Shadowhunters, also known as Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, is an American supernatural drama television series developed by Ed Decter, based on the popular book series The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare. It premiered in North America on Freeform on January 12, 2016. Primarily filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the series follows Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara), who finds out on her eighteenth birthday that she is not who she thinks she is, but rather comes from a long line of Shadowhunters, human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons.

Title card for the second season
Based onThe Mortal Instruments
by Cassandra Clare
Developed byEd Decter
Opening theme"This Is the Hunt" by Ruelle
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes55 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time42 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkFreeform
Picture format16:9 HDTV
Audio formatDolby SR
Original releaseJanuary 12, 2016 (2016-01-12) 
May 6, 2019 (2019-05-06)
External links

It is the second adaptation of the novel series, after the 2013 film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which, like the series, was produced by Constantin Film. The debut season of Shadowhunters has received mixed responses from critics. The pilot episode attracted the largest audience for Freeform in more than two years. The show has received numerous award nominations, winning one GLAAD Award, four Teen Choice Awards and two People's Choice awards.

In March 2016, the series was renewed for a second season of 20 episodes, which premiered on January 2, 2017. In August 2016, showrunner Ed Decter exited the series over "creative differences". Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer were named as Decter's replacements. In April 2017, Freeform renewed the show for a third season of 20 episodes, which premiered on March 20, 2018. In June 2018, Freeform canceled the series after three seasons, but ordered two extra episodes to properly conclude the series' story; the second half of the third season premiered on February 25, 2019, with 12 episodes ordered. The two-part series finale aired on May 6, 2019.[1]


Clary Fray has just enrolled at Brooklyn Academy of Arts. On her eighteenth birthday, she learns that she is a Shadowhunter, a human born with angelic blood who protects humans from demons and rogue downworlders. That night, Clary's mother, Jocelyn, is abducted by a group of rogue Shadowhunters called the Circle. Their leader is Jocelyn's ex-husband, Valentine Morgenstern, who is also Clary's father.

With her mother missing, Clary turns to Luke, a person she trusted, only to be betrayed. Clary joins up with a group of Shadowhunters to save her mother and discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with the mysterious, narcissistic, and attractive Shadowhunters Jace, Isabelle and Alec along with her loyal and geeky friend Simon. Now living amongst the fair folk, warlocks, vampires, and werewolves, Clary begins a journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her past and what her future may hold.[2]

Cast and characters




SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113January 12, 2016 (2016-01-12)April 5, 2016 (2016-04-05)
22010January 2, 2017 (2017-01-02)March 6, 2017 (2017-03-06)
10June 5, 2017 (2017-06-05)August 14, 2017 (2017-08-14)
32210March 20, 2018 (2018-03-20)May 15, 2018 (2018-05-15)
12February 25, 2019 (2019-02-25)May 6, 2019 (2019-05-06)



In 2010, Screen Gems announced that they were going into production on the film adaptation of City of Bones,[19] the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, with hopes of starting a successful film franchise. Production on a film adaptation of the second book, City of Ashes, was due to start in September 2013, but was delayed to 2014, and eventually cancelled, after the first film failed to recoup its budget.[20]

On October 12, 2014, at Mipcom, Constantin confirmed that The Mortal Instruments will return as a television series with Ed Decter as showrunner.[21] Constantin Film and TV head Martin Moszkowicz told The Hollywood Reporter that, "It actually makes sense to do [the novels] as a TV series. There was so much from the book that we had to leave out of the Mortal Instruments film. In the series we'll be able to go deeper and explore this world in greater detail and depth."[21][22] The producers hope to adapt the entire book series if the TV adaptation proves successful.[21] In February 2015, book series author Cassandra Clare announced via Twitter that the television series would be called Shadowhunters rather than The Mortal Instruments.[23] In March 2015, ABC Family picked up Shadowhunters straight-to-series.[24] The series was renewed for a second season in March 2016, consisting of 20 episodes, which premiered on January 2, 2017.[25][26][27] In April 2017, it was announced that the series was renewed for a third season of 20 episodes. The first half of ten episodes premiered on March 20, 2018.[28][29][30] On June 4, 2018, Freeform canceled the series after three seasons, but ordered two extra episodes to properly conclude the series' story; the second half of the third season premiered on February 25, 2019.[31][32]

In August 2016, soon before filming on the second season was to begin, showrunner Ed Decter exited the series over "creative differences".[33] Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, who were former showrunners on Smallville, were announced as Decter's replacements in August 2016.[34]


On Twitter, Cassandra Clare announced that she would not be part of casting decisions, and would not be expecting any of the original film cast to return. On April 20, 2015, ABC revealed Dominic Sherwood as the first member of the Shadowhunters cast.[4] On May 1, 2015, it was announced that Emeraude Toubia would be taking the role of Isabelle Lightwood and Alberto Rosende would be joining the cast as Simon Lewis.[5] On May 6, it was reported that Katherine McNamara landed the lead role of Clary Fray.[3] Two days later, on May 8, Matthew Daddario and Isaiah Mustafa were cast as Alec Lightwood and Luke Garroway, respectively.[6] Harry Shum, Jr. and Alan van Sprang later joined the cast on May 15, as Magnus Bane and Valentine Morgenstern.[7] On May 18, it was announced that Maxim Roy would be playing Jocelyn Fray.[8]

