Murder, She Wrote: Season 11, Episode 7

Fatal Paradise (13 Nov. 1994)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
7.3
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Chicago businessman Philip Sparling orders a 'not real smart guard dog'. A month later on Martinique, Melanie Venable asks Jessica whether her boy Hilton has any writing talent, but she ... See full summary »

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Title: Fatal Paradise (13 Nov 1994)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
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Maurice Delagre
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Melanie Venable
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Phillip Sparling
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Jeff Delagre
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Lauren Delagre
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Norma Willens
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Graham Farrow
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Hilton Augustus Venable
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Collette
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Police Captain
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Cassie Yates ...
Dorie Sparling
Marc Gomes ...
Sgt. Courbet (as Marc Andrew Gomes)
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Storyline

Chicago businessman Philip Sparling orders a 'not real smart guard dog'. A month later on Martinique, Melanie Venable asks Jessica whether her boy Hilton has any writing talent, but she hasn't even read his manuscript yet. She's saved by the "hotel des Deux Perroquets"'s owner, Lauren Delagre from Cabot Cove, whose teenage son Jeff(rey) -who digs the receptionist Collette- is the repairman, while daddy Maurice plays poker and loses half of the hotel to Graham Farrow. After a phone call from hotel guest Charlie Garrett, Sparling calls a woman in Washington, D.C. it's the Martinique hotel- she checks in as schoolteacher and amateur-writer Norma Willens. Garrett tells Jessica, whom he knew, he was hired by Sparling to find his missing wife Dorie; he bumps into her as a hotel guest, but a burly man soon tells him to stay away from her, the second time using fists; she calls him it's about a stolen fortune and she doesn't want to return; he helps her escape, but a masked sniper kills her. ... Written by KGF Vissers

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13 November 1994 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
"Bodies Near the Sand, Tropical Drinks Sludge Your Poker Hand"
9 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Several "MSW" Season Eleven episodes begin with a pre-title Prologue, including this one, which starts in Chicago, Illinois, as Phillip Sparling (Michael Callan) conducts a telephone conversation from his office desk, regarding his missing wife, Dorie Sparling (Cassie Yates), plus the unauthorized withdrawal of his corporate funds, which also vanishes.

Phillip Sparling requests the services of a bumbling private detective who doesn't ask a lot of questions, to locate the missing Dorie, and so he hires the hapless Chicago-based P.I. Charlie Garrett (Wayne Rogers), before making a call to Washington, D.C., to hire Norma Willens (Anne Lockhart) to retrieve his missing $six million.

Charlie Garrett trails Dorie Sparling from Miami, Florida, down into the Caribbean island of Barbados, and up into the French island of Martinique, at which the balance of the action of this episode transpires, in the section near Fort-de-France and Trinity Bay, upon which Dorie Sparling spends her time on a private yacht, owned by fellow Chicago native Graham Farrow (Stephen Meadows), and accompanied by Wendall (uncredited actor), who acts as a bodyguard of sorts.

Nearby stands Hotel Deux Perroquets, which translates to "Two Parakeets," or, perhaps, implies a haven for love-birds. But love may be difficult to realize around this neck of the woods, even though some guests or staff members may dream of achieving a mutual infatuation.

Maurice Delagre (Christopher Allport) and Lauren Delagre (Cynthia Harris) own and operate Hotel Deux Perroquets, along with their disrespectful young adult son, Jeff Delagre (Rodney Eastman), who back-talks both parents.

While Lauren takes his insults on the chin, she asks Jeff to respect his father, who's going through a difficult time with a lack of funds to oversee building repairs, as well as his mounting addiction to gambling, which drains the remainder of the family's finances.

Collette (Marie-Alise Recasner) serves as an efficient hotel desk clerk, as she spends her free time embarking in college correspondence courses in an attempt to accomplish a secure future should Maurice and Lauren lose their hotel. Jeff takes a liking to Collette and invites her to dances when local musicians play inside the ballroom, and so she manages a dance or two with Jeff, while suggesting that he respect his parents, but not in as many words.

Melanie Venable (Patricia Barry) and her aspiring writer son, Hilton Venable (Andrew Hill Newman), whom she addresses as Hilton Augustus Venable when flustered over his eye for women who remain beneath their social status (or at least until she has a chance to have them properly investigated) arrive from Richmond, Virginia. Melanie instantly distrusts Norma Willens, to whom Hilton takes an unrequited fancy, to Melanie's disdain.

Lauren Delagre, Melanie Venable, and Charlie Garrett each delights in the arrival of Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), Lauren because now she has nearby her dear old friend from Cabot Cove, Melanie because now she may ask Jessica to read one of Hilton's Short Stories, and Charlie because now he plans to entwine Jessica into his search for Dorie Sparling.

Lauren reminisces that it is, indeed, her dear old friend Jessica who had introduced her to Maurice when he served as a French Attaché to the United Nations. (This series generally follows a continuity in tune with actual chronological time tables. In 1994, it would have been ten years since J.B. has first published and ventured from Cabot Cove. But, considering that Lauren and Maurice's biological son, Jeff, would have aged several years beyond ten, this disclosure indicates that Jessica hadn't been as provincial as implied at the onset of the series.)

Anyway, before Jessica and Charlie discover each other at Hotel Deux Perroquets, Dorie entertains Jessica and Lauren on the yacht, when Graham and Wendall board to meet them. Afterwards, when Dorie cleans the bar, she discovers the attaché containing the $6 million beneath the floorboards (and reacts in surprise, indicating that she's not the one to have embezzled the cash).

Maurice, meanwhile, gambles away half of the hotel ownership, which Graham Farrow wins in a Poker round with Police Captain (Maurice Roëves) and an unidentified fourth player, as Sergeant Courbet (Marc Gomes) enters the hotel to report an incident to his Police Captain, while Graham gloats over his half-ownership.

Charlie finally meets Dorie when she arrives at the hotel, and she accepts an invitation for cocktails after Charlie informs her that he's also from Chicago, and they realize that they've attended the same schools. But Wendall breaks up the reunion, forcedly ordering Charlie that Dorie is "off limits."

When Charlie finally meets Jessica, he convinces her to detain Graham at the hotel, while he attempts to rescue Dorie from the yacht. But back on ground, at Trinity Bay Inlet, Charlie discovers the attaché containing the cash, along with a body slain by a semi-automatic rifle, as Charlie shoots at the fleeing perpetrator.

Charlie hides the attaché beneath the wooden floorboards of a porch, before he is picked up by Police Captain and Sergeant Courbet for questioning, what with his smoking pistol and all, after the killer's bullet had exited the body.

Jessica, maintaining Charlie's innocence, strolls along Trinity Bay Inlet with Lauren, leading Lauren directly to the tree which nestles Charlie's defense bullet and removes it from the bark to prove her point.

Jessica also has her hands full in protecting Charlie from Wendall's fists, as the $six million changes hands again without Charlie's knowledge, while other suspects attempt to leave the beauty of Martinique and its "Fatal Paradise."

This episode represents the second of two "MSW" guest roles each for Patricia Barry and Cynthia Harris, the third of three for Christopher Allport, the fourth of four each for Michael Callan, and also for Anne Lockhart and Cassie Yates (who play sisters their first time around), as well as the third of five "MSW's" for Wayne Rogers in his role as P.I. Charlie Garrett.


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