Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Good-Bye Charlie 

Jessica narrates her newest novel about a bumbling private eye and his girlfriend inadvertently solving a murder by trying to cash in on a dead relative's will.

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(as Anthony Shaw)

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(created by), (created by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Jessica Fletcher
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Bart Mahoney
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Jerry Wilber
Lise Cutter ...
Tillie Bascomb
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Man
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Sunny Albertson
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Sheriff Ed Ten Eyck
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Jack Yamoto
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Frank Albertson
...
Jake
Robin Bach ...
Lon Ainsley
Ronny Graham ...
Clarence
Tessa Richarde ...
Doreen
...
Raymond Fleischer
Stanley Grover ...
Businessman
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Storyline

Jessica tells her newest book plot, in which a private investigator who is so unsuccessful he and his girl fiend are about to be evicted learn his missing uncle Charles Kenneth Anderson John Doe, a bum who sponged on them for a few years and then took off, presumably becoming a hobo again, left him a fortune by testament, but it can't be paid until he's declared legally dead in five more years. They decide to fake his demise by claiming a John Doe and go for one in Huckelby. Alas the local sheriff Ed Ten Eyck is most suspicious as the same body is claimed by two other parties and murdered seems a definite possibility. After painstakingly getting out of jail and rid of the competition, they get another surprise. Written by KGF Vissers

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

7 January 1990 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the second and last appearance of Bill Maher and his mullet on Murder, She Wrote. His first appearance was season 5, episode 13, Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble as a slimy media promoter. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Say hello to 'Murder She Wrote's' first less than average episode
1 October 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.

This may be a very broad statement for "Good-Bye Charlie", and one that not everybody is going to agree with, but that is just my feeling. That is not to say that 'Murder She Wrote' didn't have disappointing episodes before then, it certainly did (every season had at least one average, some barely, episode, even Seasons 2, 4 and 5, three of the show's better seasons). Many of them were lifted though by a good cast and a couple (like "Truck Stop") being visually unique.

"Good-Bye Charlie" did have good things, but they come too far and between and not particularly noticeable. It is one of my least favourites of the bookend episodes (coming from someone who doesn't have a bias against them, not all of them are bad) and, while not the worst 'Murder She Wrote' episodes, it is one of my least favourites of the show as well. It just doesn't feel like 'Murder She Wrote', and not just because Jessica isn't the star but mainly because the general spirit of the show isn't here. It doesn't work as a standalone episode. And it would struggle to pass muster as an introduction for a show of its own.

Not even a very young Bryan Cranston can save this. The cast do do their best, but they are ill-served by bland, ill-drawn characters (some not adding anything to the story and instead pad or confuse it, and the lead character is less than compelling) and a dreary script that has far too heavy a tone for a usually light-hearted show.

Crippling "Good-Bye Charlie" is the story and the pacing. On first viewing, this stood out as very hard to follow. Now, two viewings later (for fairness sake), it still is, the worst of it borderline incoherent and does nothing with the somewhat distasteful premise that is far too removed (even for doing something different) to usual. And no, this is coming from somebody who has no problem with stories that aren't simple (actually love the more complex, twisty stories more in fact) and comprehension is usually not an issue either. Still to this day, "Good-Bye Charlie" is in the top 5 of the most confusing 'Murder She Wrote' episodes.

Also have no problem with episodes/films that don't move quickly. There are examples of both that have slow pacing and still manage to be great and more. "Good-Bye Charlie" crawls along at a snail pace, dragging on and on, and dramatically is as inert as one can get. That the story is also hard to follow and never attention-grabbing makes the episode fall in the top 10 dullest 'Murder She Wrote' episodes. It's too between this and the Dennis Stanton bookend with the (if remembered correctly) Mark Twain manuscript as the dreariest.

For all these numerous criticisms, there are good things with "Good-Bye Charlie". Production values as ever are slick and stylish, with a nice location. 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.

Angela Lansbury bookends the episode well. There are parts where the writing is thought-provoking.

On the whole, one of my least favourites from 'Murder She Wrote'. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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