Murder, She Wrote: Season 10, Episode 13

Portrait of Death (16 Jan. 1994)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
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In New York, Jessica donates a painting to a charity auction organized by an old friend from Cabot Cove, putting her on the scene when an art dealer of dubious honesty and taste is killed. ... See full summary »



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Title: Portrait of Death (16 Jan 1994)

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Episode cast overview:
David Ackroyd ...
Bert Lown
NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber (as Herbert Edelman)
Denise Gentile ...
Teddy Grace
Philip Jovet
Mark Mitchell
Frances McMahon
Sondra Arthur
Kim Mitchell
Kristoffer Tabori ...
Dr. Swope
Leonard Lightfoot ...
Maintenance Man
Bainbridge Scott ...
Vince Howard ...
Real Dr. Swoop (as Vincent Howard)
Jonathan Knopf ...
Art Dealer


In New York, Jessica donates a painting to a charity auction organized by an old friend from Cabot Cove, putting her on the scene when an art dealer of dubious honesty and taste is killed. When her friend becomes the prime suspect in the murder, Jessica must wade through a sting and a missing painting to find the real murderer. Written by mama.sylvia

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Release Date:

16 January 1994 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Plenty of Dumping at the Art Gallery
8 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Which of these happy couples can survive the case of Art Gallery dumping when "The Hate Boat" docks in New York City Harbor?

After winning $ten million in a sweepstakes drawing, Kim Mitchell (Loretta Swit) can now realize her lifelong ambition of welding metal sculptures from debris. Her first order of business is to move far away from Cabot Cove, Maine. Her second task is to go steady with Art Gallery Curator Philip Jovet (Edward Hibbert), for him to showcase her handicrafts. Her third joy is to find happiness in the arms of the patient Bert Lown (David Ackroyd), after dumping the prissy Bohemian Philip Jovet.

Kim's younger half-brother, Mark Mitchell (Taylor Nichols), meanwhile, follows Kim from Cabot Cove to wherever she may roam. A flighty, alcoholic, gold-digging Teddy Grace (Denise Gentile) attaches herself to Mark because he looks nice, and because his half-sister is worth millions. While Mark would enjoy putting his college degree to work, Bert tries to help him to find a career, but reports to Kim that Ivy League post-graduates are fighting for job openings as restaurant dishwashers. (Nothing's really changed in the past forty years there.)

Wealthy, eccentric Art matron Sondra Arthur (Diane Salinger) dabbles in investing in Philip Jovet's findings, while stringing along Doctor Swoop (Kristoffer Tabori), of Willow Garden School for Boys, for whom Philip is tossing an auction benefit, after soliciting contributions from his wealthy clients.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) encounters her dear old friend-turned-ex-Cabot Cover, Kim Mitchell at the gallery, at which Jessica plans to donate a painting of a catch of fish by a New England artist, whom Philip disdains, while Kim donates her metal sculpture of Don Quixote and his windmill spear, which Philip adores. Sondra Arthur, meanwhile, donates "The Roommate," a once-valuable ticket painting by Elizabeth McKay, who's serving a life sentence in a Missouri prison for murder.

At the auction, after the fisherman's catch painting retrieves $10,000, Mark Mitchell gets into a brawl with Philip Jovet because Philip perceives a drunken Teddy Grace, beside Mark, to out-bid others for an expensive item. Meanwhile, "The Roommate" painting disappears, but Sondra Arthur wanted rid of it anyway and plans to collect the insurance.

Afterwards, Frances McNean (Lee Purcell) receives guests as Kim's domestic assistant, as Kim holds a reception for the happy couples and the happily-single Jessica, a gathering which Philip crashes, to stir up a few additional insults to various attendees.

Later, Jessica conducts a telephone conversation with someone who is murdered by the spear of Kim's metal sculpture, before answering Jessica's questions.

NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber (Herb Edelman) and Detective Henderson (Leonard Lightfoot) respond to the investigation, and they launch into a sub-plot investigation, as these two usually do, this one about their missing lottery ticket, which Detective Henderson believes a possible grand-prize winner, and Lieutenant Gelber supposes that a pickpocket must have lifted it.

Who's scamming whom? And who hasn't a shadowy secret to hide? Jessica join in the investigation to protect her dear old friend Kim Mitchell from a group of cheaters and a gallery of con artists, oh, and from Kim's probably false arrest as murder paints a "Portrait of Death."

The cast is rounded out by Bainbridge Scott as Dede the Art Gallery Assistant, Greg Lewis as Maintenance Man, Jonathan Knopf as Art Dealer, and Vince Howard as Real Doctor Swoop at Willow Garden School.

This episode marks the most recent appearance to date by Bainbridge Scott, and the only acting credit thus far by Jonathan Knopf.

This also represents the first of two "MSW" appearances for Denise Gentile, the second of two for Bainbridge Scott, the third of three each for David Ackroyd and Greg Lewis, the second of four for Taylor Nichols, the fourth of four for Kristoffer Tabori, the fourth of five for Vince Howard, the fourth of five for Leonard Lightfoot in his role as Detective Henderson, the fifth of five for Lee Purcell, and the ninth of ten "MSW's" for Herb Edelman, who has been acting since 1964, and has since passed.

Three, Six, Nine: Appreciation for Lee Purcell, David Ackroyd and Kristoffer Tabori for their refreshing portrayals (especially in earlier "MSW" episodes), as "Portrait of Death (#10.13)" (1994) represents the most recent episode for each.

Lee also graces the screen in "A Lady in the Lake (#2.07)" (1985) as Joanna Benson, "Death Stalks the Big Top: Parts 1 & 2 (#3.01,02)" (1986) as Maylene Sutter, and "Town Father (#6.11)" (1989) as Annie Mae Chapman.

David also displays his versatility with "Trial by Error (#2.13)" (1986) as Prosecutor Tom Casselli, and "The Witch's Curse (#8.12)" (1992) as Nate Parsons.

Kristoffer also adds his special touch to "We're Off to Kill the Wizard (#1.07)" (1984) as Phillip Carlson, "Sing a Song of Murder (#2.05)" (1985) as Ernest Fielding, and "Truck Stop (#5.16)" (1989) as Desmond.

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