Lemon of Troy
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)

For the second part of this episode, see Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two).

Ever since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun. I shall do the next best thing: block it out.
Mr. Burns

"Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)" is the twenty-fifth episode and season finale of Season 6. It is the first two-part episode produced, the other being "The Great Phatsby".


Mr. Burns, being more evil than usual, brings untold misery to many of Springfield's citizens and is later found shot outside the city hall with the main suspects being every citizen in the town of Springfield.

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Mr. Burns showing Smithers his plan of blocking the sun

At the beginning of the normal ordinary school week, Principal Skinner opens up the school to find that Superdude, the fourth grade gerbil, has died, being crushed by his own water-bottle. He gives Groundskeeper Willie the task of burying the gerbil, and in the process Willie strikes oil, causing the school to explode.

Up on the roof, Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers are inspecting what caused the explosion when a worker comes up and tells them they struck oil. He also holds up the corpse of Superdude. After thanking Superdude, Skinner tosses the gerbil off the roof. Everyone in the school rejoices, as now they have all the money they could ever want. While several teachers want new equipment, other requests are more exorbitant - and are just as quickly approved.

Lunchlady Doris wants more staff and a better kitchen. Willie wants a crystal slop bucket, and a brand new filthy blanket. Otto Mann wants a double guitar. Lisa wants to hire Tito Puente to teach jazz at the school.

However, Charles Montgomery Burns has his eyes on the well, and wants to steal the oil. First he tries to fool Skinner into giving the money to the Nuclear Plant by poorly disguising himself as Jimbo Jones, but to no avail. After that fails, he uses a "slant drilling" operation to tap the well before the school can, thereby stealing the oil. After launching the oil, it causes mayhem in the town.

The initial jet of oil smashes into Bart's treehouse, leaving it in a wreck, injuring him and breaking Santa's Little Helper's hind legs. The drill also causes a huge sink-hole in the ground under Grampa's retirement home causing it to collapse and forcing all the occupants to vacate the building until further notice, meaning Abe has to move back in with his family along with his few remaining possessions, including a loaded Smith & Wesson. Along with the physical destruction, the fumes from the oil force Moe's Tavern to close until the oil drilling stops, and Moe grabs a shotgun from under the bar. The alcoholic Barney Gumble has now lost his best beer supply, and after having to leave, he pulls out a derringer. And of course, all the faculty and Lisa don't get their special equipment (or Tito Puente) because the school is now bankrupt from building the oil well. Groundskeeper Willie, Tito, and Dewey Largo the music teacher, are all laid off as a result. Willie vows revenge on Burns right there, before running out of the office.

The only person whose hatred towards Burns is not directly caused by the oil well is Homer. Instead, the cause of his anger is that despite working for Burns for the last 10 years and meeting him many times, Burns never remembers Homer's name. This mistreatment adds Homer to the many people who swear revenge on the old man.

Not even Smithers can stand the acts his beloved employer has undertaken. He dryly points out that Mr Burns has crushed all his enemies - even though none of those people posed a threat to him. Burns just tells him that he hasn't taken out his biggest enemy: the sun. He plans to block out the sun, thereby forcing the town to use his electricity forever. Smithers is shocked and points out that all plant life would die, owls would hoot constantly and the sundial (foreshadowing) would become useless. But, Mr. Burns refuses to listen to him. Smithers then says that he's stood by many of Burns' schemes but this one is too much and he will have no part of it. For questioning his methods and his refusal to take part, Burns fires Smithers.

Awful school is awful rich
200px-Burns encounter

Burns' shadow seen while fighting the shooter


Mr. Burns, after being shot

Mayor Quimby calls an emergency town meeting, after noticing that many in the audience are stroking guns, he opens the floor.

Several people complain:

  • Smithers tells everyone that Mr. Burns was the closest thing he ever had to a friend, but since he fired him, he spends his days drinking cheap scotch and watching "Comedy Central".
  • Willie is mad because Burns cost Willie his grounds-keeping job at the school.
  • Abe is mad that he lost his room, his things and his buddies collection of old sunbathing magazines.
  • Moe lost his tavern.
  • Barney lost Moe's tavern.
  • Lisa is mad that he robbed the school of music.
  • Skinner is mad that he robbed the school of financial security.
  • Tito is mad that he "robbed the school of Tito".
  • Homer is mad that he can't remember his name.
  • Marge is mad that he is causing everyone to yell.
  • Bart is mad that he broke Santa's Little Helper's hind legs.

Mr. Burns then shows up, and Bart charges at him in rage. Mr. Burns brandishes a gun hidden in his blazer, stating that he has decided to protect himself ever since he was attacked in his office by an unidentified assailant (Homer, of course). He taunts the townspeople for trying to intimidate him but not having the guts to follow through with their threats.

Finally, Burns moves the sun-blocker into place, leaving the town aghast, and walks away, laughing. Even as he leaves, Krusty returns from Reno, although he quickly leaves when he sees the townspeople glaring angrily (having missed out on Mr. Burns' vile behavior).

Mr. Burns walks into an alleyway, obscured from view, and says: "Oh it's you, what are you so happy about? I see. I think you'd better drop it." He is then heard struggling with someone.

Marge notices that many townspeople are missing when a gunshot is heard from behind the town hall. Mr. Burns staggers out into the open, holding a gunshot wound on his chest and then collapses onto the sundial. Marge then comments that they may never know who did this, since everyone in town had a reason to hate him. After a long period of silence, Dr. Hibbert asks "Well I couldn't possibly solve this mystery. Can YOU?" pointing at the screen, at what is thought to be the viewer. The camera zooms out to show that he is pointing to Chief Wiggum, who says he will give it a shot, since it is his job. An ominous tune plays after this and the words "To Be Continued" appear onscreen concluding the episode and the season with a cliffhanger.

Behind the Laughter

Promo Cards


The episode (and the second part) received positive reviews from critics and the writers of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "A superb end to the season - and what's more, it's a genuine whodunnit. There's no cheating - all the clues are there." "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" ranked 25th in Entertainment Weekly's Top 25 Simpsons episodes' list, in 2003.


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