Jessica narrates the tale of a burnt-out police detective sent to teach a university criminology class and challenges his students to solve a real homicide.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Fletcher
Bernard 'Bernie' Berndlestein
Lise Hilboldt ...
Elizabeth Mills
Colin Hale
Jane Ballinger
Lt. Amos 'Jake' Ballinger
Capt. Joe Rawlings
Sen. Andrew Grainger
Moira McShane
Garry Walberg ...
Sam Kendall
Sister Maria
Joanne Summerfield (as Elinor O'Connell)
Gloria Cromwell ...
Anna Gunderson
Robert Casper ...
Dean Howard Cogden
Vicki Lynne Davis ...
Graingers Secretary


Young drifter, Leo Gunderson, stumbles upon Janet Carr's corps on the beach and confesses to her murder, but only under duress. The case is officially closed after his conviction and sentence to 5 years. However lieutenant Amos 'Jake' Ballinger, who through political intervention was removed from active detective duty as criminology teacher at Freemont University, decides to solve the case as a 'practical exercise'. He is helped by students Bernie Berndlestein, who wants to become a P.I., and Mrs. Elizabeth Mills, a bored insurance professional. They find a link with the hostile politician, state senator Andrew Grainger. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

3 December 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Not quite classy enough
30 September 2017 | by See all my reviews

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.

As far as the bookend episodes go, there are certainly worse than "Class Act" before and after. It is a long way from being one of the best 'Murder She Wrote' episodes and one of the lesser episodes of the sixth season. Some of the bookend episodes suffer from Jessica's absence and having a lead character not as compelling. Luckily, what makes "Class Act" better than those episodes is that it does have a compelling lead, aided by a terrific performance from Barry Newman.

Newman is aided very well by Grant Heslov and particularly Lise Hilboldt, the chemistry he has with the latter is one of the biggest charms and high-points of the episode. Some of the story intrigues with some clever parts to the mystery and entertaining classroom scenes.

Production values as ever are slick and stylish. The 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. The writing is thought-provoking, light-hearted and amiable particularly between Newman and Hilboldt.

However, "Class Act" does have pacing issues. It does drag badly. Extraneous padding, some of it pointless, doesn't help, nor does that not all the characters serve much of a purpose at all. The story does intrigue at times but doesn't feel like a standalone episode of 'Murder She Wrote', more a pilot to a show that never materialised.

Those of Hallie Todd (wasted) and Heather McAdam (could have been left out entirely and one wouldn't miss a thing) are especially pointless and the two actresses struggle to bring anything to them.

In conclusion, decent but not quite classy enough. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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