Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Death 'N Denial 

Jessica takes a trip to Egypt to finalize a cultural exchange program and ends up searching for a killer and a stolen artifact.



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Episode credited cast:
Jessica Fletcher
Sherif Faris
Sally Otterburn
Trevor Han
Steve Inwood ...
Rudy Grimes
Chaim Jeraffi ...
Insp. Omar Halim
Vanessa Thorpe
Bradford Thorpe
Naser Muhammad Hasan
Boyd Venton
Maura (as Jeri Lynn Ryan)
Minister of Interior (as Michael A. Saad)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Multiple Roles (voice)


Egyptologist Sally Otterburn phones Cairo museum director Sherif Faris the Nefertari bust is original, 4000 years old; he expects her to smuggle it to Cairo, promising an affidavit it's only a copy, and suggesting to use Jessica's favorite museum as cover; however Rudy Grimes had his phone wired and calls his boss Bradford Thorpe: the one in Cairo must be a fake; Thorpe's wife Vanessa agrees to finance $350,000. Jessica and Sally Otterburn arrive in Cairo where even Nasar, the driver awaiting them, who has two years New York cab driver experience, can't prevent a thief getting away with Jessica's bag, mainly containing notes; Sally phones Faris but assures him it's not "you know what", just when the Minister of Antiquities pays his museum a surprise visit. Inspector Omar Halim almost immediately investigates the theft. Nasar asks Jessica to help him get a visa to go legally to his fiancée in the US, now courted by a relative. Thorpe's loan shark Trevor Han demands the statue, ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

22 January 1995 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Angela Lansbury had appeared in Death on the Nile (1978). The title of this episode is a take off of that Agatha Christie work. Lansbury's character in that film was Salome Otterbourne, a name close to this episode's Sally Otterburn. See more »


The archaeologist Sally Otterburn refers to a bust of Queen Nefertari as being authenticated as at least 4000 years old. Queen Nefertari was chief wife of the nineteenth dynasty pharaoh Ramesses II, about 1250 BC, and busts of her could therefore be no older than about 3200 years old. See more »

Crazy Credits

Showing a Cairo mosque at sunset, the credits say "Man reciting a prayer in Arabic". What he is in fact chanting is a call to prayer, at one of the five daily prayer times. See more »


References Death on the Nile (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

"Find the Statuette Along the Nile; Pay the Blackmail Like a Crocodile; Then Discover Bodies for a While. Who Belongs with Whom?"
8 April 2010 | by See all my reviews

Mark A. Burley serves as an "MSW" Supervising Producer for 110 episodes from Seasons Eight through Twelve and also serves as Screenwriter for eight episodes: one each set in New Mexico, Texas and Cabot Cove, plus five unique venues, the only "MSW" episodes set in Australia, Mexico, British Columbia, Wisconsin and this, the only one set upon the continent of Africa.

Cairo, Egypt, sets the stage for "Death 'N Denial," a title which parodies the Agatha Christie adaptation of "Death on the Nile" (1978), which also features series star Angela Lansbury.

This begins with a long-distance telephone conversation between Sally Otterburn (Finn Carter) in New York City and Sheriff Faris (Turhan Bey) in Cairo, Egypt, as she informs him that she has obtained the genuine Medina Nefertari statuette, which is valued at $ten million, as his museum has discovered its Medina Nefertari as a substituted imitation. Sheriff insists that Sally return the genuine artifact to Cairo as soon as possible.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) serves upon the NYC museum board as a trustee, and so she accompanies Sally Otterburn to Cairo, without being informed that Sally attempts to smuggle the Medina Nefertari back into the Egyptian museum.

Muhamed Nasir Hasan (Jim Pirri), whom they usually address as "Nasir," greets Sally and Jessica at the Cairo Airport, where Rudy Grimes (Steve Inwood) bumps into Sally to snatch her carry-on bag, which actually belongs to Jessica, as she reports the incident to Inspector Omar Halim (Chaim Girafi), causing Sally to realize that someone other than Sheriff knows about the contraband.

Rudy Grimes has been in cahoots with fellow American Bradford Thorpe (Eric Pierpoint), who has been in a great deal of trouble with Loan Shark (Michael Paul Chan).

Bradford's sole assets which he has not already squandered belong to his manipulative wife, Vanessa Thorpe (Lee Meriwether), who objects to Bradford's dealings with disreputable scoundrels, including Maura (Jeri Ryan), who seduces Bradford and receives an airplane ticket to Rome, against her demands.

Boyd Venton (James Read) serves as desk clerk at the Cairo hotel, to which Nasir leads Jessica and Sally, who shares a past which didn't work out with Boyd, who also has dealings with Rudy, who's out to collect on the Medina Nefertari, as well as to blackmail Bradford, to garner Vanessa's additional disdain. Vanessa doesn't warm to Jessica, whom she knows from NYC Egyptology circles, and Jessica doesn't warm to Sheriff, who attempts to enlist her assistance to locate the statuette.

Following a series of altercations, Nasir observes someone's entering the hotel elevator, causing Nasir to ascend the stairwell. But, as Jessica presses the elevator button, its car returns into the lobby containing the body of a shooting victim, as Nasir returns from the stairwell, to be met by Inspector Omar Halim, who arrests him on the spot for murder.

Inspector Omar Halim requests that Jessica not interfere with his official investigation, but she does anyway because she maintains that Nasir is innocent. After all, considering the brief moments of time which it takes for the elevator to rise and to lower, how could Nasir have had time to hide the gun which is discovered in his apartment?

And, also, Nasir's fiancée lives in New Jersey, and Jessica has been planning to see what she can do to champion young love, by seeing that Nasir's passport renewal goes through the appropriate channels, for him to return to New Jersey to marry his fiancée before she has a chance to marry his cousin, while Nasir is stranded in Egyptian custody amid all of this "Death 'N Denial?"

The cast is rounded out by Mike Akrawi as Waiter, Michael Saad as Minister of Interior, and Zuhair Haddad as Multiple (voice).

Only two of this episode's thirteen guest performers have appeared upon other "MSW" cast lists, as this marks the third of three guest starring roles each for Lee Meriwether and Steve Inwood.

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