Murder, She Wrote: Season 8, Episode 5

Lines of Excellence (3 Nov. 1991)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama
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Jessica accidentally discovers a box of computer tapping which leads to murder when she trades in her typewriter for a computer.



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Title: Lines of Excellence (03 Nov 1991)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Carmine Caridi ...
Dominic Rossari
David Ciminello ...
Michael Rossari
Lt. Timothy Chance
Charles Frank ...
Alan Miller
Derek St. James
David Groh ...
Henry Waverly
Lt. Cynthia Devereaux
Jason O'Connell
Rosalee Rossari
Tricia O'Neil ...
Linda Truitt
Ivan Kane ...
Corinne Kason ...
Mary Broussard ...
Student #1 (as Mary Valena Broussard)


Learning her brightest college writing class student, Michael Rossari, lacks the grades but was caught only after he changed them back after being admitted to her class, she tries to help him getting accepted. After upgrading her computer she joins a 101 class in the firm where he works. His superior Alan Miller is found murdered. Another superior tells the two NYPD stooges Michael must have supplied stolen computers, in fact his creditors forced him. Jessica works out the technological factor and comes up with another plot. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

3 November 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Jessica Fletcher: So if I finish a chapter of my new book in Cabot Cove, I can send it through the PHONE lines to my publisher in New York?
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User Reviews

Good-Bye, Typewriter, But -- Now, How Does This Newfangled Machine Work Again?
21 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Until this point in the "MSW" series, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) produces her manuscripts upon her trusty typewriter, which we observe throughout the course of many episodes, as well as spotting in opening credit sequences, as "Arnold raced from the room...."

As of now, Jessica has been introduced to the art of word processing in at least one prior episode, in which she studies system restoring, document disks and modems. But she has stood by her now-antique typewriter especially for fear of reports that word processor may lose written material.

After she settles into her New York City apartment, earlier this season, as a base for her proximity to her part-time instructing position at New York City University, Jessica finally decides to attempt producing copy by way of computer, an effort, in this case, which leads to dealing with burglary, hacking, infidelity and murder.

We begin the episode in Jessica's Criminology Writing classroom, inside which industrious participants as Mary Broussard as Student #1, George MacMinn as Student #2, and Student Michael Rossari (David Ciminello) obtain Jessica's lessons of the hour--or, at least until Doctor Raymond Auerbach (Alan Oppenheimer) stops by to request that Michael Rossari step into the hallway, the student leaving his books behind upon his desk.

Jessica considers Michael Rossari a promising talent even though Dean Auerbach doesn't, for Michael has signed up for the overbooked course by hacking the school's computer system and must now face the consequences of being expelled. Jessica carries Michael's books into her office to await word from Doctor Auderback of the situation, as she discovers a Manilla envelope addressed to her among his belongings, this containing a creative short story manuscript, which she deems as excellent.

Parents Dominic Rossari (Carmine Caridi) and Rosalee Rossari (Karen Kondazian) receive Jessica at their humble apartment, they discovering their son to be in additional trouble, as a hacker has infiltrated a computer laboratory at which Jessica has enlisted to learn the operations, involving Nero (Ivan Kane).

The laboratory workshop is established in a suite in the offices of Alan Miller (Charles Frank) and Henry Waverly (David Groh), with Linda Truitt (Tricia O'Neil) as instructor. Linda soon discovers that a gaming program which she created for the team has become pirated and marketed without her copyrighting credit, but she also carries on with one of her employers behind the back of his wife, Teresa (Corinne Kason).

Jason O'Connell (Conrad Janis) and Derek St. James (Alan Fudge) study the workings of a computer at the laboratory, which contains a partitioned window yielding a shielded but noticeable view into the office of its operators. Jason, especially, makes Jessica to feel the new machines "user friendly" and offers her tips which the instructors fail to explain especially after a body is found in the front office, and accusations begin to take flight.

NYPD Lieutenant Timothy Chance (Charles Cyphers) and NYPD Lieutenant Cynthia Devereaux (Randee Heller) enter the investigation, for which Jessica, a typically quick study, must learn the ropes connecting modern technology via "Lines of Excellence" in time for the Rossari family to celebrate their son's achievement, providing that Jessica has time to resolve that problem, as well.

This episode marks the third of three "MSW" guest roles by David Groh, acting since 1969, who has unfortunately since passed.

This also represents the second of two "MSW" guest roles by Charles Frank, second of two appearances by David Ciminello, third of three "MSW" guest roles by Conrad Janis, second of five guest spots by Alan Fudge, and fifth of five "MSW" guest performances by Tricia O'Neil. This also contains the only television acting role to date by George MacMinn.

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