Murder, She Wrote: Season 2, Episode 20

Menace, Anyone? (6 Apr. 1986)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama
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Jessica struggles to protect her former student Carol when her boyfriend is blown up in her car and she is the only suspect.


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Title: Menace, Anyone? (06 Apr 1986)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mitch Mercer
Brian East
Karlene Crockett ...
Barbara McDermott
Carol McDermott
Elliot Robinson
Cissy Barnes
Donny Harrigan
Barry Primus ...
Det. Sgt. Len Berger
Doris Robinson
Det. Lt. Tad Travis
Kerry Sherman ...
Harold Ayer ...
Laurence Haddon ...


Jessica is the guest of honour opening the children's fund benefit exhibition tournament in Elliot Robinson's Green River Racquet tennis club, where her young friend Carol McDermott has a managing position. Brian East, Carol's charming fiancé who dumped haughty fellow tennis player Cissy Barnes for her, is killed by a dynamite explosion in the car he borrowed from Carol. Investigating detective lieutenant Tad Travis is a fan of Jessica, but is killed by knife when he visits Carol at home; she claims the killer is her beloved sister Barbara, an alcoholic who was buried three years ago after a plane-crash, however her grave is untended and Carol was in a psychiatric institution at the time, which Travis had already discovered. Then Barbara turns up alive, admitting she switched identity with a dead passenger. Jessica snoops among the tennis people... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

6 April 1986 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Singles on Court, Doubles in Sightings, and Triples for Body Count
22 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

No sooner does Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) arrive to continue her campaign to sponsor benefits for the children's fund, by traveling to Green River, Massachusetts, than bodies begin to turn up, resulting from a bombing, a stabbing and an overdose in this episode containing a little more violence than usual for the series.

Jessica's dear friend and tennis tournament organizer Carol McDermott (Linda Hamilton) serves as assistant to Elliot Robinson (Van Johnson), whose daughter, Doris Robinson (Betsy Russell), expresses that she has the qualifications to handle the bossy Carol's position in her father's organization.

Tennis star Cissy Barnes (Kelli Maroney) maintains that she has better qualifications than Carol to sustain a relationship with Carol's fiancé, Brian East (Bryan Cranston), even though Brian has dumped Cissy for Carol.

Tennis pro Mitch Mercer (Dennis Cole) and rising star Donny Harrigan (Doug McKeon) are also admonished by Carol for not following her rules of order on court and off.

On the evening of the reception to launch the fund-raising event, a bomb triggered by an automobile ignition explodes, fatally injuring its driver, causing an hyterical Carol tp believe that likely must have been the intended victim of revenge.

Long-term law enforcement partners Detective Sergeant Berger (Barry Primus) and Detective Lieutenant Tad Travis (David Spielberg) investigate the murder, enlisting the capable assistance of the volunteering Jessica, who vows to help her dear friend and colleague.

When Carol begins to blame her late sister, the auburn-haired Barbara McDermott (Karlene Crockett), for resurfacing to menace Carol, those around Carol begin to say that she must be hallucinating, for Barbara has been presumed dead for years, after losing her life in an airplane disaster.

But after other Barbara sightings begin to emerge, and a woman with red hair is believed to continue to harass Carol, a second victim is murdered as the result of a knife attack, after discovering a wig and a stick of dynamite beside a weeping Carol, who acts insanely.

Jessica contacts a sanitarium, at which a Barbara McDermott had once been reportedly treated, before her demise, and consults Rosie (Kerry Sherman) and Sexton (Harold Ayer), as the investigation encounters another series of twists and turns, including the reappearance of Barbara at the police station.

And as Jessica determines a connection between murders after piecing together clues, she realizes that there is going to be another murder, and rushes back to the Tennis Club to discover a victim of an overdose of tranquilizers, during round three of "Menace, Anyone?"

Rounding out the cast are Gus Corrado as Paramedic, Helen Baron as Reporter #1, Rod Porter as Reporter #2, Rick Jason as Patrolman, and Laurence Haddon as Judge.

This episode marks the first of two "MSW" guest roles each for Dennis Cole, Karlene Crockett, Rick Jason, David Spielberg, the first of three for Bryan Cranston, and the second of three "MSW's" for Van Johnson.

Van Johnson, acting in film and on television since 1940, Harold Ayer, acting since 1948, Rick Jason, acting since 1953, and Dennis Cole, acting since 1961, have unfortunately since passed.

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