The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo

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 Mystery Files of Shelby Woo
The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.png
Created byAlan Goodman
StarringIrene Ng
Pat Morita
Adam Busch
Preslaysa Edwards
Steve Purnick
Jeremy Lakemacher
Ellen David
Eleanor Noble
Noah Klar
Composer(s)Bill Johnson
Country of originCanada
United States
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes41 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Alan Goodman (seasons 1–3)
Micheline Charest (season 4)
Ronald A. Weinberg (season 4)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Out of My Mind Productions
Nickelodeon Productions
Cinar (Season 4)
Original networkNickelodeon
Original releaseMarch 16, 1996 (1996-03-16) –
December 20, 1998 (1998-12-20)


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 '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 charactersEdit

  • Shelby Woo (Irene Ng): Main protagonist of the show, who solves mysteries and is an overachiever. She lives in Cocoa Beach, Florida in Seasons 1-3 and moved to Massachusetts, 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. He becomes Shelby's love interest.

Recurring charactersEdit

  • 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

Series overviewEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16March 16, 1996 (1996-03-16)April 21, 1996 (1996-04-21)
27January 4, 1997 (1997-01-04)February 22, 1997 (1997-02-22)
38September 28, 1997 (1997-09-28)August 27, 1998 (1998-08-27)
420September 6, 1998 (1998-09-06)October 25, 1998 (1998-10-25)


Season 1 (1996)Edit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
1"Hot Seats"Maggie GreenwaldAlan GoodmanMarch 16, 1996 (1996-03-16)101
Shelby must clear a scalper's name when he's framed for giving out counterfeit concert tickets.
2"Hot Seats: Part 2"Maggie GreenwaldAlan GoodmanMarch 16, 1996 (1996-03-16)102
Conclusion. The mystery tightens when the young man accused of selling fake tickets vanishes.
3"Wipeout"Maggie GreenwaldJoyce WadlerMarch 31, 1996 (1996-03-31)103
When a local surf champ is poisoned, his rival is blamed. Shelby must prove the man's innocence.
4"Fool's Gold"Chuck VinsonPaul Stubenrauch James PontiApril 7, 1996 (1996-04-07)104
A priceless gold coin is stolen from a local surf shop.
5"The Missing Dolphin"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerApril 14, 1996 (1996-04-14)105
A popular dolphin vanishes from a research facility in Cocoa Beach.
6"The Missing Astronaut"Chuck VinsonCarin Greenberg BakerApril 21, 1996 (1996-04-21)106
A NASA astronaut is kidnapped during a party held in his honor at Shelby's own house.

Season 2 (1997)Edit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
7"The Alligator Mystery"Chuck VinsonSuzanne CollinsJanuary 4, 1997 (1997-01-04)201
A gambling addict goes missing in an alligator park.
8"Eye of the Storm"Maggie GreenwaldJames PontiJanuary 11, 1997 (1997-01-11)202
During a hurricane, a valuable watch is stolen from its safe.
9"The Alley Cat"Chuck VinsonTBAJanuary 18, 1997 (1997-01-18)203
A criminal who eluded Shelby's grandfather resurfaces.
10"The Smoke Screen Case"Allison LiddiSuzanne CollinsJanuary 25, 1997 (1997-01-25)204
Shelby investigates an arson that covered up the disappearances of animals.
11"Tag, Not It"Chuck VinsonJames PontiFebruary 1, 1997 (1997-02-01)205
Shelby, Cindi, and Noah must clear Cindi's cousin's name when he's framed for graffiti.
12"The Case of the Knockout Gas"Maggie GreenwaldTBAFebruary 15, 1997 (1997-02-15)206
Cashiers at local mini-marts are being knocked unconscious by gas seeping through air vents. Who is responsible?
13"Two Faced"Allison LiddiTBAFebruary 22, 1997 (1997-02-22)207
It is a case of mistaken identity when Noah is kidnapped due to his resemblance to a son of a scientist.

