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

Community theatre comes to Cabot Cove
4 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

Season 9 to me is one of the weakest and most inconsistent 'Murder She Wrote' seasons, leaning more towards the disappointing with notable exceptions such as "A Christmas Secret". "Final Curtain" is another one of the exceptions. It is occasionally a touch convoluted and occasionally the pace could have been tighter, but it is a very atmospheric episode with one of the season's most compelling mysteries and it is also one of the few episodes of Season 9 and of the latter seasons that is emotionally resonant.

The season has mostly been disappointing for denouements, for every clever one like "The Wind Around the Tower" and "A Christmas Secret" there is also too-easy-to-solve, implausible or poorly acted ones such as (as far as previous episodes go) "Murder in Milan", "The Mole" and particularly "The Dead File". "Final Curtain's" denouement is not only surprising, it is also shocking and actually has both suspense and pathos, one of few cases too where one actually wants Jessica to be wrong and where the killer doesn't come over as that bad a person. It is also a denouement that is solved actually using evidence and not being reliant on coincidence or not-so-clever clues.

"Final Curtain" is also entertaining. The community theatre scenes are intriguingly and entertainingly done and seeing Eve Simpson is always a pleasure, particularly in a scenario that serves the character well and allows her to shine.

Splendid acting also helps. Not just an always terrific Angela Lansbury, William Windom as everybody's favourite curmudgeon doctor, the easy presence of Ron Masak as the never bumbling or pushover Mort and very funny and classy Julie Adams. Bradford Dillman and Dennis Christopher also do great work, but it's a very moving Peter Donat who makes the biggest impression.

Production values are slick and stylish, Cabot Cove is always a pleasure. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

Writing is amiable and keeps one on their toes guessing, while taking itself seriously at other times without going overboard.

All in all, very good and one of the better episodes of Season 9. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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