Filming will begin this summer for a 20-episode reboot of the beloved educational children’s television series, Blue’s Clues.

Nickelodeon is not returning my emails, so in the meantime, these are my episode suggestions for a dark and gritty reboot of Blue’s Clues.

“Blue Blood”

Hey people, we got another one!” a voice yells.

Detective Steve Burns groans and slowly pulls his head off his desk, blinking as his eyes adjust to the buzzing fluorescents. He must have passed going through crime scene photos last night. Speaking of: he fumbles for the tipped over flask, buried under paperwork, and quickly shoves it into one of his desk drawers. He looks around. The station is a flurry, busier than it usually is this early in the morning.

“Hey boss,” calls one of his detectives, rushing over. “I’ve got something you’re gonna want to see.” He tosses a manilla envelope on Steve’s desk.

“What is this?” Steve asks.

“Open it,” the detective says.

Steve tears the envelope open. Inside: a single sheet of paper. Blank, except for a single bloody paw print.

“Shit,” Steve whistles. “Is this what I think it is?”

“Looks like it,” the detective responds.

Steve is suddenly wide awake.

“Alright, people, listen up!” he yells, jumping to his feet. “Quiet down!” The station grows silent.

Steve nods, staring down at the envelope for one beat, two beats, then slowly raises his head, looks into the camera, and whispers: “We just got a letter.”

“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”

Steve slams his fist on the table in the interrogation room. “Talk to me!” he screams. Slippery Soap flinches.

Steve softens. “Come on, man,” he pleads. “Just talk to me. I can help you, you know I can. But you gotta give me something.”

Slippery Soap glares at him and says nothing.

Steve pulls a notebook out of the back pocket of his khakis and smiles at Slippery Soap’s wince. “You recognize this, yes?” he asks, smiling. “Yeah,” he continues, talking almost to himself, “I thought you’d recognize my handy dandy notebook.” He slowly flips through the pages.

Slippery Soap makes hard eye contact with Steve, then spits on the ground.

“Alright,” says Steve, turning on his heel and walking to the door, “Have it your way.” He rests his hand on the door handle, then pauses, turning to look at Slippery once more. “Maybe some time in the Thinking Chair will help.”

Slippery thrashes in his chair while Steve slams the door behind him, turning and walking briskly down the hallway. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and glances at it. Dammit. Six missed calls from Blue.

He shakes his head and shoves his phone back into his pocket. She’ll have to wait.

“Little Boy Blue”

“Hey, pal,” Steve says, crouching down to pet Little Blue. “I’m sorry I missed the championship. You know sometimes Dad has to work late. Next time, front row. I swear.”

Little Blue looks at the ground and shrugs. The front door bangs open and Blue strides out, looking furious.

“I know, I know,” groans Steve, rising to his feet. “But you know how things get — we’re so close to cracking this case, Blue, and I was just saying, next game, I’m there, front row. When’s the next game?”

Blue rests her paw on Little Blue’s shoulder. The two stare at Steve for a few seconds, before Blue sadly shakes her head and guides Little Blue back towards the house.

“Next Wednesday, right? I’ll see you Wednesday?” Steve calls. Little Blue disappears into the house, and Blue turns once again to Steve. “I’ll see him, Wednesday, right?” Steve asks, but Blue just stares at him in a furious silence.

“Oh, okay,” snaps Steve. “We’re gonna play Blues Clues to figure it out. Great. Real mature. Some things never change with you, do they?”

Suddenly, behind Blue, an orange-shirted figure emerges. He puts his arm around Blue.

“Everything okay?” he asks, staring at Steve.

“Yeah, Joe,” Steve mumbles. “Everything’s fine. I was just leaving.”

“Blue is the Warmest Color”

The red phone is ringing. From his mattress on the ground, Steve blindly fumbles for it.

“Hello?” he groans, turning onto his back. He listens for a minute.

“I think you got the wrong number, pal.” He listens.

“Yeah, this is, but I … I don’t do that kind of stuff anymore.”

The voice on the other line keeps talking, and Steve scratches his face, now covered in gray stubble.

Suddenly, his eyes widen.

“Did you say Mrs. Pepper?” he asks.

Another pause.

“Okay, stop — stop talking, give me a minute. I gotta think.”

Steve glances at his closet, empty, except for one hanger, holding a moth-bitten green-striped long-sleeved polo.

“Hold on,” he says, dropping the phone on the mattress and yanking the shirt off the hanger. He disappears into the kitchen, followed by the sound of drawers banging opened and closed, utensils clattering, and after an “Ow!” followed by a “Dammit,” finally Steve mutters, “There we go.”

He strides back into the room, wearing khakis and his green polo, the long sleeves now cut short, revealing ropey forearms, covered in tattoos. No hiding this time, he thinks. No more hiding.

“Okay,” he says, lifting the the red phone back to his ear while the music swells. “I’m in.”

“I’m Blue (Da Ba Di, Da Ba Die)”

Steve’s an old man now, wide awake at 3 AM. Every time he closes his eyes, he sees them. Tickety Tock. Mailbox. Shovel and Pail. Spatula, Bowl, Sidetable Drawer. At the thought of Sidetable, his eyes are immediately bright with tears, but still: remembering helps. And with that, he knows. He nods, almost imperceptibly, to himself. It’s time.

He lugs the old typewriter out of the back of the closet and heaves it onto his desk. It’s heavier than he remembers, but he runs his fingers over the keys and it all comes back. “Wish me luck,” he whispers, glancing at the framed photo on the wall: him and Blue in another life, both so young, so happy, grinning at for the camera.

He looks at the blank sheet of paper in front of him, takes a deep breath, and starts typing. The camera slowly zooms in behind him, and we see what he has written.

“Blue’s Birthday Adventure, Episode 1.”

Roll credits.