"Murder, She Wrote" Bloodlines (TV Episode 1993) Poster

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"Oops, there Goes Another Broken Heart; Oops, there Goes Another Thwarted Scheme; Oops, there Goes Another Bludgeoning Tool."
WeatherViolet17 February 2010
Classic film stars Mickey Rooney, Tippi Hedren and Don Murray guest as the widowed parents of young adult children entangled in a romantic triangle as the once-affluent world of horse-breeding crumbles before their very eyes.

This time around, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) plans to set her next Murder Mystery in the Blue Ridge horse-breeding country, and so she visits her dear old friend Matt Cleveland (Mickey Rooney), a jokey-turned-trainer at Hampton Farms, in Glen Falls, Virginia.

During her greeting with old friend Wally Hampton (Don Murray), who owns Hampton Farms, Jessica says that she hasn't seen old friend Catherine Noble (Tippi Hedren) yet. Catherine owns the neighboring Noble Farms, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, unless Noble Farms and Hampton Farms' joint star race-horse, Swift Prince, manages a win in Saturday's upcoming Raleigh Handicap event.

A widowed Catherine Noble has an only child, materialistic, pretentious Tracey Noble (Ami Dolenz), who continuously plans her upcoming wedding to fiancé Paul Hampton (Sean O'Bryan), the only child of the widowed Wally Hampton, an otherwise responsible son who enters a banking position, against his father's better judgment.

A widowed Matt Cleveland also has an only child, daughter Jill Cleveland (Shawnee Smith), who follows in her father's business as very capable jockey to Swift Prince, in partnership with Hampton Farms and Noble Farms, sort of like the arrangement between Tracey and Paul, although Jill and Paul seem to share an eye for each other, as well.

Usuallly on "MSW," a widowed mother would have the only son, who becomes "the man of the house," while the widowed father would have the only daughter, of whom is behaves overly protectively, but everyone's banking on a win at Raleigh Handicap by Swift Prince this Saturday...or at least until Matt is struck down in the stable one evening and Swift Prince is injected by a performance-enhancing substance into his "Bloodlines."

Jessica and Jill see to it that Matt is all right once Jessica discovers the "needle in the haystack," by immediately retrieving a syringe cleared of fingerprints in a bed of straw over the ledge of a corner in the darkened stable.

But tempers begin to flare by the manipulative Lloyd Mentone (Stephen Macht), who crusades against a Swift Prince win any which way he can, and bribes Hampton Farms Assistant Trainer Gus Tardio (Don Swayze) into action, as Lloyd fights Paul Hampton at the bank in the processing of Catherine's loan.

Doctor Garney (Frank Farmer) gives Swift Prince a clean bill of health on the day after the attack, he saying that the injection ought to wear off by Saturday, as well as his hoof injury, while Sheriff Clyde Benson (Blake Gibbons) and the others ponder the reason for the perpetrator's scheme and the method behind the madness.

That evening, Jessica works in Matt's office, with no one else around Glen Falls. Catherine attends a meeting with Wally, and Jill accompanies Paul for dinner, as Tracey arrives to invite Jessica to a nearby French restaurant.

But along the rural route, not far from the stables, Jessica and Tracey discover a body, which, as it turns out, has been bludgeoned with a flashlight.

Sheriff Clyde Benson enlists Jessica's capable assistance in investigating the murder, as she discovers that someone has cleverly switched Swift Prince with Victor Way and sent the genuine Thoroughbred off to South America, and now she suddenly realizes that someone will immediately inject a fatal dosage into the substitute horse's "Bloodlines."

The cast is rounded out by Dave Powledge as Delivery Driver, Scott N. Stevens as Deputy Vernon Kelly, and Craig Shoemaker as Scott the Trainer's Helper.

This episode marks the second of two "MSW" appearances each for Blake Gibbons, Craig Shoemaker and Don Swayze, the second of three for Sean O'Bryan, and the fourth of five "MSW's" for Stephen Macht.

(Extra points for Mickey Rooney, Tippi Hedren, Don Murray, and for Sean O'Bryan's big scene with Ami Dolenz, and, of course, for introducing into the series a flashlight as the murder weapon.)
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Murder on the racehorse track
TheLittleSongbird11 November 2017
Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

"Bloodlines" is somewhere in the middle when it comes to ranking the Season 10 episodes. It's a decent episode, just not a great one and could have been better considering that there are some talented names in the guest cast. Its weakest asset to me was the denouement which was not all that shocking or clever but it was mainly to do with that it was so poorly acted by the murderer (one of the worst-acted denouements on 'Murder She Wrote').

The story has enough intriguing moments and does engage, but it does tread familiar ground (it's also not the first episode to feature race-horsing, "Dead Heat" and "From the Horse's Mouth", both also above average but unexceptional episodes, did too) and the pacing is at times erratic. It takes a little too long to get to the murder and the crime-solving is very interesting and well-done but slightly rushed. At times, the writing is clunky particularly in the denouement.

Conversely, "Bloodlines" benefits from an as ever terrific Angela Lansbury and good support from Mickey Rooney, Tippi Hedren and Don Murray. The rest of the cast are competent but not enough to bowl one over, the only disaster area is the murderer in the denouement.

The big scene that is mentioned in the previous review is a narrative standout and "Bloodlines" has a pretty unique murder method and weapon, which makes it rise a notch above being too ordinary.

Production values are slick and stylish. music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

Writing is thoughtful and amiable mostly, with some exceptions.

Overall, decent above average episode, but unexceptional and a bit too familiar with an underwhelming denouement. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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