Harper's Island

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"Harper's Island"
Intertitle of Harper's Island
Created by Ari Schlossberg
Starring Elaine Cassidy
Christopher Gorham
Katie Cassidy
Cameron Richardson
Adam Campbell
C.J. Thomason
Jim Beaver
See below
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Jeffrey Jackson Bell
Ari Schlossberg
Jon Turteltaub
Running time 42-45 minutes
Production company(s) CBS Paramount Network Television
Junction Entertainment
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original channel CBS
Original release April 9, 2009 (2009-04-09) – July 11, 2009 (2009-07-11)
External links

Harper's Island is a horror thriller/mystery limited series created by Ari Schlossberg. It aired on CBS during the 2008–2009 season. The series premiered on April 9, 2009, at 10:00 pm ET/PT. Harper's Island had one season of thirteen episodes.[1] At least one character, and as many as five, were killed off in 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, 2009.

The series was shot on Bowen Island, an island municipality about two kilometers west of Vancouver, British Columbia, 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 two actors to know the length of their contracts were Richard Burgi, as his death was seen as a major turning point in the series,[3] and Harry Hamlin, as his contract was for a single episode.[4]

Cast and characters [edit]

Main cast[edit]

Guest stars[edit]


Other stars[edit]

  • Callum Keith Rennie as John Wakefield, The Legend, the perpetrator of the 2001 murders. (Although Callum Keith Rennie was not part of the 25 main stars, he was credited as a guest star)
  • Dean Wray as Cole Harkin, The Survivor, the survivor of the 2001 murders and the sheriff's former deputy.


In March 2008, CBS ordered a 15-minute pilot presentation of the project. In May 2008, the show was retooled, with Jeffrey Bell coming on board as showrunner and Jon Turteltaub as an executive producer. Schlossberg remained on board as a co-executive producer along with Karim Zriek and Dan Shotz.[11]

Bell subsequently rewrote the first episode which Jon Turteltaub would direct. During the retooling process, six of the pilot presentation's fifteen original cast members 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.[12]

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.[13]


The television show is a horror thriller/mystery, described as Scream meets And Then There Were None[citation needed].

The show takes place on Harper's Island, where John Wakefield went on a killing spree and murdered a number of people before supposedly being killed by the island sheriff, Charlie Mills. One of the victims was the sheriff's wife. After her death, Sheriff Mills sends their daughter, Abby, to live with family in LA and she hasn't returned since. After 7 years, Abby is finally returning to the island for her best friend Henry's wedding but now the killing starts again and everyone is a suspect. The guests manage to unlock secrets of the island and of Wakefield as the series progresses.

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, based on the sound made when the victim dies:[citation needed]

  • Whap: Cousin Ben's decapitation by the boat propeller and Uncle Marty being cut in half.
  • Crackle: Lucy burning to death.
  • Ka-Blam: Hunter opening the hood of the boat and the shotgun shooting his face off.
  • Bang: Booth accidentally shooting himself.
  • Thwack: The headspade falling from the chandelier and going through Thomas' head.
  • Sploosh: The harpoon pulling Richard back after going through him.
  • Thrack, Splat, Sizzle: Malcolm being hit; blood splatter; and Malcolm's hand touching the furnace.
  • Gurgle: 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: Sheriff Mills' neck snapping from a rope.
  • Splash: Cal hitting the water after being murdered and thrown off a bridge by John Wakefield; Chloe falling in the water after committing suicide instead of letting herself get caught upon witnessing Cal's death.
  • Gasp: Trish gasping for air after being stabbed.
  • Sigh: Henry sighing as he dies.

Death chart[edit]

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 suspects during the episodes. 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. At the end of the 2008-2009 television season the show ranged at #50 being viewed in approximately 9,360,000 homes in North America.

