncle Marty). The roles of Thomas Wellington and Hunter Jennings were also recast.[11]

Actors who remained with the show from pilot-presentation to the aired television pilot include Elaine Cassidy, Cameron Richardson, Adam Campbell, C.J. Thomason, Matt Barr, Cassandra Sawtell, Brandon Jay McLaren, Chris Gauthier and Sean Rogerson.[12]


The television show is a horror thriller/mystery, described as Scream meets And Then There Were None[citation needed]: when friends and family come to Harper's Island for the wedding of Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington, a serial killer murders the guests one by one, with only a few surviving.

Mainly, the story is about the wedding of Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington, which takes place in Harper's Island. One of the guests, Abby Mills, is still haunted about the murders that happened seven years before, caused by John Wakefield. Suddenly, the wedding guests are killed one by one, and everybody is a suspect. The guests manage to unlock secrets of the island and of Wakefield as the series progresses. Later on it is revealed that Wakefield is alive and is the killer and Henry is his accomplice. In the second to the last episode, it's revealed that Abby's mother and Wakefield had an affair and Abby's mother ended up giving up Wakefield's son. There's mystery surrounding who that child is, until the end of the penultimate episode where it's revealed that Henry is Wakefield's son. In the end, Abby, Jimmy Mance (Abby's boyfriend), Shea Allen (The Matron of Honor) and Shea's daughter Madison survive the series.

In addition to a web series based on the show, CBS's multimedia promotion includes a live online chat on a Fancast Forum each week with the "murder victim" from the Saturday night U.S. broadcast, where questions and comments from viewers trying to solve the mystery are encouraged, as well as providing a behind-the-scenes view from the series.

The titles for the episodes of Harper's Island are onomatopoeic and based on the sound that is made when the victim dies:[citation needed]
Whap: The sound made during the bifurcation of Marty Dunn.
Crackle: The sound of Lucy burning to death.
Ka-Blam: The sound of Hunter opening the hood of the boat and the shotgun shooting his face off.
Bang: The sound of Booth accidentally shooting himself.
Thwack: The sound of the headspade falling from the chandelier and going through Thomas' head.
Sploosh: The sound of the harpoon pulling Richard back after going through him.
Thrack, Splat, Sizzle: The sound of Malcolm being hit; the sound of blood; and the sound of Malcolm's hand touching the furnace.
Gurgle: The sound of J.D. bleeding to death after being cut open.
Seep: Katherine's blood seeping from the sheets of the couch after being stabbed in the back with pruning shears.
Snap: The sound of Sheriff Mills' neck snapping from a rope.
Splash: The sound of Cal hitting the water after being murdered and thrown off a bridge by John Wakefield; the sound of Chloe falling in the water after committing suicide upon witnessing Cal's death.
Gasp: The sound of Trish gasping for air after being stabbed.
Sigh: The sound of Henry sighing as he dies.

Death chart

Characters Ep 1 Ep 2 Ep 3 Ep 4 Ep 5 Ep 6 Ep 7 Ep 8 Ep 9 Ep 10 Ep 11 Ep 12 Ep 13
Henry                                                          †    X 
Wakefield                                                †              X 
Sully                                                               X 
Trish                                                          X 
Danny                                                          X 
Chloe                                                     X 
Cal                                                     X 
Deputy Lillis                                                     X 
Shane                                                     X 
Nikki                                                     X 
Sheriff Mills                                                X 
Maggie                                                X 
Officer Coulter                                                X 
Officer Riggens                                                X 
Katherine                                           X 
Beth                                           X 
J.D.                                      X 
Cole Harkin                                      X 
Deputy Garrett                                      X 
Malcolm                                 X 
Richard                            X 
Thomas                       X 
Booth                  X 
Hunter             X 
Lucy        X 
Kelly        X 
Reverend Fain        X 
Uncle Marty   X 
Cousin Ben   X 
Characters listed in bold are among the primary twenty-five suspects. Other entries are characters who were victims or otherwise important characters.
     This person stays alive in the episode.
  X  This person dies in the episode.
  †  This person is revealed as a killer in the episode.


Despite falling ratings, CBS aired all Harper's Island episodes, although the show was moved from its original night and time to Saturdays.

