Murder, She Wrote

Season 1 Episode 1

The Murder Of Sherlock Holmes

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Sep 30, 1984 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
59 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Murder Of Sherlock Holmes

Jessica Fletcher, a retired schoolteacher from Cabot Cove, Maine, is shocked to find out that not only did her nephew send her manuscript to a publisher, but it's been accepted! Rushed to New York, Jessica is caught up in a whirlwind of publicity tours, book signings, and public appearances, but everything takes a turn when she attends a costume party in New Holvang and a private investigator dressed as Sherlock Holmes ends up facedown in the pool, shot. Jessica initially tries to stay out of things until her nephew Grady becomes the prime suspect, and Jessica decides to take matters into her own hands while fighting her attraction to Preston Giles, the first man to interest her since the death of her husband Frank.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Good characters, mystery plot is highly flawed.

    This series started out nicely, introducing Jessica before her writing career had begun. Nice touch to have the audience experience the start of her books with her.

    Her character was very likable from the start, as were those of her nephew, and the rich publisher who liked her.

    The party got a little boring, but most pilot shows go through a bit of that.

    What really got me was the flaws in the actual mystery.

    Spoilers AHEAD!









    The motive for the killer was revealed only at the end by the killer himself. Would have liked it better if she had solved this herself. Plus the rushed explanation made it seem like all the evidence was discovered at the end too.

    Other things that don't make sense:

    - the killer knows very well she's a murder writer and is investigating The murder, yet he tries to keep her close to him. Not too bright, Nape!

    - Captain Highliner (or whatever the name) claimed he had hired the spy, but at the end he's revealed to be someone with a completely different story.

    - If the victim was shot, Then his clothes changed, wouldn't Jessica have picked up on it? Holes & blood stains woulda bin incosistent on the Sherlock costume. She's supposed to be good at solving mysteries in this show!


    So the character and feel of the show was very good but the whole premise of writing a good mystery kinda failed with all the flawed facts.

    Not good.

  • Jessica falls hard for the angel of death.

    After accidentally becoming a published author, high on the bestseller list, Jessica Fletcher leaves her small town home in Cabot Cove, Maine for the excitement of New York City. No sooner has she arrived than she finds herself mixed up in a murder mystery, of course. And so begins one of the finest murder mystery shows ever made. This is one of the finer episodes because it shows sides of Jessica that were not nearly so pronounced in the later episodes. Most notably, she is emotionally vulnerable in this episode, something that we rarely see in other episodes. It is very interesting to watch this episode after seeing much later episodes and contrast the difference between how the show began and how the show developed over the years. Either way you like it, this episode is a must-see for any J.B. Fletcher fan out there.moreless
  • The introduction of Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher.

    Aside from being a great series pilot, "Murder of Sherlock Holmes" works as a stand-alone mystery movie. Though "Murder, She Wrote" really worked best in the one-hour format, the movie-length episode allows for some added characterization of Jessica, and gives us the necessary introduction to her character before she gets down to the nitty-gritty of crime solving.

    Angela Lansbury is sensational and the show really hits the ground running. Offering able support is Ned Beatty as the local police chief who (surprise, surprise) is initially reluctant to accept Jessica's help on the case; Arthur Hill as Jessica's publisher and would be romantic interest; and Brian Keith as the victim. In this respect, the show's formula was in place from the outset. Exotic locales, big guest stars, Jessica ruffling the feathers of the local's the same style the show would use and refine over its 12 seasons on the air.moreless
  • Great show already!

    Jessica Fletcher is a retired school teacher who's husband died and she gets involved in murder mystery writing as unbeknowest to her, she finds herself in fame and fortune.

    When her nephew Grady, hands in a transcript and she becomes very famous.

    Gets invited to a lot of parties.

    A long way since her home is in Cabot Code Maine!

    Wonderful acting and writing to start off a show IMO!
  • Jessica Fletcher is taking the world by storm... without even wanting to! Roped into her nephew Grady's scheme to make her a famous writer, the once lay-low fiesty woman is now one of America's most famous mystery writers. However, a murder for HER to solmoreless

    I LOVE the pilot movie!!! It's so great and extremely clever!!! Basically what happens further into the episode is that Jessica must attempt to break the murder down and solve it- even if it means breaking her own heart. I adored this pilot movie and I have watched it too many times to count. Angela Lansbury is sensational as Jessica and the wide arrangement of other colorful guest stars makes this movie- and the show behind it- a complete winner!moreless
Jessica Browne

Jessica Browne

Kitty Donovan

Guest Star

Bert Convy

Bert Convy

Peter Brill

Guest Star

Herb Edelman

Herb Edelman


Guest Star

Michael Horton

Michael Horton

Grady Fletcher

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • 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.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • 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.

  • NOTES (5)

    • 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.


    • 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 Dantès (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).