Murder, She Wrote: Season 8, Episode 11

Danse Diabolique (5 Jan. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
8.0
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Jessica unravels the death of a ballerina after she dances a ballet that has killed everyone who has tried it.

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Title: Danse Diabolique (05 Jan 1992)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
Claudia Cameron
...
SFPD Lt. Martin Kinicki
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Barry Carroll
...
Edward Hale
Daniel Pilon ...
Geoffrey Presser
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Damien Bolo
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Lily Roland
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Sgt. O'Connor
Lindy Nisbet ...
Florist Shop Clerk
Anthony Gordon ...
Backer
...
Delivery Boy
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Storyline

Geoffrey Presser's struggling San Francisco company has choreographer Edward Hale recreate the legendary Diabolical Dance, originally created for a czar's mistress. The dance has been performed exactly twice, each time abandoned after the lead ballerina died. (Jessica Fletcher correctly diagnoses a heart attack from a film made during an attempted 2nd production.) Jessica also discovers a curtain 'accident' is staged by Presser for publicity during the first rehearsal, viewed by prospective investors. Presser's wife, Claudia Cameron, is pushed from the lead role by a younger and craftier Lily Roland, to the exasperation of the lead male, Damien Bolo, prefers the mature dancer and barely tolerates the upstart's awkwardness. Lily dies during the premiere; she was poisoned, but not from the real rose that Bolo had substituted for a prop. Jessica examines the company and events with a critically sharper eye for ballet than SFPD detective lieutenant Martin Kinicki. Written by KGF Vissers (edited by GVP)

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5 January 1992 (USA)  »

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| (ballet sequence on tv screen)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The "fast-acting" poison used to kill the victim was Thallium. Thallium is a heavy metal, which takes a long time to kill its victims. See more »

Quotes

Jessica Fletcher: You made such a point that you wanted to reconstruct the ballet exactly as it had happened, but the film showed the ballerina never touching the skull. You arranged for it so that Lily would *clutch* the skull.
SFPD Lt. Martin Kinicki: The one with the needles laced with Thallium.
Jessica Fletcher: Puncturing her palms and killing her within a matter of seconds.
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User Reviews

 
Three Things of Which Jessica Would Never Get Enough-- No, Four
1 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Geoffrey Presser (Daniel Pilon) headlines a very nice looking cast, as he produces his San Francisco, California, based Ballet company, starring elegant and graceful premiere ballerina Claudia Cameron (Marisa Berenson), who, together with Geoffrey, shares a strong professional rapport in spite of their past divorce.

Trouble for the ballet troupe comes in the form of snippy young Lily Roland (Nancy Valen), who pulls all the stops to attempt to usurp Claudia's star in Geoffrey's dance company, going as far as to fling insults right and left amid cast and crew to shine in a revival of a cursed ballet "Danse Diabolique," which has been performed in Moscow to the audience of a Czarina, and in Paris, to be documented on film, with either long-past presentation overshadowed by the mysterious death of its leading ballerina.

Barry Carroll (Stephen Nichols) shares a romantic past with Lily, who now shuns the advances of this stagehand for the fame of the limelight.

Damien Bolo (Robert Torti) prepares to co-star with Lily in the theatric presentation of "Danse Diabolique," he receiving eleven roses from a "secret admirer" beforehand, or perhaps a dozen with one missing, to be used as a potential murder weapon, by poisoning its thorns.

Edward Hale (Adrian Paul) prepares for his role in the ballet as the character of Death, who rehearses in costume, to enter the stage from the basement via elevator, while hoisting a skull, to fend against the lead ballerina.

It is to experience this well-choreographed but doomed revival that Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) arrives in San Francisco to attend, to experience with her dear friend Claudia Cameron, who finds herself exiting Jessica's company in the mezzanine section in advance of the curtain calling.

As the curtain opens, "Danse Diabolique" proceeds gracefully and without a hitch except, perhaps, for the murder which occurs on stage before a frightened audience.

Jessica, naturally, rushes to center stage as the curtain draws to a close, to begin her investigation along with SFPD Lieutenant Martin Kinicki (Ernie Lively) and Sergeant O'Connor (Mark Costello).

During the course of this resulting investigation, Jessica remarks to Lieutenant Kinicki, "There are three things which you cannot get enough of: friends, chocolate and the theatre."

Well, during the course of this series, Jessica seems to gravitate toward a fourth possibility: her seemingly evident passion for not being able to resist a murder investigation or two or three....

The cast is rounded out by Lindy Nisbet as Florist Shop Clerk, Jenna Elfman as Ballet Dancer in background, Anthony Gordon as Backer, and Joel Weiss as Delivery Boy.

This episode marks one of the last roles for Anthony Gordon, who has been acting since 1975.


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