Murder, She Wrote: Season 3, Episode 9

Obituary for a Dead Anchor (7 Dec. 1986)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama
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When an obnoxious out-of-town TV personality is murdered, it's up to Jessica to figure out the killer.



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Title: Obituary for a Dead Anchor (07 Dec 1986)

Obituary for a Dead Anchor (07 Dec 1986) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Episode cast overview:
Judith Keats
Kevin Keats
Richard Abbott
Kathleen Lloyd ...
Paula Roman
Doug Helman
Rex Robbins ...
George Fish
Mark Stevens ...
Nick Brody
Erik Stern ...
Gerald Foster
Frank Annese ...
Ronald Ross
Patti Karr ...
Clara Polsby


TV show Scrutiny star presenter Kevin Keats must drop his story on art collector Ronald Ross's drug connections to take over a JB Fletcher's roots profile. All Cabot Cove wants to look good, but the boat he has sheriff Amos Tupper discretely hire to escape (after witnessing a Ross associate drop a briefcase from a helicopter) explodes. Mayor Sam Booth orders Jessica to stop 'her' media circus. She discovers Keats was unfaithful with colleague Paula Roman, his wife knew and was in town. Seth's loco Dr. Wylie Graham finds the burned corps isn't Keats' - he staged his disappearance by switching places with the real victim, producer Doug Helman. Jessica digs further in both private and professional lives till the threads meet. Written by KGF Vissers

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Plot Keywords:

boat | sheriff | hotel | jail | tv anchor | See All (6) »





Release Date:

7 December 1986 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Jessica's middle name is Beatrice. See more »

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User Reviews

"Scrutiny" Reporters Scrutinized by Reporters without Scrutiny!
20 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks one of the last appearances by Mark Stevens, who has acted in film and on television since 1943.

When Paula Roman (Kathleen Lloyd), a reporter of a NYC-based national television expose program, "Scrutiny," arrives in Cabot Cove, Maine, to request to interview Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) for a human interest segment, Jessica ponders the invitation, she planning to consult with civic leaders to determine their favorability under Paula's promise to present J.B. Fletcher's community as a "picture postcard" of Americana.

Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley), Mayor Sam Booth (Richard Paul) and Hill House Hotel Manager George Fish (Rex Robbins) eagerly approach the arrival of the television magazine crew, while Doctor Wylie Graham (Robert Hogan) remains in Jessica's corner as the "voice of reason."

When Paula returns to a studio staff meeting, Investigative Reporter Kevin Keats (Chad Everett), Senior News Reporter Nick Brody (Mark Stevens), Operational Vice-President Richard Abbott (Robert Lipton) and Producer Doug Helman (Robert Pine) inform her that Kevin Keats will take the Cabot Cove assignment, while Paula would cover a tentative segment about a Nebraska male high school pupil who has made the school's female basketball team.

The reason for the switch lies in the fact that Kevin Keats has been amassing a collection of detractors, including some of those within the "Scrutiny" staff, as well as his estranged wife, Judith Keats (Abby Dalton), an irate interviewee who declares revenge, Ronald Ross (Frank Annese), and Ross' henchman, Gerald Foster (Erik Stern).

Keats' arrival in Cabot Cove is met with irresponsible behavior from television crew members, who disturb Jessica's flower garden, commotion from an array of reporters from various news organizations, and evidence that he continues to be followed by unsavory characters.

Thus, a secret plan is launched with ulterior motives, as Keats requests Amos Tupper to rent a boat with a cabin, for Keats to sail upstream.

Amos complies, by renting the vessel of Augee Wilkins (unseen), which Kevin steers into the harbor moments before disaster strikes, causing hysteria among multitudes of reporters, including Clara Polsby (Patti Karr) and TV Commentator (Paul Ryan), all deducing to report an "Obituary for a Dead Anchor."

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