In Australia, Harper's Island ratings were extremely underwhelming, being beaten by competing shows on other networks. After episode 2 was aired in Australia (episode 1 and 2 aired at 9:40pm), it was moved to a late night timeslot of 1:25am, episodes 9 and 10 were aired at the time of 11:20, episode 11 was aired at 2:15am, episode 12 and 13 were aired at 12:20. In Canada, the show continued to air on Thursday nights at 10 PM on GlobalTV. In Denmark, Harper's Island was moved after episode 5 from Thursdays 22:50 to around midnight. In Ireland the show stayed on its original Monday night airing time at 10:00 GMT. In the United Kingdom, the show's ratings started off under average but as the series progressed it became the channel's number one show on Sundays, and therefore maintained the 9pm slot.

Episode # US Air Date Rating Share Rating/Share (18-49) Viewers
1 Thursday, April 9, 2009 6.5 11 2.6/8 10.21
2 Thursday, April 16, 2009 5.1 9 2.2/6 7.82
3 Thursday, April 23, 2009 4.7 9 1.9/5 7.02
4 Saturday, May 2, 2009 3.1 6 1.0/3 4.61
5 Saturday, May 9, 2009 3.1 6 1.1/3 4.60
6 Saturday, May 23, 2009 2.5 5 1.0/4 3.85
7 Saturday, May 30, 2009 2.4 5 0.9/3 3.62
8 Saturday, June 6, 2009 2.4 5 0.9/3 3.56
9 Saturday, June 13, 2009 2.0 4 0.8/3 3.20
10 Saturday, June 20, 2009 TBA TBA 0.9/4 3.79
11 Saturday, June 27, 2009 2.4 5 0.8/3 3.53
12 Saturday, July 11, 2009 2.4 5 0.8/3 3.63
13 Saturday, July 11, 2009 2.6 5 1.0/3 4.05

Harper's Globe

Harper's Globe is a social web series, designed to complement Harper's Island.[13] The series is created by EQAL (creators of lonelygirl15, KateModern, LG15: The Resistance) and CBS Interactive.[14] The show premiered its weekly episodes on March 18, 2009, and ran for a total of sixteen weeks. It stars Melanie Merkosky, who played the character Jennie in lonelygirl15.

Creator Miles Beckett says of the series, "The story of Harper's Globe is about a girl named Robin, with a very mysterious past, who's gone to Harper's Island to work for the newspaper, Harper's Globe, and to digitize articles from the newspaper and to create a community online for the Harper's Globe newspaper and the citizens of Harper's Island. And then she gets pulled into the story as it begins to unfold on the island."[15]

The character Ben, who was the first character to die in Harper's Island, was first seen in a Harper's Globe episode.[16] The series also features appearances by Harper's Island characters Sheriff Mills, Nikki Bolton, Maggie Krell and John Wakefield.

DVD release

On September 8, 2009, CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released Harper's Island: The DVD Edition, a complete series box set on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[17] Although the show was shot in HD, no Blu-Ray Disc version of the set has been confirmed. The DVD set was released on February 8, 2010 for Region 2,[18] and will be released on March 4, 2010 for Region 4.[19]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "So, at the start of production back in August, we signed Richard Burgi to a five-episode deal. Richard knew that his time would be up in week 5 (the only actor on the show to have that sort of information), so it came as no surprise when I approached him to deliver the news."
  4. ^ Jennifer Armstrong, "Who's Who on Harper's Island," Entertainment Weekly (Mar 27, 2009).
  5. ^ Ava Gacser, "JERSEYANS ARE EVERYWHERE," Asbury Park Press (April 3, 2009).
  6. ^ Maria Gonzalez, "Harper's Island: Killing's Such a "Snap"," BuddyTV (June 20, 2009).
  7. ^ Maria Gonzalez, "Harper's Island: Meet "Thrack, Splack, Sizzle"," BuddyTV (May 30, 2009).
  8. ^ Maria Gonzalez, "Harper's Island: The Mysteries "Seep" Through," BuddyTV (June 13, 2009).
  9. ^ Jarrett McCall, "Fashion divas and murder mysteries," Sidelines (6/3/09).
  10. ^ "Jeffrey Bell is Harper's showrunner", Hollywood Reporter
  11. ^ "CBS Begins Overhauling Harper's Island - Elaine Cassidy may be the only actor kept from the original pilot", Zap2it
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Web series Harper’s Globe will intertwine with CBS' Island". Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  14. ^ "Mystery of CBS' 'Island' will deepen online". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  15. ^ "Wondercon 2009: Exclusive — We Talk 'Harper's Globe' with Creator Miles Beckett". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  16. ^ Escape From Harper's Island. [Web production]. EQAL & CBS. 2009-04-08. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links


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