Star Wars

The Mandalorian Finally Filled a Huge Gap in Star Wars TV

The series has made a name for itself in how episodic it is, but this latest episode is doing something new entirely.

The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian is technically a space western, but it has never let itself be defined by that label. Across the first two seasons, it has changed from a heist show, to a pirate show, to a classic western, to a samurai story — sometimes all within the span of a few episodes. Part of its strength in episodic storytelling is the way it can morph from genre to genre over each week.

That format fell by the wayside in the first half of Season 3 as the complex unity of the Mandalorians required a serialized approach, but the latter half seems to fall back on the old formula, with Episode 6 delivering something completely fresh and new: a crime procedural story.

This episode had all the elements of an old episode of Law and Order or even Murder, She Wrote or Columbo — it started with some stellar guest stars who sent our unlikely detective pair, Din Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze, on a mission: find the reason why so many droids have been malfunctioning.

Spoilers for The Mandalorian episode “Guns for Hire.”

Commissioner Helgait’s antiquated political views (his hero is Count Dooku of all people) provide the answer to the mystery.


From there, they go from place to place, following leads and investigating suspects. The only thing that keeps it from being a Law and Order episode is the lack of the “chung chung” sound effect and the fact they’re talking to droids and aliens. They even visit Plazir-15’s droid morgue, which is where they discover the nanobots that lead them back to someone they spoke to before: Commissioner Helgait. (Good rule of thumb for classic crime procedurals: the biggest guest star did it.)

Surprisingly, this is basically the first time we’ve seen such a classic story formula in Star Wars live-action. While The Clone Wars showed Ahsoka and Anakin investigating a number of mysteries as part of their Jedi business, the closest we’ve gotten in live-action is the regrettable Kamino subplot in Attack of the Clones which placed Obi-Wan Kenobi in the role of a detective in an old-fashioned noir.

The closest Star Wars live action has gotten to a detective story is when Obi-Wan went on an investigative streak in Attack of the Clones.


Now that Star Wars is more television focused, the possibilities of TV show formulas and genres to adapt are endless. With The Mandalorian, classic adventure dramas are covered, with Andor, we got a prestige spy drama. Maybe in the future, we can get a murder-mystery-of-the-week series following two characters as they go from planet to planet solving disputes in the New Republic, or a classic sitcom, or even a family drama.

The Mandalorian’s genre-hopping tendencies show the start of an experimental edge for Star Wars, and if the reception is good, we may just see an entire series dedicated to this one-off pastiche episodes.

The Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+.

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