The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo

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The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo
The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.png
Genre Children's
Created by Alan Goodman
Starring Irene Ng
Pat Morita
Adam Busch
Preslaysa Edwards
Steve Purnick
Ellen David
Eleanor Noble
Noah Klar
Country of origin Canada
United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 41 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Alan Goodman (seasons 1–3)
Micheline Charest (season 4)
Ronald A. Weinberg (season 4)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Production company(s) Out of My Mind Productions
Original network Nickelodeon
Original release March 16, 1996 (1996-03-16) – December 20, 1998 (1998-12-20)

The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo is a Canadian-American children's mystery television series that ran on Nickelodeon between 1996 and 1998. A total of 41 episodes of 30 minutes each were produced. Episodes from the first three seasons were taped at the now defunct Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida, and was one of the few single-camera productions there, while season 4 episodes were shot in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The series first aired in March 1996 as a six-episode test run, since Nickelodeon usually produced one major new series at a time and they were already producing Space Cases.[1] The success of the test run prompted Nickelodeon to re-introduce the series on SNICK in January 1997, along with seven new episodes.[1] During the show's third season, production stopped after eight of a proposed thirteen episodes were filmed due to a crew strike, as the show's budget did not cover the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees's demands, partly due to the decision to shoot film instead of videotape.[2] Production resumed in Montreal in February 1998, after Cinar agreed to co-produce the series.[3] As a result, the show's setting changed from Cocoa Beach, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts.

Starring Irene Ng as the title character, the series revolves around the adventures of a Chinese American teenage girl who lives with her innkeeper grandfather and works as a non-sworn intern at the local police department where she helps out with odds and ends around the office. Occasionally an intriguing case comes to Shelby's attention, prompting her to apply her unique insight and enlist the help of her friends to solve it. Her supervisors, however, do not appreciate her help, as she is only a teenager. Her grandfather also does not want her getting involved in cases, often reminding her, "We are not detectives with warrant badges, we are innkeepers with brooms." Many of the stories, with three clear suspects, keep the audience guessing until the truth is ultimately explained.

On December 28, 2011, TeenNick aired the episode "The Smoke Screen Case" on the The '90s Are All That block. The series began airing on a more permanent basis in late October 2015 on The '90s Are All That's successor block, The Splat.


Primary characters[edit]

  • Shelby Woo (Irene Ng): Main protagonist of the show, who solves mysteries and is an overachiever. She lives in Florida in Seasons 1-3 and moved to Boston with her grandfather in Season 4. Despite Woo being portrayed as a teenager, Ng was 24 years old by the end of the series. Shelby's parents aren't seen though are mentioned in episode S1Ep05 "Hot Seats" to be in China after Shelby receives a package from them.
  • Michael "Mike" Woo (Pat Morita): Shelby's loving grandfather and legal guardian who is looking after Shelby while her parents are in China. He's a practical retired detective with the San Francisco PD. Mike doesn't want Shelby to solve mysteries because he's afraid that she'll get hurt.
  • Cindy Ornette (Preslaysa Edwards): Shelby's perky best friend in Cocoa Beach; like Shelby, she likes getting involved in cases. Cindy is close to her cousin Wayne.
  • Noah Allen (Adam Busch): Shelby's other best friend in Cocoa Beach; he doesn't like getting involved in cases. Noah wants to be an actor.
  • Detective Whit Hineline (Steve Purnick): Works at the Cocoa Beach PD; he is Shelby's sarcastic former boss and doesn't like her interfering in his investigations. Detective Hineline does care about Shelby's well-being.
  • Detective Sharon Delancey (Ellen David): Works at the Boston PD, and is Shelby's new boss. While she isn't thrilled with Shelby's help, she is more accepting of it than Detective Hineline was.
  • Angela "Angie" Burns (Eleanor Noble): Shelby's new best friend from Boston who replaces Cindy; very good at science and applies that knowledge in certain cases.
  • Vincent "Vince" Rosania (Noah Klar): Shelby's other new best friend from Boston who replaces Noah; originally a suspect in one of Shelby's first cases in Boston.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Detective Muldoon (Angelo Tsarouchas): heavy set detective who assists Shelby in a few cases in Detective Delancey's absence; does needlepoint
  • Will (Joshua Harto): works at CJ's burger joint where Shelby and her friends hang out in Cocoa Beach; known for breaking things or coming up with poorly-thought-out ideas
  • Christie Sayers (Jennifer Finnigan): Shelby's nemesis who is determined to solve a case before she does and fails each time; only appears in season 4


All 12 episodes from seasons 1 and 2 are available for download on the iTunes Store and Amazon Video.

On November 24, 2014 the full series was released on DVD through Amazon's CreateSpace service


  1. ^ a b "Shelby Woo, Relentless Girl Detective". The New York Times. 16 February 1997. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Woo producer: lousy weather, unruly unions". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Brendan Kelly. "Cinar picks Nick to 'Woo'". Variety. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 

External links[edit]