Season 3 (1997–98)Edit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
14"The Hit and Run Case"Allison LiddiSuzanne CollinsSeptember 28, 1997 (1997-09-28)301
Detective Hineline is framed for a hit and run.
15"The Shell Game Mystery"Allison LiddiJames PontiOctober 5, 1997 (1997-10-05)302
Someone takes advantage of a campaign to help sea turtles to commit robberies.
16"Mystery in the Wilderness"Allison LiddiAlan GoodmanOctober 12, 1997 (1997-10-12)303
A thief steals a computer chip during Shelby, Cindi, and Noah's nature trip.
17"The Mascot Mystery"Maggie GreenwaldJames PontiOctober 26, 1997 (1997-10-26)304
The school mascot assaults the soccer champ.
18"The Hot Dog Mystery"TBATBANovember 2, 1997 (1997-11-02)305
Students get sick from eating the school's hot dogs.
19"The Macbeth Mystery"Maggie GreenwaldTBANovember 9, 1997 (1997-11-09)306
Accidents begin to plague a play.
20"The John Doe Mystery"Maggie GreenwaldJames PontiAugust 25, 1998 (1998-08-25)307
An amnesiac man may play a role in the search for a missing satellite
21"The Seminole Mystery"Maggie GreenwaldSuzanne CollinsAugust 27, 1998 (1998-08-27)308
An authentic Seminole weapon is stolen.

Season 4 (1998)Edit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
22"The Paul Revere Mystery"Adam WeissmanAlan GoodmanSeptember 6, 1998 (1998-09-06)401
Shelby is a suspect when someone steals a silver bowl made by Paul Revere himself.
23"The Spare Parts Mystery"Adam WeissmanSuzanne CollinsSeptember 13, 1998 (1998-09-13)402
Shelby has to find who has been stealing parts from cars being worked on at the school's auto shop.
24"The Skin Deep Mystery"Lorette LeblancTBASeptember 20, 1998 (1998-09-20)403
Shelby goes undercover at a beauty pageant where mysterious accidents are occurring.
25"The Itchy Shorts Mystery"Adam WeissmanTBASeptember 27, 1998 (1998-09-27)404
Someone has stolen the basketball team's money and put itching powder in their uniforms.
26"The Robot Mystery"Jim DonovanTBAOctober 4, 1998 (1998-10-04)405
A brilliant inventor has been attacked, and some of his blueprints have been stolen.
27"The Art Attack Mystery"Jean-Marie ComeauTBAOctober 11, 1998 (1998-10-11)406
A new outdoor art exhibit has been trashed and the artist disappears shortly thereafter.
28"The Baseball Fan Mystery"Adam WeissmanTBAOctober 13, 1998 (1998-10-13)407
Shelby investigates the disappearance of four valuable baseball cards.
29"The Yearbook Mystery"Lorette LeblancTBAOctober 18, 1998 (1998-10-18)408
Shelby and her friends investigate why page 86 is missing from most of the yearbooks.
30"The UFO Mystery"Lorette LeblancTBAOctober 20, 1998 (1998-10-20)409
Shelby sets out to disprove a UFO sighting.
31"The Haunted House Mystery"Lorette LeblancTBAOctober 25, 1998 (1998-10-25)410
Shelby helps a woman who believes her house is being haunted.
32"The Moon Rock Mystery"Adam WeissmanTBANovember 1, 1998 (1998-11-01)411
A rock from the moon is stolen from an exhibit at a space camp.
33"The Egg Mystery"Adam WeissmanTBATBA412
In 1926, a priceless Faberge egg vanished from what later became the Easterly Breeze. 70 years later, Shelby's grandfather attempts to reenact the crime.
34"The Jinxed Campaign Mystery"Jean-Marie ComeauTBATBA413
Shelby gets involved with politics when someone tries to get a mayor candidate to drop from the race.
35"The Movie Star Mystery"Lorette LeblancTBATBA414
When a detective movie is being filmed in town, one of the stars goes missing, and Shelby is on the case.
36"The Racetrack Mystery"Adam WeissmanTBATBA415
A race horse about to retire goes missing.
37"The Toy Store Mystery"Allison LiddiTBASeptember 20, 1998 (1998-09-20)416
A popular doll and its accessories begin to malfunction.
38"The Mystery Under Our Noses"Adam WeissmanTBATBA417
When the President of the United States is planning a visit, the itinerary is stolen from the police station.
39"The Mystery of The Mice That Roared"Allison LiddiTBADecember 20, 1998 (1998-12-20)418
Someone is playing pranks on the diners at a new restaurant.
40"The Train Mystery"TBATBATBA419
An architect is thrown off of a train on a trip from Boston to Washington DC.
41"The Big Cheese Mystery"Jim DonovanCarin Greenberg BakerOctober 25, 1998 (1998-10-25)420
A bank robber wears a cheese costume from a popular children's show while committing the crime.

Home releaseEdit

All 12 episodes from seasons 1 and 2 are available for purchase on the iTunes Store and Amazon Video. Season 2 is available for purchase on Vudu.

On November 24, 2014, the entire series was released on DVD exclusive to in region 1.[4]


  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.
  4. ^

External linksEdit