When a congressman suddenly dies from a heart attack, Jessica is asked to temporarily replace him in Washington.


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Episode cast overview:
Kaye Sheppard
Det. Lt. Avery Mendelsohn
Diana Simms
Congressman Dan Keppner
Harry Parmel
Ray Dixon
Joe Blinn
Thor Danziger
Wendell Joyner
Harold DeWitt
David Hooks ...
Commitee Chairman Ronald Olsen
Jensen Collier ...
Jade McCall ...
Driver's Partner


US Congressman Wendell Joyner gets a fatal heart-attack at 's party, arranged by Congressman Dan Keppner and dodgy lobbyist Harry Parmel, actually at a party for a potential successor, officially in his bed. The governor of Maine demands Jessica to fill in as federal legislator for a few weeks till the party can officially select a new Congressman. She keeps on Joyner's staff for her short tenure, notably helpful driver-press agent Joe Blinn and administrative assistant Diana Simms. Detective Lieutenant Avery Mendelsohn tails Jessica and explains he suspects Joyner to be murdered after finding out his corpse was moved. She decides to help him sleuthing on and around Capitol Hill, including dirty lobbying, after suspiciously well-housed nobody Martha Craig is found murdered and recovering alcoholic Keppner was drugged and robbed on the street, believing he was framed clumsily and discovering if it all ties in to a legislature vote on a cannery in Maine... Written by KGF Vissers

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Plot Keywords:

party | washington d.c. | cult tv | See All (3) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

6 January 1985 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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"You Put the East Wing in; You Take the East Wing Out; You Find a Couple Bodies, and You Shake the Town About"
7 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks the final appearance of Jade McCall, who acted on television for a brief period, beginning in 1978. Edie Adams, acting since 1952, Frank Aletter, since 1955, Herschel Bernardi, since 1937, and David Hooks, acting since 1956, have unfortunately also since passed.

Occasionally, well-versed IMDb Message Board participants comment upon the plausibility of a particular "MSW" episode premise, such as the legitimacy of a relationship in a family unit type of setting, or the standard legal protocol of a courtroom sage, or the "science" in a "science fiction" plot because these may not exactly correspond with the knowledgeable individual's understanding of the way in which some of these things really work. Here, several have questioned the standard methods of procedure in "political fiction" reflecting the U.S. state and federal level, in which a governor would instantly appoint a mystery writer to hold the Congressional seat of a deceased U.S. Representative for an interim period until a special district election may be scheduled.

Maine, since circa 1963, and unto the present day, elects two Representatives to the U.S. Congress, a figure based upon its population relative to other states and commonwealths, for Representative to serve two-year terms, then facing re-election if they decide to campaign for this. Upon its 1820 statehood, when the U.S. reached its 16th Congressional Session, Maine had received one at-large representative, until congressional districting was implemented, to form seven seats effective for the 17th Congress, in 1821. At its peak, between Congressional Sessions the 23rd through 27th (1833-43), Maine had the honor of sending eight U.S. Representatives to the Washington DC Capitol Building. The numbers began to dwindle, and by the 88th Congress (beginning in 1963), Maine is down to two U.S. Representatives (while each state elects two Senators regardless of its population). Such a plot, therefore, may work the more readily in an unidentified state, or one bearing several Congressional Districts.

Depending upon state laws, interim candidates to fill vacant seats by departing Senators may be appointed by a governor of that state, but vacant seats left behind by Representatives generally remain vacant until filled by special elections of constituents. Screenwriters seem to know exactly how to bypass standard legal procedures here, by focusing upon the need to maintain a canning factor in the vicinity of Cabot Cove, to maintain employment levels for the community. Cabot Cove sectors react differently to industrial development and natural conservation in their vicinity. From one Cabot Cove episode to another, citizens may fight the notion of development, whereupon at other times, they seem to embrace it. The character of Seth Hazlitt (absent here) usually campaigns to preserve historic landmarks and attempts to salvage as many trees as possible, and Jessica must figure a way to assuage everyone's doubts to decide upon a workable solution to benefit the common good.

So, adding this sort of conflict to the mix, the ball is in the court of Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) to travel to Washington, DC, to fill a vacancy when the Governor of Maine (unseen) appoints her to fill the seat vacated by U.S. Representative Wendell Joyner (Frank Aletter) for a temporary yet very crucial point in time when Congress is set to vote upon legislation to retain a cannery in her Maine district. Plus, a nice-looking cast of guest stars never hurts the interest of any episode very much.

Martha Craig (Uncredited Actress) appears in a hotel room with Congressman Joyner, Congressman Dan Keppner (Stephen Macht), Lobbyist Harry Parmel (Nicholas Pryor) and Ray Dixon (Mitch Ryan), someone secretly photographing activity which could prove incriminating, when an official collapses to his death, but before the body is moved, to indicate a cover-up.

Jessica accepts the challenge, after meeting with Joyner's Press Agent Joe Blinn (Gary Sandy), who doubles as chauffeur, and transports Jessica to his office, at which Administrative Assistant Diana Simms (Linda Kelsey) begins to clear her desk, under the assumption that her position has been terminated. But Jessica insists that Diana stay on because of her expertise in operating the office, plus because of Jessica's compassion to retain Diana's employment.

Jessica makes the rounds, meeting with Congressman Dan Keppner, Lobbyist Harry Parmel and Ray Dixon, as well as with Lobbyist Kaye Sheppard (Edie Adams), Thor Danziger (Mark Shera), Harold DeWitt (Colby Chester) and Chairman (David Hooks) when testifying before Congress, a feat she somehow manages to squeeze in during the course of her murder investigation.

But then, Congressman Dan Keppner finds himself in even deeper trouble than before, after another body is discovered in a hotel room, and he cannot explain his drunken stupor, after someone has framed him for two murders.

Detective Lieutenant Avery Mendelsohn (Herschel Bernardi) handles the investigation with Jessica contributing to the sleuthing in the hallways of Congress and its secret chambers for this "Capitol Offense."

Rounding out the cast are Jensen Collier as Clerk and Jade McCall as Driver's Partner.

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