Murder, She Wrote

Season 1 Episode 3

Birds of a Feather

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 14, 1984 on CBS

Episode Recap

Jessica flies to San Francisco for her niece Vicki's wedding. When she arrives, Vicki is upset because she suspects that her fiance, Howard, has been cheating on her. She smells perfume on him, sees lipstick on his handkerchief, and finds matches from a nightclub all over his apartment. Vicki and Jessica decide to go to the club and find out what is going on.

After being seated, Jessica remarks that there is something strange about the place, but she can't quite figure out what. A few moments later, a man comes out on the stage in drag and starts singing. His song is interrupted by a woman screaming, "Catch that killer!" Another drag queen races through the dining room, trying to evade security, and eventually crashes into the table where Jessica and Vicki are sitting. When he turns, his wig falls off, and Vicki sees that it is her fiance Howard.

Howard is arrested for the murder of Mr. Drake, the owner of the nightclub. Mr. Drake had his share of enemies, as do most of the victims on Murder, She Wrote. The club comedian, Freddie York, was trying to get out of a contract with him so he could go elsewhere, his wife despised him, and Howard was waiting for Mr. Drake to pay him for his work. But Howard is accused of murder because he was seen running from the victim's office. In addition, Freddie York was on stage playing the drums and telling jokes, and Mrs. Drake was in the audience.

Everyone assembles in Mr. Drake's office when the police come. Jessica steps out of the crowd and asks Lieutenant Novak if he noticed the small white feather on the victim's jacket. The lieutenant kicks her out of the room on the spot.

But of course that is not the end of Jessica's efforts. She shows up at the lieutenant's office early the following morning. He tells her to go away, but she threatens to speak ill of his department on television. He finally acquiesces and talks to her, then lets her see Howard.

Howard swears that Mr. Drake was dead when he found him, and Jessica believes him. Later, Jessica calls Lieutenant Novak, and he tells her that they established the time of death. He says it must have been done during the time that Freddie York was on stage playing his drums. Otherwise, someone would have heard the shot. He then rushes her off the phone.

Jessica returns to the nightclub and accidentally walks into Freddie York's dressing room. While there, she notices the his couch is next to the window.

She witnesses Mrs. Drake firing Miss Stevenson, Mr. Drake's secretary and presumed mistress. She offers Miss Stevenson a ride, and Miss Stevenson is all too willing to offer up information on all the people who had motives to kill Mr. Drake.

Jessica again returns to the club, and this time the Lieutenant is there. While trying to dispute the shot was fired during York's act, Freddie York comes on stage. He and Jessica are almost struck by a huge light fixture crashing to the stage. Jessica is fine, but Freddie falls off the stage and hurts his neck.

The lieutenant later informs Jessica that someone poured acid on the rope that held the stage light, and that it was not an accident. He starts becoming a little more friendly with her and even expresses concern that something might happen to her if she doesn't stop investigating.

After a long day and hardly any sleep, Jessica returns to her hotel room to rest. She tells Vicki and Howard that she thinks she will know what she's overlooking if she can just get some sleep. When she lies down, she puts the pillow over her ears to muffle the sound of construction going on in the next room. As soon as she does so, her eyes pop open, she sits up, and she says, "Of course!"

Jessica and Novak go back to Mr. Drake's office, where they find a pillow on the couch. Although it has no bullet hole in it, Jessica points out that one side of the pillow is darker than the other. She realizes that it must have come from Freddie York's dressing room because it is the only one where the couch is by the window. They confront York, and he eventually confesses.

The episode concludes on its usual cheery note, with Vicki and Howard finally getting married.