Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Night of the Headless Horseman 

Jessica is in the wrong place at the right time to help her friend Dorian Beecher when he is accused of a murder he didn't commit.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Fletcher
Dorian Beecher
Karlene Crockett ...
Sarah Dupont
Sheriff Sam Rankin
Charles Siebert ...
Dentist Penn 'Doc' Walker
Dorn Van Stotter
Edwin Dupont
Brandon Douglas ...
Todd Carrier
Donald Thompson ...
Adam Ferris ...
Sanford Clark ...
1st Man
Gary Pagett ...


Only after arrival at Wenton, Vermont Jessica learns she was asked by her orphaned literary protégé Dorian Beecher, who succeeded as boys boarding school poetry teacher to the car accident-drowned daughter of local dentist Penn 'Doc' Walker, to play Dorian's 'mother' to impress his employer, Wenton Academy's pedigree-obsessed owner Edwin Dupont, whose daughter Sarah he loves, rivaled only by the studly riding instructor Nate Findley, an obnoxious womanizer who even did headmistress Charlotte Newcastle. Walking home after an embarrassing saber fight in a pub with Nate, Dorian is run down by the disguised headless horseman he always assumes to be Nate, on his black stallion Gunshot. Sheriff Rankin jails liar Dorian after Nate's decapitated corpse is found nearby, clumsily redressed as the horseman. Jessica sifts two plots from secrets and motives, involving an anonymous school funds embezzlement note, the secret society of mischievous schoolboys Todd Carrier, Robert and Brendan and a ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

4 January 1987 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title refers to the Headless Horseman, the ghost that rides through Washington Irving's story 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' and chases the schoolmaster Ichabod Crane. See more »


Charlotte Newcastle: I want you to stay away from Edwin's daughter. Satisfy your needs elsewhere.
Nate Findley: Is that an order? Or an offer?
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User Reviews

How to Get a Head in the World of Poetry
14 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wenton, Vermont, maintains its rural Colonial charm from its railroad depot to its old-fashioned inn, from its stables to its covered bridge, from its proclivity to costuming to its conforming school for boys, Wenton Academy.

It is into this nostalgic community which poet Dorian Beecher (Thom Bray) accepts a teaching position. to succeed the late Gretchen Van Stotter, who perished from a mysterious accident one year prior to the action of this episode.

Gretchen's father, Dorn Van Stotter (Guy Stockwell), serves as Stablemaster at Wenton Academy, under the supervision of proprietor Edwin Dupont (Fritz Weaver) and Administrator Charlotte Newcastle (Hope Lange), who soon begin to encounter an investigation over swindled funds.

Gretchen's fiancé at the time of her passing, Dentist Penn 'Doc' Walker (Charles Siebert), welcomes Mrs. Beecher, Dorian's "mother" upon her arrival to Wenton. It seems that Dorian has become serious with Sarah Dupont (Karlene Crockett), daughter of the stern Edwin Dupont, and needs someone kindly to present. And so, when he invites his former teacher Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), he doesn't relate the entire story.

Waitress Bobbie (Judy Landers) tends to serving Jessica and Dorian, as they gather at the Inn with Doctor Penn Walker, but festivities are interrupted by town bully Nate Findley (Barry Williams), who picks a fight with Dorian, who grabs a sword from the wall, but is interrupted by the entrance of Sheriff Sam Rankin (Doug McClure) and his assistants Deputy (Gary Pagett) and Uniformed Policeman (Tom Ohmer) when a brawl breaks out.

Those credited as 1st Man (Sanford Clark), 2nd Man (Forry Smith), 3rd Man (John England) and 4th Man (Brad Zerbst) appear at the mêlée and afterward, as they toss the sword from their truck upon finding Dorian by the creek. However, three of the combination are seen in either scene.

Because it happens to be a three-day autumn holiday at Wenton Academy, most of its pupils have left campus, with the exception of Todd Carrier (Donald Thompson), Robert (Brandon Douglas) and Brendan (Adam Ferris), who seem to enjoy the stable to the degree of founding a clubhouse upon its loft. They also seem to enjoy sleuthing around corners, and through the window of the loft.

So, on the "Night of the Headless Horseman," when a murder thickens the plot of romance from a distance, Dorian enlists Jessica to achieve "Poetic Justice."

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