Murder, She Wrote

CBS (ended 1996)
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736 votes
  • show Description
  • Murder seems to follow Jessica Fletcher, a former English teacher and a mystery writer full of charm, zest-for-life, and personality; who happens to become "the investigator" when traveling around the country to promote a series of novels. Murder always occurs when she is present. Even in Cabot Cove! Although Angela Lansbury was the only regular character throughout the series entire run, she was frequently joined by a number of recurring and special guest stars, including Tom Bosley as Sheriff Amos Tupper in the early seasons and Ron Masak as Sheriff Mort Metzger in the later seasons, William Windom as Dr. Seth Hazlitt, Michael Horton as her nephew Grady Fletcher (one of her many, many relatives), and from time to time Jerry Orbach would appear as private eye Harry McGraw. Orbach's role later led into a short-lived spin-off, The Law & Harry McGraw. The series aired a total of 263 color episodes from 7 October 1984 through 19 May 1996 and five telemovies (including the pilot movie, which aired in September of 1984). As of the fall of 2009, 10 seasons have been released on DVD, with the 11th season due to be released in early 2010.moreless

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  • Episode Guide
  • S 13 : Ep 0

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    The Last Free Man

    Aired 5/2/01

  • S 13 : Ep 0

    A Story to Die For

    Aired 5/18/00

  • S 13 : Ep 0

    South by Southwest

    Aired 11/2/97

  • S 12 : Ep 24

    Death by Demographics

    Aired 5/19/96

  • Cast & Crew
  • Angela Lansbury

    Jessica Fletcher

  • William Windom

    Seth Hazlitt

  • Tom Bosley

    Sheriff Amos Tupper

  • Julie Adams

    Eve Simpson

  • Herb Edelman

    Lt. Artie Gelber

  • Photos (2)
  • Top Contributor
  • AJMeredith

    User Score: 894


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (115)

    • Preston Giles: Where's the captain? Louise McCallum: Oh, he's terminating skeets with extreme prejudice.

    • Jessica Fletcher: Grady, how did it go with the computer? Grady Fletcher: Well, I think I hit a wrong button. Instead of giving real estate transactions, it started spitting out last year's wholesale fish prices.

    • Ethan: Amos, you've been reading too many of Jessica's books.
      Amos: Well, that's how much you know, Ethan. I haven't read any of them.

    • Jessica Fletcher: Oh, Ralph, you're not astounded at all. As a matter of fact, you're full of clam dip.

    • Jessica Fletcher (to Lieutenant Novak): I was supposed to go on a TV show this morning, but I cancelled it because I thought that this was more important. Now, either you find time to talk with me, or I will go on that television show, and my subject will not be my next book -- it will be the insensitivity and arrogance of the city's homicide division.

    • Victoria Brandon: I really hate doing this sort of thing, but, uh, my aunt and I just dropped by and we would really like a table. That's my aunt right there. You probably recognize her. Al Drake: No. Victoria Brandon: J.B. Fletcher? Al Drake: Oh, really? Victoria Brandon: Really. Al Drake: Who the hell is J.B. Fletcher?

    • Jessica Fletcher: We've only only had one killer in our family -- 1777, I believe -- and the redcoat shot first.

    • Jessica Fletcher: Just because the Almighty gave people a taste for lobsters doesn't mean that he gave lobsters a taste for being boiled alive.

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    Notes (233)

    • The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore).

    • Throughout the series, Jessica Fletcher never drove a car. She rode a bicycle, took a cab or someone gave her a lift.

    • Because CBS wanted a pilot movie so quickly and the producers had little time to assemble one, a few key scenes were filmed and scenes with Jessica Fletcher narrating the story were edited in to create a pilot presentation. The network bought the series on the strength of this short presentation. Excerpts from it can be seen on the bonus featurette on the Season 5 DVD.

    • This is the original pilot movie for the series, and running time, without commercials, is just over 90 minutes.

    • Special billing was given to Ned Beatty (Special Guest Star), Arthur Hill (Special Guest Star) and Brian Keith (Special Guest Star) in this episode.

    • Peter S. Fischer won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for this episode (Best Television Episode, 1985).

    • This episode of MSW (created by the Fischer-Levinson-Link team behind Columbo) bears a similarity to the Columbo episode "Troubled Waters." In both cases, the murderer's use of a pillow as a gun silencer is revealed through the detective's discovery of a misplaced feather. It also in turn leads to the killer.

    • Additional Credit: Video Game Provided By: BALLY MANUFACTURING CORPORATION

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    Trivia (121)

    • Jessica celebrates the release of her first novel, The Corpse Danced at Midnight, published by Coventry House in New York. In one week, it went from being number eight on The New York Times Best Sellers list to number two. Jessica also experienced her first lawsuit when Agnes Peabody attempted to sue her, claiming that the novel was really her creation.

    • The sign at the beginning of the episode states that Cabot Cove, Maine, has a population of 3650.

