IMDb > "Murder, She Wrote" It Runs in the Family (1987)

"Murder, She Wrote" It Runs in the Family (1987)

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Peter S. Fischer (created by) and
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
View company contact information for It Runs in the Family on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
1 November 1987 (Season 4, Episode 6)
Jessica's British cousin, Emma MacGill (played by Angela Lansbury), is charged with an old flame's murder. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
How the Other Half Lives and Murders See more (1 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)

Angela Lansbury ... Emma McGill
John David Bland ... Derek Constable

Mark Lindsay Chapman ... Johnny Constable

Christopher Hewett ... Humphrey Defoe

Richard Johnson ... Lord Geoffrey Constable

Jane Leeves ... Gwen Petrie

Rosemary Murphy ... Sybil Constable

Anthony Newley ... Insp. Frost

Carolyn Seymour ... Pauline Constable

John Standing ... Arthur Constable

Ian Abercrombie ... Dr. Blandings
Lester Fletcher ... Rev. Twilley

Pamela Kosh ... Mrs. Dexter-Hundley
Peter Browne ... Butler
Peter Ashton ... Burt
D.J. Sullivan ... Pru (as D. J. Sullivan)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Walter Grauman 
Writing credits
Peter S. Fischer (created by) and
Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Peter S. Fischer (written by)

Produced by
Peter S. Fischer .... executive producer
Anthony Magro .... associate producer (as Anthony J. Magro)
Robert F. O'Neill .... producer
Original Music by
David Bell 
Cinematography by
Robert C. Moreno (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Michael J. Lynch 
Production Design by
Leslie Parsons 
Art Direction by
Peter Samish  (as Peter A. Samish)
Set Decoration by
Robert Wingo 
Costume Design by
Al Lehman 
Production Management
Ronald Martinez .... unit production manager (as Ron Martinez)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joseph A. Ingraffia .... first assistant director
Robert M. Williams Jr. .... second assistant director
Art Department
John Hathaway .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Deland 'Dee' Lyttle .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Steve Purdy .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Tim Cooney .... sound mixer
Dale Johnston .... supervising sound editor
Special Effects by
Johnny Borgese .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Jim Michaels .... visual effects producer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Ron Stephenson .... casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bettylee Balsam .... costume supervisor
Lambert Marks .... costume supervisor
Radford Polinsky .... set costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Wayne Hampton .... colorist
Marc Wielage .... telecine colorist
Location Management
Jim McClafferty .... location manager
Pete Juliano .... location manager (uncredited)
Music Department
John Addison .... composer: theme
Laurie Higgins Tobias .... music editor (as Laurie L. Higgins)
Transportation Department
Robert 'Bob' Routhieaux .... driver: production designer (uncredited)
Other crew
Philip Gerson .... story editor
Robert E. Swanson .... story editor
Robert Van Scoyk .... executive story editor
Greg Knapp .... set medic (uncredited)
Desi Scarpone .... production assistant (uncredited)

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Peter S. Fischer  creator
Richard Levinson  creator
William Link  creator

Produced by
Kevin Corcoran .... assistant producer
Makeup Department
Teresa M. Austin .... key makeup artist
Rita Bellissimo .... hair stylist (as Rita Bellissimo Bordonaro)
Lori Benson .... makeup artist
Dino Ganziano .... hair stylist
Ronald W. Smith .... hair stylist
Gerald Solomon .... hair stylist
Robert L. Stevenson .... hair department head
Ann Wadlington .... hair stylist
Vera Yurtchuk .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Stephen Swofford .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Louis G. Friedman .... assistant director
Elena Santaballa .... dga trainee
Michael-McCloud Thompson .... dga trainee
Art Department
Tom Margozewitz .... assistant property master
Sebastian Milito .... construction coordinator
Ted Wilson .... carpenter
Sound Department
James L. Aicholtz .... sound mixer
Gregg Barbanell .... foley artist
Beau Biggart .... adr mixer
Barney Cabral .... adr editor
Joe Campana .... assistant sound editor
Richard Coleman .... sound recordist
Mark Kamps .... assistant sound editor
Susan Kurtz .... sound effects editor (1992-1994)
Richard LeGrand Jr. .... sound editor
Anthony Milch .... sound editor (as Tony Milch)
Linda Moss .... sound editor
Cindy Rabideau .... supervising sound editor (1993-1996)
Peter Reale .... re-recording mixer
Dean St. John .... adr mixer (various episodes)
Clancy T. Troutman .... sound editor
Special Effects by
George Zamora .... special effects coordinator
Steven Burnett .... stunts
Debbie Evans .... stunts
Larry Holt .... stunt performer
Terry James .... stunts
Steve Kelso .... stunts
Gene LeBell .... stunts
Khristian Lupo .... stunts
Buck McDancer .... stunt coordinator
Sherry Peterson .... stunts
Jimmy N. Roberts .... stunts
Michael M. Vendrell .... stunts
Greg Walker .... stunts
Dick Warlock .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Ben Beaird .... key grip
Owen Marsh .... camera operator (1987)
Stan McClain .... aerial camera operator
Keith H. Moore .... assistant camera
Serge Poupis .... first assistant camera
Matt Ramirez .... first assistant camera
Matt Ramirez .... photographer: second unit
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sandra Henderson .... head stylist
Editorial Department
Ken Latka .... film transfer colorist
Ralph A. Riccoboni .... assistant editor (1994-1996)
Music Department
Tim Boyle .... score mixer
Joshua Winget .... music editor (final season)
Other crew
Bundy Chanock .... set medic (1994)
Fred Fein .... stand-in
Betty Green .... title designer
Carolyn Hayes .... production auditor
Beth Humphreys .... legal supervisor
Mary Kara .... technical consultant (1995-1996)
Keith McNulty .... cue cards
Rod Ripley .... assistant to producers
Art Scholl .... pilot (1985)
Susan Vercelli .... production coordinator
Robert 'Bobby Z' Zajonc .... aerial coordinator
Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

