"Murder, She Wrote" Crimson Harvest (TV Episode 1994) Poster

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"They Want to Buy with Paper Bills Some Peace to Call Their Own ~ A Winery Which Loan Sharks Cannot Steal"
WeatherViolet18 May 2010
When a murder by firearms occurs one evening outside of Knob Hill Jewelry Store, in San Francisco, California, the Grimaldi family, which owns and operates a winery in nearby Sonoma Valley, invites dear old friend Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) to the memorial services, one week later (with the second "MSW" episode set in Sonoma County vineyards).

Anna Grimaldi (Lainie Kazan) has resided in Cabot Cove, Maine, during her formative years, and has since relocated to the West, married, and become widowed with three children: son, Paul Grimaldi (Joseph Cali), daughter, Alicia Grimaldi (Diane DiLascio), and adoptive son, Pete Grimaldi (Eddie Velez).

But now, it would seem that Paul has secretly married divorcée Michelle Scarlotti (Elizabeth Gracen), whose vote would count toward the future direction of Grimaldi Vineyards, whereas Paul Grimaldi would have no say in matters of family policy, but Michelle and her five-year-old son from her first marriage somehow would.

Attorney Edgar Warner (Robert Pine) serves as legal counsel for Anna Grimaldi, who maintains that there are more important things to worry about than the vineyard and winery which has been in the family for generations. But Alicia maintains that she knows what's best for the family because she remembers her father's words that without the land and the business, the family won't stay together.

Henry Wilson (David Newsom) serves on staff at Grimaldi Vineyards, as a meek-tempered, soft-spoken production expert in the winery. Henry displays a fondness for Alicia, but she has more important things to worry about than romance and hints that her brothers would have done well to think along the same lines.

Lars Anderson (Gregg Henry) acts as a loan shark, holding a mortgage over the Grimaldi estate, with vineyards, winery and residence. When Pete encounters Lars while standing on a trestle bridge, an altercation begins to arise, but family friend Felipe Paez (León Singer) and his pet canine, Bolivar, manage to calm tempers.

Jessica, too, attempts at every turn to smooth tempers flaring around the Grimaldi household during this difficult period of mourning and concern for the family's property.

But when a body is discovered inside the basement of the winery, the victim of a bludgeoning by a heavy pole, hardly anyone has a plausible alibi.

Sheriff Serafio Zuniga (Ismael 'East' Carlo) arrives to investigate the second murder, which Jessica is convinced is linked to the first murder, but Sheriff Zuniga initially requests no assistance, or, more to the point, no interference from Jessica. So, she investigates anyhow.

When noticing a painting, Jessica suddenly realizes that Bolivar, the pet of Felipe, must have been a witness to the murder and sets a trap to nab her suspect of the perpetrator of both murders to control the "Crimson Harvest."

This episode represents the first of two "MSW" appearances for Elizabeth Gracen, the second of two for David Newsom, the third of three each for Joseph Cali and Ismael 'East' Carlo, the fourth of five for Robert Pine, and the sixth of seven for Gregg Henry.
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Wine, tension and murder
TheLittleSongbird29 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.

"Crimson Harvest" does suffer in comparison to Season 4's "A Very Good Year for Murder", also set in a winery. Although the killer in that episode was not surprising (this aspect is an improvement here, with a case where there are more suspects and one where any one of them could have done it and had reason to), it was more twisty, had a more intriguing mystery, a better cast (nobody here is on the same level as Eli Wallach) and more visually striking. The mystery here is certainly fun and intriguing, if containing fewer surprises and not having much originality.

Most of the supporting cast are hardly amateurish but are pretty standard and get the job done without much spark. The episode is marred a little by the whole business with the dog being on the silly side and only serving a point towards the end, even then the dog in Season 1's "It's a Dog's Life" was used more cleverly.

On the other hand, cannot fault Angela Lansbury and Robert Pine, Gregg Henry, Elizabeth Gracen and particularly Lainie Kazan lend charming support. Really enjoy Lansbury and Kazan together.

As said, the mystery is fun and intriguing enough with an ending that ties things up nicely.

Production values are slick and stylish as ever with 'Murder She Wrote'. 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, amiable and has an endearing cosiness.

In short, nicely done if not blowing the mind. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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