Jessica reopens a 16-year-old murder case at the urging of a dying author who felt injustice was done.



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Episode cast overview:
Dep. Police Comm. Bradley Folkes
Eric Grant
Cynthia Harris ...
Phyllis Thurlow
Daniel Hannigan
Dorothy Folkes
Stephen Thurlow
Ret. Det. Bert Kravitz
Ernie Dolan
Richard Thompson Grant
Emory Bass ...
Jonathan Barish
Madeline (as La Reine Chabut)
Victor Impelleteri
Kate Randolph Burns ...
Isaac Turner ...
Eddie Folkes


When Jessica learns from Phyllis Thurlow that her dear friend journalist and writer Daniel Hannigan has died, she decides to continue his research into what he had told her was the wrongful imprisonment of a man who has been in jail for 16 years. The man in question is Phyllis' brother Martin Thurlow, who was convicted of killing his wife Lydia. Daniel was convinced that the murderer was in fact Lydia's brother, Eric Grant. Grant's father is a power in town but Jessica gets good support from the Deputy Police Commissioner, Bradley Folkes. She comes to believe that Martin Thurlow is innocent but isn't convinced Grant is guilty. A bullet worn as a pendent is the vital clue that leads her to solve the mystery. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

28 October 1990 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last TV role of Van Johnson. See more »


When receiving the anonymous letter suggesting to check the digitalis levels in order to reveal murder, the secretary says she 'tried to handle it as little as possible a soon as it came in'. Nevertheless the police-officer does nothing to prevent tampering and grabs the note with both hands smearing it all over with his fingerprints and then even hands it to Jessica (who is slightly more cautious and handles it with minimum finger-contact). See more »

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User Reviews

O, Danny Boy, the Fireplace Poker's Falling
11 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks one of the last appearances of, and final television role for, Mala Powers, who began her film and television acting career in 1942. Guy Stockwell, who appears in three "MSW" episodes, who began his film and television career in 1946, and Emory Bass, who appears in two "MSW" episodes, have also since passed after this, one of their respective final roles. Classic Film star Van Johnson also marks his final television performance in this, his third of three "MSW" roles.

Investigative reporter Daniel Hannigan (Van Johnson) has spent sixteen years researching the murder of Lydia Grant Thurlow, whose husband, Martin Thurlow, has been convicted of committing, by shoving her into a glass-paneled cabinet during an alleged domestic argument. The unseen Martin maintains his innocence, as does Daniel and his assistant, Phyllis Thurlow (Cynthia Harris), the sister of the wrongfully arrested Martin Thurlow.

When Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) is notified of Daniel Hannigan's passing, she travels to Philadelphia to attend his services, under the arrangements of mortician Jonathan Barish (Emory Bass), with Daniel's close friend Ernie Dolan (Stephen Young) in attendance. Phyllis asks Jessica to bring along the notes from the case which Daniel had shared during a prior meeting, in which he had asked Jessica to consider writing the book which he has researched. When Phyllis pleads with Jessica finish Daniel's work, Jessica harbors mixed feelings.

Deputy Police Commissioner Bradley Folkes (Bradford Dillman) arrives at the viewing, paying his respects, and then to invite Jessica to lunch, at which he maintains Martin's guilt, while Jessica shares Daniel and Phyllis' suspicions that Lydia's brother, Eric Grant (Anthony Geary), had committed the crime during a reaction from illegal chemical substance abuse, which he has since been treated to overcome. Martin had passed a lie detector test, showing his innocence, but the results were lost during the original investigation, and the fingers were pointing to his wealthy father-in-law.

Richard Thompson Grant (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) then arrives at the restaurant, to agree with Commissioner Folkes that justice had been served, and that his son, Eric, did not murder his daughter, Lydia, but that his son-in-law, Martin, had done it. If Jessica continues to pursue an investigation, then he will take legal action against her, in the same manner in which he had threatened Daniel Hannigan before her.

There was at least one other individual in the residence that fateful night sixteen years ago, Lydia and Martin's then three-year-old son, Stephen Thurlow (Raphael Sbarge), who has since been reared by his maternal Grandfather, Richard Thompson Grant, and brainwashed to believe his father's guilt, according to his paternal Aunt Phyllis Thurlow. Stephen now hears a second possible side to the story upon confronting Jessica at the library.

Eric Grant, too, maintains his innocence, as he arrives at the Philadelphia Aiport from Atlantic City with Madeline (LaReine Chabut), who is immediately and reluctantly sent directly back to Atlantic City by Eric's domineering father, Richard Thompson Grant. Jessica visits with Eric, with his father on hand to tell her that she's "grasping at straws" by trying to track down a lead about Eric's former dealer, J.R., whose reference appears in early newspaper accounts but soon disappears from them. "He wore a bullet on a chain around his neck," Eric recalls, but little else except that he escaped with his life after being shot in Chicago during the political convention of 1968.

When Jessica takes this information to the office of Commissioner Folkes, with his assistant, Victor Impelleteri (Johnny Crear) on hand, Commissioner Folkes tells her that he does not remember J.R. cause he had inherited the case from the commissioner who retired to South Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the police receptionist, Madge (Kate Randolph Burns) enters, presenting an anonymous note which the office has just received claiming that Daniel Hannigan had been murdered by poison.

Jessica then visits Retired Detective Bert Kravitz (Guy Stockwell), who spends his time tending customers at Crusty Eagle Bar and Grill. He tells her that he also maintains Martin Thurlow's guilt, before escorting Jessica to a taxicab, when someone fires bullets from across the darkened street to shatter the window of Crusty Eagle Bar and Grill. Jessica must now figure who has fired these shots, and whether or not Daniel had been poisoned. She and Commissioner Folkes take Jessica's suspicions to one of the parties involved with the conflict regarding the cold case, which continues to be fueled with hot emotions.

On Friday morning, rather than to attend services at St. Anthony's Cathedral, Jessica pays a visit to the residence of Commissioner Folkes, at which his very polite wife, Dorothy Folkes (Mala Powers) tells Jessica that she will try to track him down. Here, Jessica learns of Bradley and Dorothy's only child, Eddie Folkes (Isaac Turner), who lost his life fifteen years earlier in the line of duty as a narcotics' officer in the police force.

Jessica then arrives at the memorial park in the aftermath of "Hannigan's Wake," to deliver her verdict to Deputy Police Commissioner Bradley Folkes, she receiving additional assistance from Daniel's friend Ernie Dolan, as becomes necessary.

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