Murder, She Wrote

Season 4 Episode 3

Witness for the Defense

1
Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 04, 1987 on CBS
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
19 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Witness for the Defense
AIRED:
Jessica goes to Quebec to testify at the trial of a friend who is accused of killing his wife and burning his house.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Jessica gets called out as a meddlesome busybody.

    10
    This episode has all of the trademarks "Murder, She Wrote" is known for. Foreign locations (in this case Quebec), a strong mystery and a fantastic roster of guest stars. Chief among the guests in this one is the incomparable Patrick McGoohan as Oliver Quayle.



    We learn much about the murder in flashback, which is a device that has not been successful in the past (see "Trial by Error" in Season 2), but this episode pulls it off by setting the action in a courtroom with the trial in progress. What also adds to the excitement of the proceedings is that Jessica's friend is not being completely honest with her, and is letting his overbearing mother determine the course of his defense. It puts the outcome of the mystery in question, since it is usually safe to assume the suspect presumed guilty will be exonerated, but in this case, it's uncertain.



    This episode is a classic because of Patrick McGoohan. He's a brilliant actor, writer, and director (he was the most prolific killer on "Columbo," and wrote and directed several episodes, as well as his own series "Danger Man" and "The Prisoner.") As Quayle, he is flamboyant and fanciful in court, but appears absent-minded and aloof out of the courtroom. In some respects, he is a character very similar to Columbo, committed to his job above all else. A highlight is when he catches Jessica posing as an agent of his office and calls her out as a "meddlesome busybody!" And his exchange with Jessica at the end of the episode, implying a return trip to Quebec, is funny as well.moreless
Claire Trevor

Claire Trevor

Judith Harlan

Guest Star

Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan

Oliver Quayle

Guest Star

Juliet Mills

Juliet Mills

Annette Pirage

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Near the end of the episode, Judith Harlan is sitting in her lawyer's office wearing what looks to be a red tweed suit with a red and blue plaid blouse. In the very next scene, which takes place on the same day, she is wearing a black outfit with a taupe coat. Jessica, on the other hand, is wearing the same black dress in both scenes.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Oliver Quayle: Madam, it would seem that one of New England's most respected families is a breeding ground for homicidal maniacs!

  • NOTES (1)

    • Guest star Patrick McGoohan (Oliver Quayle) is most familiar to television fans from his long-standing roles on Danger Man and The Prisoner.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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