    • Grady Fletcher is Jessica's nephew via her marriage to his uncle Frank. He helped Jessica launch her career by sending her manuscript to his girlfriend, Kit Donovan. This episode features Grady's first arrest, for suspicion of murder. Both Grady and Jessica wear glasses when necessary, although Grady seems more near-sighted than far-sighted in this episode, wearing his glasses for driving purposes.

    • This episode features the introduction of Cabot Cove citizens Sheriff Amos Tupper and Captain Ethan Cragg. Cragg has been friends with Jessica for many years, whereas Tupper seems to barely tolerate her, resenting her interference in a police investigation. This is also the first mention of the never-seen Letitia, the phone operator in Cabot Cove.

    • Frank Fletcher smoked a pipe that, according to Stephen Earl, was 'a fine-looking meerschaum'. Meerschaum is a soft, white mineral that is most frequently used to make pipes.

    • Stephen Earl picks up a recent book of Jessica's from the counter entitled Dirge for a Dead Dachshund. The book was in pre-publication at the time, and was not yet released for publication. Maggie Earl refers to having read Jessica's 'latest book', indicating that Dirge for a Dead Dachshund is at least her third book. Cragg also makes mention to Amos 'reading too many of Jessica's books' indicating, again, that Dirge for a Dead Dachshund was not her second work.

    • Victoria Brandon is Jessica's niece, and is engaged to Howard Griffin. Howard has held a series of jobs throughout the year, including selling insurance, but his goal has always been to act.

    • Victoria reveals that Jessica has had six best-selling mystery novels on The New York Times Best Seller list in order to get her and Jessica into Al Drake's club. Jessica's later conversation with Patterson reveals that Jessica has also had one movie sale.

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    Allusions (42)

    • Preston Giles tells Jessica that he's throwing a party where all the guests will dress as their favorite fictional character. Among the costumes at the ball were Cinderella's Godmother (best known from the Charles Perrault story, which was later immortalised in the Disney classic Cinderella), Popeye (a comic strip character created by Elzie Crisler Segar), Donald Duck (created by Walt Disney), Captain Hook (from the book Peter Pan by James M. Barrie), Peter Pan (from the book Peter Pan by James M. Barrie), Ebenezer Scrooge (from the book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens), the Cowardly Lion (from the Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum), the Scarcrow (from the Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum), Sherlock Holmes (created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Little Red Riding Hood (best known from the story by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm), the Big, Bad Wolf (best known from the story by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm), Robin Hood and Maid Marian (history has never determined an exact source, but tales of Robin Hood began showing up in the 14th century), Snow White (best known from the story by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm), Edmond Dant├Ęs (from the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas) and Humpty Dumpty (from the well known Mother Goose rhyme). Not all of the party-goers were dressed properly as fictional characters though; other guests included Cleopatra, Napoleon and Carmen Miranda.

    • (Alluding to the fact that she has no costume to wear.) Jessica Fletcher: I could always come as Lady Godiva. According to legend, Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England after her husband told her he would only relieve his taxation on the citizens if she rode naked through town. She did just that, covered only by her long hair.

    • Dexter Baxendale: When society seeks confidential assistance, they do not necessarily hire Mike Hammer. Mike Hammer was a fictional detective created by mystery writer Mickey Spillane. Hammer was often characterised by his utter contempt for the law, and was immortalised in the series Mike Hammer (1958-1959), Mike Hammer (1984-1987) and Mike Hammer, Private Eye (1997-1998).

    • Jessica Fletcher: Under the guise of Cupid, you were setting your sister up for a murder charge. According to Roman mythology, Cupid is the God of Love (his Greek name is Eros). Cupid shot two kinds of arrows; those that made people fall in love with each other, and those that made people turn from those who had fallen in love with them.

    • Jessica Fletcher: Right now, I could sleep through Armaggeddon. Armaggeddon is a term used for the ultimate battle between good and evil, as foretold in the Bible, in the book of Revelation. Armaggeddon is actually the location that the war is said to take place, but the word has since been applied to the battle itself.

    • Barbara Stevenson: Lucrezia Borgia in furs. Lucrezia Borgia was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, born in 1480 A.D. History presents her as either a vicious murderer who poisoned her lovers, or a victim of her family's criminal activities. The reference here is as a woman who led to the death of her husband.

    • Mike Hernandez: You have any thoughts about the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance? Jimmy Hoffa was famous for being the leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters during the 1950s and 1960s. He disappeared in 1975, and his disappearance has become a subject of public lore, and is considered by many to be the most famous unsolved disappearance of the 1970s. Film, literature and television often refer to Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance when referencing a crime that cannot be solved.

    • The title of this episode, We're Off To Kill The Wizard, is a play on words from the song We're Off to See the Wizard made famous in the film The Wizard of Oz.

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  • Fan Reviews (38)
  • would'nt stand up in court

    By jonbingam, Jan 25, 2016

  • Murder, She Wrote!!!!!!

    By kathydrichardson, Apr 15, 2015

  • Am SO disappointed!

    By PsychLove1, Dec 23, 2014

  • The Cabot Cove stories were my favorite.

    By francesrapp5, Jul 10, 2014

  • best suspense tv series!

    By Artisticart, Apr 29, 2013