Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Final Curtain 

The community center of Cabot Cove is getting ready to produce a play with retired actor David North. What follows is interrupted rehearsals and a murder in town.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Fletcher
Eve Simpson
Lyman Taggart
Jerome Mueller
Eric Benderson
David North
Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Kathryn Evans
Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Deputy Andy Broom
Barry Laws ...
Motel Manager
2nd Relative
Relative #1
Don Perry ...


Seth's old friend, actor David North, returns to Cabot Cove to try out a play in the local playhouse. At auditions for the minor roles, Lyman Taggart gives a terrible reading but is convinced the director and North are out to get him. At dinner that night, Taggart shows up again and threatens North. Meanwhile, North's former manager Eric Benderson shows up and moves in. As Seth tries to reassure a hard-drinking North, Taggart tries to enlist Jessica's help to get him in the play, and threatens her when she brushes him off. When Taggart crashes a cast party, Benderson throws him out. Later, Seth finds Benderson injured in the theater, and he later dies. Taggart comes out of a room at the Lighthouse Motel, and as Sheriff Metzger chases him, Jessica notices the motel room is burning. Jessica thinks North might be in danger and they rush to his hotel, where they smell gas and Metzger pulls an unconscious North out of his room. Jessica and Seth think it was an attempted suicide. Jessica ... Written by mama.sylvia

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Plot Keywords:

party | dinner | handcuffs | fire | dancing | See All (5) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

10 January 1993 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is one of 8 episodes of Murder in which Bradford Dillman appeared. He got his big break when he was cast as one of the "thrill killers" in Compulsion, loosely based on the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, in which two upperclass young men abducted and murdered a young boy merely to see if they could get away with it. See more »

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User Reviews

Unlike Eden with Adamant Eve and Others Able to Raise Cane before Seth
15 December 2009 | by See all my reviews

Bradford Dillman, Peter Donat and Dennis Christopher prove their range of acting versatility in this episode centering upon a troubled theatrical production rehearsing at Cabot Cove Playhouse.

Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) welcomes his old friend, the established and renowned actor David North (Peter Donat), whom Eve Simpson (Julie Adams) is naturally very eager to meet, to the celebrate the reopening of their community auditorium, by staging an historic-flavored Drama.

Kathryn Evans (Maureen Mueller), Jerome Mueller (Keene Curtis) and John (Barry Laws) rehearse among the company, along with David, Eve and Seth, when practice is interrupted by an outburst by Lyman Taggart (Dennis Christopher), who had driven many miles across Maine to audition for a role, for which the powers-that-be deem unsuitable for his offbeat talent and inflated ego, and is forcedly removed from the stage by John.

Eric Benderson (Bradford Dillman in an uncharacteristically intellectually-impaired and unsophisticated role) then appears at the theatre as a former associate of David North, his former Manager, with whom he has been estranged after sharing a falling out of favor, but decides to stay to oversee the production anyway.

Unbeknownst to Seth and the company, David has been experiencing difficult times as his career has spiraled into near oblivion, coupled with a decline in the status of his health, resulting in, or generating from, his growing dependency upon alcohol, causing suspicions to arise during a pre-show cast party, joined by David, Eric, Kathryn, Jerome, Seth, Eve and their good friend and neighbor Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury).

When Lyman Taggart crashes this gathering at a Cabot Cove restaurant, Jessica steps in to attempt to calm his neurotic behavior. Lyman then appeals to Jessica to support his need as an unemployed actor to join the cast, but she declines for lack of influence on the matter, and Eric Benderson has Lyman evicted from the premises, causing him to vow revenge upon Eric and Jessica.

Soon afterward, a body is discovered in a backstage dressing room, leading Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak) and Deputy Andy Broom (Louis Herthum) on the trail of the hyperactive and audacious Lyman Taggart, whom they discover fleeing from the Lighthouse Motel, at which Jessica discovers evidence of a mounting fire.

Sheriff Metzger and Deputy Andy, acting on a hunch by Jessica, discover David North, who is overtaken by gas fumes and smoke, in his room, and lead him to safety under the care of Seth.

After re-examining the scenes of the murder and attempted murder, Jessica concludes that the two crimes are connected, but not exactly the way which Sheriff Metzger surmises from his take on the evidence before the "Final Curtain" begins to draw.

The cast is rounded out by Bainbridge Scott as Hostess, John D. Gowans as Relative #1, Bonnie Hellman as 2nd Relative, Don or D.M. Perry as Patient, Ed Morgan as Motel Manager, and Nicholas Shaffer as Bit Player.

This episode marks Julie Adams' ninth of ten "MSW" appearances in the role of Cabot Cove Realor Eve Simpson, this series' most frequent female guest star, as well as Bradford Dillman's sixth of a record-setting eight "MSW" guest roles portraying differing characters. This appearance represents the only television acting credit to date for D.M. Perry, a.k.a. Don Perry. Keene Curtis, debuting in film in 1948, before returning to the stage, then acting on television regularly since 1970, has unfortunately since passed.

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