47 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
UK:PG (video rating) (2007)

Did You Know?

Though Angela Lansbury doesn't appear as Jessica Fletcher in this episode, her photo as famous author Jessica is clearly seen on the dust cover of a book carried by Ms. Lansbury's alternate character, cousin Emma MacGill.See more »
Movie Connections:
References Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)See more »
How'd You Like To Spoon With Me?See more »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
How the Other Half Lives and Murders, 26 December 2009
Author: WeatherViolet from United States

This episode marks the last television role by Peter Ashton, who began acting in 1959, as well as the last television role by Lester Fletcher, who began acting in 1958. Anthony Newley, who began acting in film and television in 1944, and Christopher Hewett, who began acting in 1951, have unfortunately also since passed.

This also represents the one and only "Murder, She Wrote" episode which does not feature the character of Jessica Fletcher although she is mentioned by her identical British cousin, Emma McGill (Angela Lansbury).

It all begins at a table in a London pub, which the lively Emma McGill shares with friends Pru (D.J. Sullivan) and Burt Hawkins (Peter Ashton), when Humphrey Defoe (Christopher Hewett) approaches, to ask for a word with Miss McGill.

Humphrey explains that he represents a Viscount, Lord Geoffrey Constable (Richard Johnson), whose dying wish would be a visit from his old flame, one Emma McGill, at the Constable estate, in the British countryside a nominal distance from London.

An ever-humble Emma accepts the invitation for Humphrey to the estate of nobility, she standing on ceremony when the the Butler (Peter Browne) and the Constable family and Geoffrey receive her although Geoffrey confides to Emma that he admires her down-to-earth quality, and she his non-pretentious "salt of the earth" fortitude.

Geoffrey's sister, Sybil Constable (Rosemary Murphy), along with his elder nephew and wife, Arthur Constable (John Standing) and Pauline Constable (Carolyn Seymour), their son, Derek Constable (John David Bland), and Arthur's younger brother, Johnny Constable (Mark Lindsay Chapman) join Emma and Geoffrey at dinner, accompanied by Johnny's spirited guest, Gwen Petrie (Jane Leeves), whom Sybil and, especially, Pauline, treat in patronizing fashion, even more so than they do with the other "commoner" in their midst, Emma.

But Geoffrey and Johnny, even to an extent Arthur, receive Emma and Gwen well, Geoffrey then requesting that Emma perform for the family in the parlour on piano with vocals, to the disdain of Pauline, who feigns a headache.

When Emma launches into an English Folk Song "Early One Morning," Geoffrey asks her to liven the score, by playing something which he associates with her act of decades past. Emma then gleefully performs the Edward Laska-Jerome Kern composition "How'd You Like To Spoon With Me?," introduced in the 1946 film "Till the Clouds Roll By," some 41 years earlier--by Angela Lansbury.

The next day, Doctor Blandings (Ian Abercrombie) pays a call at the estate to examine Geoffrey, who announces that his patient's health has improved a great deal since his last visit, the results of which Geoffrey credits to Emma and her cheerful company.

While Emma packs a luncheon to picnic with Geoffrey, Gwen returns to London, Pauline prepares for a luncheon meeting with Mrs. Dexter-Hundley (Pamela Kosh) and her inner circle, and Derek joins his Uncle Johnny on a hunt in a nearby forest.

But soon Johnny and Emma find themselves in a great deal of trouble, as someone takes a shot at Derek, wounding him in the shoulder, and Emma is suspected of poisoning the body which she finds on her hands, with no explanation to the family or Scotland Yard Inspector Frost (Anthony Newley).

Emma suspects that the two incidents must certainly be related and carries her theories to Inspector Frost, she deducing that if one were poisoned, then an ancestor who had recently passed also may have been poisoned. With Arthur's permission, Emma and Inspector Frost approach Reverend Twilley (Lester Fletcher) to exhume the body from his church yard.

By the time that Emma is once again asked to leave the Constable estate, which she willingly agrees to do, she pieces together the puzzle after noticing one final clue of evidence, accepts the family's forgiveness for suspecting her, and agreeing with Inspector Frost about her Cousin Jessica's proclivity to sleuthing, Emma adding, "It Runs in the Family."

This episode represents the first of two "MSW" guest roles each for John Standing and John David Bland, the first of three "MSW" appearances for Carolyn Seymour, and the first of five "MSW" performances for Mark Lindsay Chapman.

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