Murder, She Wrote: Season 4, Episode 19

Just Another Fish Story (27 Mar. 1988)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
7.2
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Jessica is delighted to return to New York City with the announcement of her nephew's impending engagement. But when a restaurant employee is found dead, the engagement is threatened. Norman Fell and Sonny Bono guest-star.

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Airs Wed. Aug. 20, 11:00 PM on HMC

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Title: Just Another Fish Story (27 Mar 1988)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Valentino Reggioce
...
Harry Finlay
...
Lt. Rupp
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Chaz Crewe (as Dick Gautier)
Michael Horton ...
James Carroll Jordan ...
Doug Brooke
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Alice Brooke
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Mimi Harcourt
Debbie Zipp ...
Donna Mayberry
...
Cabbie
Jack Tate ...
Yuppie
Zale Kessler ...
Cook
...
Chef
Elkanah Burns ...
Medical Examiner
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Storyline

Jessica is in New York to visit her nephew Grady and to meet his fiancée, Donna Mayberry. She's also there to see the restaurant she's invested in. She learns very quickly - starting with the cab driver coming in from the airport - just how cut throat the New York restaurant business can be. Jessica is treated rudely by the restaurant Maitre d', Chaz Crewe, but finally manages get a table. When Crewe is found dead in the kitchen the next day, Jessica has a murder to solve. As for Grady and Donna, it's obvious to Jessica that they need to open up to one one another if they're to be happy. Written by garykmcd

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27 March 1988 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
"Love Can Make You Sappy If You Find Someone Who's Frozen Stiff"
31 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Philip Gerson serves on the "Murder, She Wrote" production team as Story Editor for 30 episodes and Script Editor for two (from Seasons Three through Five) as well as Screenwriter for nine episodes (among Seasons Two through Six) including his penning this episode, "Just Another Fish Story." Philip often adds a refreshing touch of Comedy into his Mystery screenplays, as is evident here....

According to Cabbie (Richard Molinare), the New York City restaurant business is quite volatile, as eateries often don't last very long in one location. As Cabbie transports his fare to Alice Farms Restaurant, he mentions that a Serbo-Croatian restaurant has stood in this location within the past two years.

And now, Cabbie's passenger emerges from his taxicab to face the establishment into which she has recently invested, as a young man in cowpoke attire scrutinizes her from its sidewalk, who turns out to be Grady Fletcher (Michael Horton), welcoming his Aunt Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), to introduce her to his fiancée, Donna Mayberry (Debbie Zipp), who serves as Accountant at Alice's Farm Restaurant.

Alice Brooke (Valerie Landsburg) serves as chef at the restaurant named after her, and co-operated by her brother, Doug Brooke (James Carroll Jordan). In addition to Donna Mayberry, Alice and Doug also employ Chaz Crewe (Richard Gautier) as Host, Harry Finlay (Jack Carter) as Bartender, and a Waiter (Duane Edwards).

Chaz Crewe seems to have lost Jessica and Grady's advance reservation for a table, but somehow manages to seat incoming guests who slip him a tip, to the objection of Doug, and certainly Jessica, who, again, has made her reservation weeks in advance.

Mimi Harcourt (Brenda Vaccaro), a free-spirited "City Magazine" columnist, who pens the must-read "Who's Into What?" happens by to request to interview "Jennifer Fletcher" as Mimi restaurant-hops from Alice's Farm to Reggioce's, this operated by Valentino Reggioce (Sonny Bono), so as not to display partiality, and, thereby, to avoid alienating restaurateurs and chic diners who follow her column.

Harry Finlay entertains Jessica and Grady with a Hemingway-signed cork, as they await their table and Donna, who appears before Waiter informs Jessica that they are out of the caviar which she requests to commemorate this special occasion of Donna and Grady's engagement.

(Back up to the bartender who served Ernest Hemingway at this location. Harry must remain a fixture at this restaurant, which changes management from year-to-year. Either that, or else he carries the cork and the penknife to open drawers wherever he goes.)

When Donna invites Jessica and Grady to dinner with her parents, in Fishkill, New York, Doug informs Donna that he expects her to finish an accounting report that evening, and so the Mayberrys must reschedule their engagement dinner for the next evening.

But the next morning, when a body is discovered in Alice Farm's freezer, the victim of a bludgeoning by a frozen yellow-tailed fish, plans to attend the Mayberrys' celebration in Fishkill must be again postponed.

Lieutenant Rupp (Norman Fell) and Medical Examiner (Elkanah Burns) investigate the body in the freezer, as Jessica happens by to request a speedy dismissal of Donna's services in order for them to leave New York City for Fishkill, but Jessica stumbles across evidence along the way and joins in the investigation in order to expedite matters of the heart for the benefit of young love.

Jessica's investigation takes her back to Reggioce's Restaurant, where she discovers additional clues, as well as a page indicating a list of silent partners for Alice's Farm among Donna's papers.

Aunt Jessica also discovers that Donna and Grady are keeping secrets from each other, that Donna would prefer the domestic life to an Accounting career, and that Grady has previously met Mr. Mayberry, when he fired Grady from an assignment five years prior, at Mayberry-Watimer Corporation.

And so, Yuppie with Grady (Jack Tate) provides the final clue, which triggers Jessica's sudden realization of logic as she tracks a route of merchandise fencing, of murder by the fish which she was served for lunch that day, and, thereby, figure a way to champion young love amid "Just Another Fish Story."

This episode represents the first acting credit by Elkanah Burns, and also the first of two "MSW" appearances for Dallas Cole, the second of two each for Jack Carter, Norman Fell and Richard Gautier, the first of three for Brenda Vaccaro, the second of three for Zale Kessler, the third of four for James Carroll Jordan, the second of five for Debbie Zipp (and her first of four as Donna Mayberry), and the eighth of twelve for Michael Horton (each in his role as Grady Fletcher).

Norman Fell, acting in films and on television since 1954, and Actor/singer Sonny Bono, performing in films and on television since 1965, have unfortunately since passed.

(Extra points for the presence of Brenda Vaccaro, Sonny Bono, Jack Carter, Norman Fell and Richard Gautier, as well as Richard Molinare, Duane Edwards and Jack Tate with their comic relief from a somewhat tedious episode which suffers from a horrible title and much corniness, and the establishing of a turning point the direction of Grady from the program's focus. Brenda Vaccaro: the best thing about this otherwise weak entry.)


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