Murder, She Wrote

Season 1 Episode 12

Broadway Malady

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Jan 13, 1985 on CBS

Episode Recap

Jessica's nephew Grady convinces her to come to New York to see a new show starring acting legend Rita Bristol. The show is being produced by Rita's son Barry and it is being financed by a man named Si Parrish. Grady is working as the bookkeeper for the show.

Rita Bristol turns out to be difficult to work with during practices. At one practice, she storms offstage to her dressing room. The director, Marc , gives everyone a half hour break, except for Patty, Rita's daughter. Marc comments to Si Parrish that he hopes Rita can "stay off the sauce".

Grady meets Jessica at the train station, along with his girlfriend Kate, who is Patty's understudy. They all go out for dinner, along with Si, Marc, Rita, Barry, Patty, and the show's writers. At dinner, Barry announces that they are going to start Broadway previews in two weeks. Marc is obviously not happy about the idea.

When they leave, Si offers Jessica a ride back to her hotel. On the corner of the street is a blind man preaching loudly to passersby. Behind him is a man doing card tricks. As Barry and Patty pass the man playing cards, a man steps out of the alley with a gun. He tells Patty to give him her money and her jewels, but he shoots her before she has a chance to respond. Barry pulls a gun and shoots and kills the man.

At the police station, Barry gets a call from his mother, who tells him that the doctors are not sure if Patty will recover. The sergeant tells Barry that everyone is going to think he's a hero. He still holds him for awhile, though, because Barry used his own gun to shoot the man. Barry tells him he has been mugged three times in the last eight months, and that's why he bought the gun. The sergeant lets him leave and tells him that if the prosecutor decides to file charges, he knows where to find him.

Back at the hotel, Jessica and Grady watch the news together. The blind preacher is being interviewed, and he tells the reporter about the man with the cards who was standing nearby when the shooting happened. The reporter also identifies the mugger as Manny Farkus. Jessica tells Grady that the story doesn't make sense because the man shot Patty before she could even move. She suspects that Patty was shot for another reason.

Jessica goes to see Sergeant Moreno, but he doesn't want to hear her theory. He dismisses it and says he's too busy.

Rita asks Jessica to come over and talk to her. She tells Jessica she is an alcoholic, but that she's been sober for seventeen years. She breaks down and Jessica comforts her.

Jessica goes looking for the other witness to the shooting. She finds a woman dealing cards and asks her about the man. She says she doesn't know him, then tells Jessica to either make a bet or go away. Jessica pulls out a $100 bill and rips it in half. She gives the woman half and takes the other half, telling the woman she'll get the rest once Jessica has met the witness, Taki.

Taki meets with Jessica and tells her about the shooting. When she asks why he didn't help out, he tells her that there was no time because the man shot right away.

Jessica goes back to talk to Sergeant Moreno. She asks him about Manny Farkus. He lets her look at the file, which shows that he had no record, his fingerprints are not on file, and there is no known address for him. She looks at Manny's picture in the file, then hands it back to the sergeant.

Jessica goes to the hospital to see how Patty's doing. The doctor tells her and Rita that Patty is going to recover, but it will take a long time. Barry decides to cancel the show, but Marc comes in with a woman named Lonnie Valerian. He says that he couldn't let the show be cancelled, so he called Lonnie in L.A., and she came as soon as she could. Lonnie starts talking about how excited she is to participate. She starts singing a song from the musical, but Si interrupts her and tells her they cut that song a few weeks ago. Marc tells her he must have picked up the wrong script on the way to the airport.

Jessica has dinner at Grady's apartment. While she's there, she looks over at the television and sees Manny Farkus, acting in a movie. She checks the credits and sees the actor's name listed as Morley Farmer. She takes the movie to Sergeant Moreno and shows him. He still refuses to listen to her and tells her the case is closed.

Jessica meets with Morley Farmer's agent, Lew Feldman, who tells her that he is sure that Morley did not know the Bristol family. He says that Morley failed in everything he ever tried. He also gives Jessica the last address he ever had for Morley and promises to get her a list of all of his credits.

At practice for the show, Rita gets angry at Marc and accuses him of having Lonnie practice her lines before Patty was even shot. She says that Marc was trying to get Patty to quit so Lonnie could take over. She storms off the stage, and Barry says he's going to cancel the show. Marc gets angry and says that Barry and Patty are riding their mother's coattails to the top. Barry punches him in the face. Grady tries to tell Barry about an accounting problem, but Barry won't listen.

Grady and Jessica go for a carriage ride through Central Park, where Grady tells Jessica he has reason to believe that Si Parrish has resold 150% of the show. If the show is successful, Parrish will have a big problem on his hands, but if it flops, he'll make an extra 50%.

Jessica and Grady go to the address Feldman gave her for Morley. The woman there tells them it doesn't make sense that he would have been mugging people because he had just met someone who had agreed to produce his movie. The man was going to let him direct and play the lead in the movie.

Jessica tells Grady to go talk to Feldman and not leave until he gets a list of all of Morley's credits. She says she has to go because Rita Bristol is in danger. She gets to Rita's place and finds Rita passed out on the kitchen floor with the gas stove running and an empty bottle of pills on the floor next to her.

At the hospital, Si asks Marc if there is anyone who can fill in for Rita. Barry gets mad and accuses Si of only caring about his money. Jessica tells Grady that if the show doesn't open, Si will have to return his investors' money. Unfortunately, her research has revealed that Si made several bad investments, and she believes he doesn't have the money. Grady gives her the list of credits for Morley Farmer. Jessica looks at the list, then looks up in surprise.

Barry is informed that his mother passed away, and he and Jessica go back to Rita's place. She tells him that his mother did not kill herself. When Jessica and the security guard broke into Rita's home and found her, the coffee pot was empty and cleaned out, but Rita had told Jessica that she always kept a pot of coffee running. Jessica thinks that the coffee was laced with a sedative that knocked Rita out. Then someone forced the alcohol into her system and turned on the gas jets. Jessica tells Barry she knows he killed her and tried to have Patty murdered because he wanted his mother's money. Barry denies it, but Jessica says she knows that he knew Manny Farkus. Barry gets angrier and angrier, then finally admits that he killed her. She wouldn't help him with money. He then tries to kill Jessica, but Rita comes in through the door. She tells him that she didn't believe it until she heard it, and Barry breaks down and apologizes.

Jessica goes back to Cabot Cove, and Grady calls her when the show opens. Si Parrish is in trouble, but the show is doing well. Grady tells her that his girlfriend Kate ran off with another man, but he met a new girl named Francesca. The episode concludes with Jessica laughing at her nephew on the phone.