Murder, She Wrote: Season 7, Episode 20

Murder, Plain and Simple (28 Apr. 1991)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
7.5
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During Jessica's trip to Amish country, her escort is accused of murder.

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Airs Thu. Sep. 25, 12:00 AM on HMC

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Title: Murder, Plain and Simple (28 Apr 1991)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Todd Eric Andrews ...
Ethan Kaufmann
Hunt Block ...
Reuben Stoltz
...
Sarah Lapp
...
Sheriff Hainer
Jay Robinson ...
Bishop Burkhardt
...
Rebecca Beiler
...
Jacob Beiler
...
Franz Kaufmann
Ed McCready ...
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Storyline

In Pennsylvania promoting her book, Jessica travels to Amish country to buy a handmade quilt as a gift for her nephew Grady's upcoming wedding anniversary. Her publisher's liaison man, Reuben Stoltz, offers to drive her there but they no sooner arrive than Jessica realizes Reuben was once part of the Amish community but left after being shunned. There's still a good deal of animosity between Reuben and one of the elders, Jacob Beiler, who is now married to Reuben's former sweetheart Rebecca. When Jacob is found dead - killed with a pitchfork and trussed up like a scarecrow - suspicion naturally falls on Reuben and Jessica has a murder to solve. Written by garykmcd

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28 April 1991 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Human Scarecrow and Mrs. Fletcher
26 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As we continue our tour of States with J.B. Fletcher, we now enter the "Plain and Simple" rural Amish region near Lancaster in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

After a publisher's meeting in Philadelphia, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) decides upon an excursion across the counties to purchase a hand-made Amish quilt to present to nephew Grady on the occasion of his anniversary.

On Sunday morning, Publisher's Assistant Reuben Stoltz (Hunt Block) volunteers to chauffeur Jessica on her errand; and while they approach their destination, young Amish rebel Ethan Kaufmann (Todd Eric Andrews) flees from a fellowship meeting, nearly to collide with Reuben's automobile (which bears Pennsylvania license plate upon its front bumper, displaying a minor blooper in this otherwise carefully-researched episode).

Reuben lies injured after Ethan flees the scene, causing Jessica to seek assistance at the fellowship meeting held at the residence of Rebecca Beiler (Jennifer Runyon) and the stern deacon Jacob Beiler (Michael Sarrazin). Sarah Lapp (Martha Byrne), in attendance, has been shunned by Jacob, causing her to remain isolated and forsaken.

Bishop Burkhardt (Jay Robinson) tells Jacob and Franz Kaufmann (Arlen Dean Snyder), Ethan's father, that charity is the Lord's mission, which means that they ought to break from Sabbath worship to assist a stranger in need.

But upon their arrival at the accident scene, the fellowship discovers Reuben as no stranger, for he had also been shunned and exiled to Philadelphia.

To Jacob's dismay, Rebecca invites Reuben and Jessica into their residence for Reuben to recuperate from his back injury overnight, for "Charity comes before all else."

During the course of the evening, Franz Kaufmann ushers the prodigal Ethan unto Jacob, who punishes him with a two-month curfew even after he agrees to pay for the damages to Reuben's automobile. Ethan thus vows to leave the area, as Reuben had before him, causing Franz to tell Bishop Burkhardt that Jacob speaks not for God, but for himself, as Rebecca repeats to Reuben upon their secret tryst in the barn that night, explaining an incident in their past which caused Reuben's shunning.

At sunrise on Monday, Jessica strolls across the farm during her morning constitutional, during which time she observes birds above behaving erratically, leading her glance to espy a scarecrow across the filed created from a victim's body.

Sheriff Hainer (John Ireland), a thorough investigator familiar with the ways of the Amish, decides that the murder must be caused by an outsider even though it is "Murder, Plain and Simple."


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