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 pm. In the United Kingdom, the show's ratings started off under average but as the series progressed it became the BBC Three channel's number one show on Sundays, and therefore maintained the 9pm slot. In Finland, the program was aired at 9:00 pm during the whole season. The series has been aired multiple times on Malaysia's RTM channel tv2, every Wednesday and Thursday nights airing at midnight.

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[edit]

Harper's Globe is a social web series, designed to complement Harper's Island.[14] The series is created by EQAL (creators of lonelygirl15, KateModern, LG15: The Resistance) and CBS Interactive.[15] 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."[16]

The character Ben, who was the first character to die in Harper's Island, was first seen in a Harper's Globe episode.[17] The series also features appearances by Harper's Island characters Sheriff Mills, Nikki Bolton, Maggie Krell and John Wakefield.

DVD release[edit]

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.[18] Although the show was shot in HD, no Blu-ray Disc version of the show has been announced. The DVD set was released on February 8, 2010, for Region 2,[19] and was released on March 4, 2010, for Region 4.[20]

Internet release[edit]

Since Summer 2014 Netflix screened the full series, all 13 Episodes on its website. The show was removed from Netflix on 1 July 2015 after the Netflix licence expired.[21] The show became available on Amazon Instant Video, free from Amazon Prime members, otherwise available for purchase.[22]


  1. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/tv/story/988242.html[dead link]
  2. ^ Zreik, Karim (2009-04-08). "Notes of an Assassin, Harper's Island TV Show, Karim Zreik Blog | TWoP - Preview to a Kill". Televisionwithoutpity.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  3. ^ Zreik, Karim (2009-05-11). "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.". Televisionwithoutpity.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  4. ^ Hilary Rothing, "Harper's Island - Harry Hamlin Interview," UGO Entertainment (April 10, 2009)
  5. ^ Jennifer Armstrong, "Who's Who on Harper's Island," Entertainment Weekly (Mar 27, 2009).
  6. ^ Ava Gacser, "JERSEYANS ARE EVERYWHERE," Asbury Park Press (April 3, 2009).
  7. ^ Maria Gonzalez, "Harper's Island: Killing's Such a "Snap"," BuddyTV (June 20, 2009).
  8. ^ Maria Gonzalez, "Harper's Island: Meet "Thrack, Splack, Sizzle"," BuddyTV (May 30, 2009).
  9. ^ Maria Gonzalez, "Harper's Island: The Mysteries "Seep" Through," BuddyTV (June 13, 2009).
  10. ^ Jarrett McCall, " Fashion divas and murder mysteries," Sidelines (6/3/09).
  11. ^ "Jeffrey Bell is Harper's showrunner", Hollywood Reporter
  12. ^ "CBS Begins Overhauling Harper's Island - Elaine Cassidy may be the only actor kept from the original pilot", Zap2it
  13. ^ http://storage.canalblog.com/23/99/395902/27358445.jpg
  14. ^ "Web series Harper’s Globe will intertwine with CBS' Island". Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  15. ^ "Mystery of CBS' 'Island' will deepen online". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  16. ^ "Wondercon 2009: Exclusive — We Talk 'Harper's Globe' with Creator Miles Beckett". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  17. ^ Escape From Harper's Island (Web production). EQAL & CBS. 2009-04-08. 
  18. ^ "Harper's Island: The DVD Edition: Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Cameron Richardson, Adam Campbell, Richard Burgi, Jim Beaver, Victor Webster, Jay Brazeau, Dean Chekvala, Matt Barr, Gina Holden, Craig R. Baxley, Guy Norman Bee, James Whitmore Jr., Jon Turteltaub, Rick Bota, Sanford Bookstaver, Scott Peters, Seith Mann: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  19. ^ "Harper's Island - Complete Season [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Matt Barr, Gina Holden: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  20. ^ "Harper's Island - The DVD Edition (4 Disc Set)". Ezydvd.com.au. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  21. ^ "Netflix Roulette: ‘Harper’s Island’ A Fun Take on Agatha Christie!". BD. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  22. ^ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HF0GFW/

External links[edit]