Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Hooray for Homicide 

Jessica protests when her book is turned into a tacky B-grade horror movie, and later winds up on the suspect list when the producer is murdered.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ross Hayley
Marta Quintessa
Allan Gebhart (as James Mac Arthur)
Norman Lester, Esq.
José Pérez ...
Lt. Mike Hernandez (as Jose Perez)
Jerry Lydecker
Morgan Stevens ...
Scott Bennett
Marty Strindberg
Sunny Finch
Wayne Powers ...
First Assistant Director
Erik Holland ...
Detective Mack Brody


When Jessica hears on TV that director-producer Jerry Lydecker is turning the movie after her respectable mystery book The Corps Danced At Midnight into cheap slash junk with sex and gore, she flies to Hollywood to protest, but studio boss Marty Strindberg, who sends her a junior lawyer, and Lydecker have a contract clause she signed waving her rights to object. When Jessica intends to apologize to Lydecker, she finds him killed on he set, and becomes the only obvious suspect. Fortunately LAPD Detective Mack Brody, an amateur mystery writer himself, has enough faith in Jessica to encourage her snooping and believe she saw evidence which disappeared during the minute she talked to the security guard. Lydecker's ruthless behavior and romantic affair with the unexperienced female co-star provide several possible motives... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

28 October 1984 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jessica reveals in this episode that the "B" in J.B. Fletcher stands for Beatrice. See more »


When Jessica hands Marta the water, she thanks her in a whisper, the scene repeats and Jessica hands her the water again from a wider angle. The last sentence Marta speaks before occurs does not match her lip movements. See more »

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User Reviews

"Within a Half an Hour, They'll Try to Overpower"
24 December 2009 | by See all my reviews

Classic film star Virginia Mayo plays a studio wardrobe manager in this star-studded Hollywood-based episode featuring many familiar television veterans, as Claude Akins, Melissa Sue Anderson, John Astin, Ron Palillo, John Saxon, Morgan Stevens and Lyle Waggoner.

The action begins at her Cabot Cove residence, when Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) learns via a television news report that a motion picture studio prepares to adapt her bestselling first Mystery, "The Corpse Danced at Midnight" into a rather lewd film production, causing her to consult with friend and neighbor Captain Ethan Cragg (Claude Akins) to chauffeur her to the airport, so that she may protest her objections directly to the source of this travesty.

Jessica meets several individuals at the studio and surrounding localities, including Ross Hayley (John Astin), Marta Quintessa (Samantha Eggar), Allan Gebhart (James MacArthur), Sunny Finch (Marianne McAndrew), Paddy (Hank Rolike) and Ted Lafferty (Paul Ryan), some open to her suggestions and willing to assist in Jessica's plight to tone down the carnal aspects, which, of course, are not covered in her original material.

But when she meets Producer Jerry Lydecker (John Saxon), who also plans to direct the picture, after a bitter exchange, he informs Jessica that she has signed over film rights, and, therefore has no input into the matter.

Studio chief Marty Strindberg (Lyle Waggoner) clarifies the legal ramifications of Jessica's contract, but sympathetically appoints a junior lawyer, Norman Lester, Esq. (Ron Palillo), to resolve her any differences.

On the set, Eve Crystal (Melissa Sue Anderson) and Scott Bennett (Morgan Stevens), who are cast as the leads in "The Corpse Danced at Midnight" don't seem to mind shedding a few garments to model for the poster, to which Jessica also objects but can't seem to exchange rational dialogue with Scott, although she manages to connect with Eve a little more readily, after Eve and Scott rehearse a scene in a memorial park on an indoor set.

Norman Lester helps Jessica to decide that she hasn't treated Jerry Lydecker nor the company as sensitively as she may have, and so she returns to the studio that evening after most of its lights have dimmed.

But there on the set, Jessica stumbles across a body, with a Security Guard and police officers not far behind, to accuse her of murder.

LAPD Lieutenant Mike Hernandez (José Pérez) and LAPD Detective Mack Brody (Erik Holland) soon change their tunes, however, and embrace Jessica's cooperation to assist in their investigation, after she has discovered a brass button at the scene of the crime, which suddenly disappeared upon her return to the scene, after she had been taken aside for questioning.

When Jessica attempts to search a dressing room trailer, she witnesses an altercation between Allan Gebhart and Ross Hayley, who nearly knocks her to its floor, as he tries to escape the scene.

Elinor (Virginia Mayo) welcomes Jessica into the studio's Wardrobe Department, which she manages, and affirmatively answers her requests to scrutinize the garment racks, a search which Elinor facilitates with her capable organizing skills.

Marta Quintessa invites Jessica to an outdoor party early that evening, at which Jessica manages to weave together the clues involving the missing piece of evidence, and deciding the reason as to why one of the suspects had been feigning drunkenness for "Hooray for Homicide."

The cast is rounded out by Wayne Powers as 1st Assistant Director, Lisa Hope Ross as Tour Guide, Barbara Lynn Block as TV Newswoman, Jack Scalici as TV Newsman #1, R.J. Adams as TV Newsman #2, and Michael Milhoan as Security Guard.

This episode marks the second of only two television roles to date by Lisa Hope Ross, and the first television acting role by Michael Milhoan. This also represents the first of three "MSW" appearances each for John Saxon, Morgan Stevens and Lyle Waggoner, and the first of five "MSW" appearances each by John Astin and R.J. Adams. Virginia Mayo, acting since 1939, and Hank Rolike, acting since 1973, have unfortunately since passed.

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