A chance encounter with her old friend Michael Hagarty leaves Jessica standing over a dead Bulgarian diplomat and accused of murder.

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(as Anthony Shaw)

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Maureen Arthur ...
Veronica
Sam Behrens ...
Kevin Styles
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Sgt. Nash
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Roger Travis
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Lancaster (as John Rhys Davies)
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Glenda Morrison
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Sgt. Joe Santiago
Debbie Zipp ...
Donna Mayberry
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Ivanov
John Harnagel ...
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Officer (as Greg Barnett)
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Storyline

After British secret agent Michael Hagarty picks up his uneasy friend Jessica at the airport, where she was to meet Grady, she gets caught holding the gun that went off in his fight with a foreign agent during the frustrating hunt for the illusive mystery master-hit-man the Cobra, a fortune goes missing. Haggerty even feeds Grady a false story so he'll pretend she not his aunt. Meanwhile his station chief Lancaster's suspicions are fed by agent Roger Travis, who also tries to turn jailed suspect Jessica against Michael. Furthermore suspicious characters roam around, such as (if they are that) a Chronicle reporter, State Departement special representative Kevin Styles and Miami PD sergeant Joe Santiago. Yet Jessica keeps sleuthing, even behind bars... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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23 October 1988 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The filming schedule allowed Angela Lansbury's scenes to be filmed at the end of the seven day schedule. For this show, the majority of Jessica Fletcher's scenes occurred in a jail setting filmed on the Universal studio lot stage. The writer specified the adjoining cells with just jail bars separating the two cells. Creative license always justified Jessica (Angela) visiting inside the jail's cell, never in a visiting room! Only on "Murder, She Wrote" See more »

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User Reviews

 
They Shoot Snipers; Don't They?
12 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Season Five opens with this Robert E. Swanson-penned and Anthony Pullen Shaw-directed episode about international intrigue, great distrust, and a political assassination which lands Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in jail for the balance of the duration.

Anthony Pullen Shaw, a son of Angela Lansbury and Peter Shaw, averages one "MSW" episode per season to direct during its early years, and, beginning in Season Five, becomes a prolific Director, to amass 68 credits by series' finale.

This opens in San Francisco, California, where Grady Fletcher (Michael Horton) finds himself on assignment from his company to conduct an accounting project, with plans to meet Aunt Jessica at the hotel at which they have made reservations.

But Jessica doesn't show because at the airport, British MI6 Agent Michael Hagarty (Len Cariou) encounters her, to offer her a ride, and not even Jessica might imagine how extensive a detour Hagarty would have her to take this time.

Hagarty abandons Jessica in his automobile in an alley beside a bedraggled hotel, as he sneaks onto an upper floor to confront Ivanov (Joseph Ruskin), or "the Bulgarian," as he is often referred. When Ivanov asks for the password, and Hagarty doesn't supply it, Ivanov exits onto a fire escape, to descend into the alley, to enter Hagarty's automobile, from which Jessica emerges and cannot help him to supply its ignition key.

Two law enforcement officers dart into the alley via their automobile once gunfire reverberates, and the team discovers Jessica's hovering over a body. First Officer (Gregory J. Barnett) then apprehends Jessica for interrogation, as she removes a Zane Grey paperback from the victim's jacket to carry into the police vehicle.

SFPD Sergeant Nash (Michael Callan) incarcerates a frustrated Jessica, without heeding a word of her account, he claiming that the real Jessica Fletcher has reported her luggage and purse stolen from the airport. But when Grady arrives at her request to identify Jessica, he disavows this prisoner as his Aunt, to her chagrin.

British MI6 Commander Lancaster (John Rhys-Davies) and MI6 Agent Roger Travis (Maxwell Caulfield) meet with Hagarty at the dilapidated Conlin Exporters' office on a pier to discuss the feared international terrorist "the Cobra," who conducts political assassinations in various locations as Mozambique, Spain, Kenya and Greece, as Hagarty and Travis blame each other for botching cases under their charge of political protection. And now, these three trust not one another, for "the Cobra" strikes again.

Veronica (Maureen Arthur), a proverbial "Hooker with a Heart of Gold," neighbors Jessica in an adjoining cell, as the one individual who befriends Jessica and offers any assistance possible to bear the misunderstandings and confinement in conjunction with her malady.

Miami PD Sergeant Joe Santiago (Ron O'Neal) arrives at SFPD to discuss "the Cobra" and this case in process bearing his M/O after "the Cobra" has struck in Miami, Florida, with a similar political assassination.

U.S. State Department Attorney Kevin Styles (Sam Behrens) also arrives at SFPD with a similar itinerary, as he and Sergeant Joe Santiago ponder with Sergeant Nash the $500,000 pay-off, which "the Cobra" was to receive from a source from behind the Iron Curtain (still in effect at the time of this episode's production).

Glenda Morrison (Leslie Easterbrook) pounds upon the door of the hotel room reserved for Jessica, as Grady returns to his suite. Hagarty has instructed Grady to distance himself from Jessica for the safety of all three, and to report on any strange and suspicious circumstances.

Because Glenda Morrison is both strange and suspicious, further altercations erupt among Glenda, Grady and Hagarty, as Glenda claims to represent the Chronicle Newspaper, and having an appointment to interview Jessica, whom Glenda now believes to have been kidnapped and intends to report upon this breaking story, instead of a book interview.

Hotel Desk Clerk (John Harnagel) adds to the confusion, as he explains to Glenda that Jessica has yet to arrive (upon Glenda's next visit) with Sergeant Joe Santiago on the trail of the missing $500,000, which leads to another altercation with Glenda and Grady. And now fiancée Donna Mayberry (Debbie Zipp) calls Grady's hotel room with Glenda's asking questions over Grady's shoulder, each lady wondering about the other, and not giving Grady the benefit of any doubt.

So, Grady's in hot water once again; Hagarty presents himself as Jessica's attorney, to lead to another confrontation, and tempers continue to erupt around the various departments after someone fires a shot at Grady and Hagarty from behind the tinted window of an automobile.

Will Jessica be able to identify "the Cobra" and to discover the prize at stake before another murder may be committed during her tenure as "J.B.. as in Jailbird?"

There seems to be a goof whether it originates in the original production or in re-broadcasts: three scenes (featuring Behrens, O'Neal and Callan at the station, Cariou and Horton in the taxicab, and Miss Lansbury and Caulfield at the jail cell) completely repeat themselves with an additional cycle. (Once they play, the action returns to the same exact scenes with Behrens, O'Neal and Callan at the station, Cariou and Horton in the taxicab, and Miss Lansbury and Caulfield at the jail cell.)

This episode represents one of the earliest roles by John Harnagel, as well as the first of two "MSW" appearances each for Sam Behrens and Maxwell Caulfield, the first of three for John Rhys-Davies, the first of four for Leslie Easterbrook, the second of four for Michael Callan, the third of five for Debbie Zipp (her second of four as Donna Mayberry), the third of seven for Len Cariou (each in his role as Michael Hagarty), and the ninth of twelve "MSW's" for Michael Horton (each in his role as Grady Fletcher).

Ron O'Neal, acting in film and on television since 1970, has unfortunately since passed.


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