On May 28, Jon Cor was announced to play Hodge Starkweather, a Shadowhunter and former member of the Circle.[9] David Castro was reported to be portraying vampire Raphael Santiago on June 4.[10] Shortly after, on June 9, Lisa Marcos announced she would be joining the cast as Captain Vargas, a new character created for the series by Ed Decter.[35] On June 12, producer McG's official Twitter account stated that Kaitlyn Leeb had been cast to play the vampire, Camille Belcourt.[12] On June 16, Jade Hassouné was reported to be portraying the faerie, Meliorn.[11] On August 8, Stephanie Bennett was cast as the new character Lydia Branwell, a rule-following Shadowhunter.[14] On September 2, 2016, Alisha Wainwright was announced to play Maia Roberts in the second season,[36] and soon promoted to series regular beginning on season 3.[37]


The series began filming in Mississauga, Canada on May 25, 2015.[38] The fictional New York Police Department's 89 Precinct was filmed in the Science Wing at the University of Toronto Scarborough.[39]



Shadowhunters (Original Television Series Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedJuly 21, 2017
GenrePop, EDM, indie pop, alternative rock

Shadowhunters (Original Television Series Soundtrack) was released on platforms including iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music on July 21, 2017, featuring six original songs from the show.[40]

1."This Is the Hunt"Ruelle3:59
2."Fragile World"Alberto Rosende2:42
3."Murmurs"Alchemy 33:37
4."Blood Rose"birthday2:49
5."The Lifeboat"Liam O'Donnell2:18
6."Royal Blue"Alberto Rosende2:57
Total length:18:22

The series' musical score is composed by Ben Decter.[41] The opening theme song is "This Is The Hunt" performed by Ruelle, which was written for Shadowhunters by Maggie Eckford and Jeff Bowman.[42] Other Ruelle songs have featured in the series.[43] Ruelle performs most of the background music during the series.


The series premiered on January 12, 2016, in the U.S. on Freeform.[44] The second episode, "The Descent into Hell Is Easy", was released online that same day, following the premiere of the first episode.[45] In December 2015, Netflix acquired global rights to Shadowhunters, excluding the U.S., making the series available as an original series a day after the U.S. premiere, with the first episode having launched globally on January 13, 2016, and subsequent episodes having been released on a weekly basis.[46]


Critical response

The debut season of Shadowhunters received mixed responses from critics. Metacritic gave it a 45 out of 100 rating, based on 9 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[47] Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a 46% rating, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's consensus states, "Shadowhunters boasts visual thrills and a potential-rich premise, but they're not enough to overcome the show's self-serious silliness and dull, convoluted plots."[48]

According to James Poniewozik of The New York Times, the series "has its assets, especially its popular source material. But it might become more fun if it learns to enjoy being the empowerment fantasy it really is."[49]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Refs
2016 BMI Film & TV Awards BMI TV Music Award Ben Decter Won [50]
Joey Awards Young Actress Age 9 or Younger in a TV Series Drama or Comedy Guest Starring or Principal Role Sofia Wells Nominated [51]
MTV Fandom Awards Best New Fandom of the Year Shadowhunters Won [52]
Ship of the Year "Malec" (Magnus and Alec) Nominated [53]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Breakout Show Shadowhunters Won [54]
Choice TV: Breakout Star Matthew Daddario Won
Katherine McNamara Nominated
2017 Bisexual Representation Award Best Bisexual Representation by a Supporting Character Male Harry Shum Jr. Won [55]
BMI Film & TV Awards BMI TV Music Award Trevor Morris Won [56]
GLAAD Awards Outstanding Drama Series Shadowhunters Won [57]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show Shadowhunters Nominated [58]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: LipLock "Malec" (Magnus and Alec) Nominated [59]
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actor Matthew Daddario Nominated [60]
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actress Emeraude Toubia Nominated
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show Shadowhunters Nominated
Choice TV: Ship "Malec" (Magnus and Alec) Nominated [61]
Choice TV: Summer Actor Harry Shum Jr. Nominated [62]
2018 Bisexual Representation Award Best Bisexual Representation by a Supporting Character Male Harry Shum Jr. Won [63]
GLAAD Awards Outstanding Drama Series Shadowhunters Nominated [64]
People's Choice Awards Bingeworthy Show of 2018 Shadowhunters Won [65]
Female TV Star of 2018 Katherine McNamara Won
Male TV Star of 2018 Harry Shum Jr. Won
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show of 2018 Shadowhunters Nominated
Show of 2018 Shadowhunters Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actor Matthew Daddario Won [66]
Dominic Sherwood Nominated
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actress Katherine McNamara Nominated
Emeraude Toubia Nominated
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show Shadowhunters Won
Choice TV: Ship "Malec" (Magnus and Alec) Nominated
Choice TV: Villain Anna Hopkins Nominated
2019 GLAAD Awards Outstanding Drama Series Shadowhunters Nominated [67]
People's Choice Awards Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show of 2019 Shadowhunters Won [68]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Ship "Clace" (Clary and Jace) Nominated [69]
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actor Dominic Sherwood Nominated
Harry Shum Jr. Nominated
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actress Katherine McNamara Won
Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show Shadowhunters Won
Choice TV: Villain Luke Baines Nominated


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