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Why Amy Winslow From Mystery 101 Looks So Familiar

While the Hallmark Channel is known for its feel-good Christmas movie marathons, it also offers darker storylines on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. One of their latest series, "Mystery 101," follows Professor Amy Winslow, a specialist in mystery fiction who finds herself at the center of what seems to be the plot of one of her beloved novels.

The literature professor teams up with the reluctant Detective Travis Burke (Kristoffer Polaha) to investigate various crimes. With his technical background and her creative skills, the unlikely duo works together to solve the murder mysteries unfolding in their small Pacific Northwest town.

Winslow is portrayed by an actress who has starred in a variety of made-for-TV Hallmark films. However, that's likely not where most people recognize her from, as she has appeared in a diverse range of projects over the last two decades. So why does Amy Winslow's actress look familiar?

A popular TV host

The professor-turned-detective from "Mystery 101" is portrayed by Jill Wagner. As an actress and a TV host, she has filled a variety of roles in the entertainment world. However, she is best known for her on-field reporting for ABC's competitive reality show "Wipeout." Wagner was in on the action as she interviewed contestants and provided commentary directly from the challenging obstacle course.

Wagner hosted "Wipeout" from 2008 to 2014, briefly stepping back in 2011 to focus on her acting career. "These guys are like my family," she said after returning in 2013, expressing excitement to be back with her "wacky" coworkers.

While the beloved host never ran the course, she told a reporter from Clevver News that she was open to it. "I wanna do the course, my only stipulation is that (co-host) John Henson does it before me," she said.

When "Wipeout" was rebooted in 2021 by TBS, Wagner did not return to the show.

Hallmark Channel collaborator

With appearances in multiple Hallmark Channel made-for-TV movies, it's not surprising that Jill Wagner says that she often chooses family-friendly roles. "My grandmother really loves Hallmark's Christmas movies anyway, and then she really gets a kick out of me being in one of them," she told The Journal Gazette. "In fact, she picked the first Hallmark movie I did out of the scripts that I sent her."

The thoughtful process has led to her starring in movies like "The Angel Tree," "Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses," and "Christmas Cookies." One blogger compiled all 15 of Wagner's Hallmark movies, scoring, recapping, and reviewing them. The highest score went to one of the "Mystery 101" movies.

In addition to taking on these wholesome Hallmark movies, Wagner starred in the horror film "Splinter" and the independent thriller "Braven" opposite Jason Momoa. Her niche may be portraying the comfortable, clich├ęd characters of heartwarming holiday tales, but she isn't afraid to branch out.

Other TV ventures

"Wipeout" wasn't the only TV show Jill Wagner found success on. From hosting the DIY show "Handcrafted America" for INSP to portraying a vicious supernatural creature on MTV's "Teen Wolf," the star's on-screen appearances show off her range.

"While most people know me for playing the wholesome good girl roles, I gotta say, it's fun to run with the wolves every once in a while," she shared on Instagram to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show. From her breakout role on "Punk'd" in 2003 to starring on "Teen Wolf" and then hosting its after-show "Wolf Watch," Wagner worked her way up the MTV ladder.

Additionally, she has worked on shows like "Dancing With the Stars," "Blade: The Series," and "Hell's Kitchen." From one-off appearances to regularly hosting episodes, Wagner has done it all.

She even appeared on the YouTube show "Good Mythical Morning" hosted by Rhett and Link to discuss their missed connection in college. She may not be a household name, but the familiar actress is certainly a "Jill of all trades."