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"Murder, She Wrote" Dead Eye (1993)

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A Very Negative Aspect of Photograph Shooting

5/10
Author: WeatherViolet from United States
1 April 2010

This episode introduces Chicago Private Investigator Charlie Garrett (Wayne Rogers) to the series, and begins with a pre-title Prologue filmed in Black & White, and set in Coral City, Florida, in 1963.

In this Prologue, bar patrons watch a televised new report of the Lee Harvey Oswald slaying in the aftermath of the J.F. Kennedy assassination in Dallas, Texas, with archive footage of the actual account.

Bernie Callan (Kevin Quigley) emerges from the bar to face the barrel of a .45 caliber pistol in the parking lot, and he is never heard from again for thirty years, until present day 1993, when law enforcement officials recover a body, believed to be the remains of Bernie Callan from a gutter, the victim of a gunshot.

Various associates of Bernie Callan from across the country then read newspaper accounts of the report....

In Chicago, Illinois, Charlie Garrett (Wayne Rogers), who has been investigating for more than thirty years by now, examines two envelopes which he has received in the mail from Bernie Callan, one post-marked November 25, 1963. Bernie has owed Charlie $3,000 for the duration, and so Charlie heads to Coral City.

In Coral City, Florida, Santo Angelini (Al Ruscio) plots a scheme with a thug.

In Denver, Colorado, Bernie's only child, Laura Callan (Linda Purl), tells her associate Hal Fredericks (Webster Williams) at the District Attorney's office that she must leave for Coral City.

In Miama, Florida, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) arrives to deliver a Mystery seminar at South Florida Writers' Conferrence, where she notices the newspaper article and also heads to Coral City, after she notices that Laura's hotel room, across the hall from hers, has been ransacked.

Coral City Police Chief Herman Gillis (Ben Masters) welcomes Laura and Jessica to his office but expresses his opinion that Jessica's Mysteries leave too many open-ended questions for his tastes, as he prefers clear-cut resolutions, which frustrates him in this cold case, considering that a body has been discovered after a probable thirty-year-old murder.

Charlie Garrett arrives at Herman Gillis' office before Laura and Jessica exodus, Charlie to request $3,000 of the $10,000 discovered in the victim's wallet, but Herman Gillis answers that there are too many loose ends to resolve before the spoils may be divided to rightful claimants.

As Charlie joins forces with Laura and Jessica to figure the root of the problem of Bernie's disappearance, Frank Hemet (Lonny Chapman) trails the three, as Charlie catches Frank's ransacking his room at Pink Motel, and Jessica approaches Frank to question his trailing Laura and herself, before discovering that her hotel room has also been ransacked, as has Laura's before hers.

FBI Agent James Whitman (Julian Christopher) enters the case, to meet with the investigation team, when Doctor Abner Farrow (Stewart Moss) arrives at Herman's office, presenting himself as an Instructor of Modern History, who wishes to learn from the team (Jessica, Laura, Charlie, Herman and James), by witnessing their meetings.

What everyone searches for would be negatives of photographs which Bernie Callan had taken back in 1963, which may link Santo Angelini to Lee Harvey Oswald in the days before the JFK assassination.

While FBI Agent James Whitman maintains that Oswald did not act in conspiracy because of the (albeit possibly incomplete) findings of the Warren Commission (the U.S. government's official investigation), the other investigators seek for answers to potential links, once and for all.

But more murders and murder attempts are made along the way because another body is discovered in a parked automobile, the victim of a gunshot, and yet another after an automobile rolls from a bridge after its brakes have been severed, and then someone is handcuffed and pushed from a boat into the harbor below, after photographs are burned to destroy the evidence of "Dead Eye."

The cast is rounded out by Jason Stuart as Motel Manager Terry Portman, Tom Alan Robbins as Assistant Manager, John Petlock as Michael, Dennis Paladino as Bartender, and Martin Goslins as Houseman.

This episode marks one of the most recent roles to date each by Martin Goslins and Stewart Moss, as well as the second of three "MSW" guest roles for Ben Masters, the third of three each for Linda Purl and Lonny Chapman, the first of five for Wayne Rogers in his role as Charlie Garrett, and the fourth of five "MSW's" for John Petlock.

Lonny Chapman, acting on television and in film since 1951, has unfortunately since passed.

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