Murder, She Wrote: Season 8, Episode 18

Programmed for Murder (5 Apr. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
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A computer programmer's death may mean a malpractice suit for Seth, but Jessica suspects murder.

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Title: Programmed for Murder (05 Apr 1992)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
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Hunt Block ...
Dr. Jonas Beckwith
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Harriet Simmons Wooster
Tony Fields ...
Rudy Ortega
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John Halsey
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Gretchen Price
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Doug Simmons
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Allan Wooster
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Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
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Stacy Ray ...
Laura Garrison
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Amy Moessinger ...
Nurse
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Storyline

Jessica applauds the arrival in Cabot Cove of young MD Jonas Beckwith, but Seth claims a 'technology-obsessed' doc lacks heart and experience. Harriet Wooster's computer programs are about to get her family company sold for a fortune, having obtained seed money from her brother Doug Simmons. 'Harry' dies from an ulcer, which Seth didn't test for, treating her instead for allergy as a result of Beckwith's diagnosis. It turns out a transfusion with her own blood was fatal, but part of an elaborate murder. Jessica finds out how and why, bringing her 'medical advisers' together in the process. Written by KGF Vissers

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5 April 1992 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Physicians, Heal Thy Computer System
9 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks one of the last appearances, and final television role, of Tony Fields, whose brief acting career in film and television had tragically ended with his untimely passing.

Eve Simpson (Julie Adams) makes a brief appearance at Cabot Cove Clinic, to consult with Doctor Jonas Beckwith (Hunt Block) about her chronic allergies, which he attributes to a reaction to printers' ink. Afterwards, Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) encounters the two in the hallway, Seth asking if Eve's undiagnosable allergies persist.

Doctor Jonas Beckwith seems to have a way of treating patients with successful results, under modernized scientific and computerized research techniques whereas Seth relies upon methods of the past, tried and true. For this primary reason, Seth objects to Jonas' planning to establish a practice in Cabot Cove, his anger further fueled by Jonas' treating Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak) for a throat infection.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) assures Seth and Jonas that there is plenty of room in Cabot Cove for two physicians to practice, and such a notion would benefit Seth, by affording him less pressure to treat everyone in the community as its sole medic. After all, Jessica, herself, has now entered the computer age, and after adopting word processing applications in favor of her typewriter over at her apartment in New York City, she now forgoes the old for the new back in Cabot Cove.

Even though word processing has been helping to curtail the amount of time (from her typewriter years) which Jessica spends producing a manuscript, she does require technical advice and assistance during those times in which she is unable to retrieve her documents.

So, Jessica enlists the assistance of the one individual in Cabot Cove with computer savvy, Harriet Simmons Wooster (Judith Chapman), who informs Jessica that she plans to sell her computer programming enterprise, Alphadot, to an outfit in Boston, Computiac Inc., when she and her brother meet with a representative the next day.

Harriet's husband, Allan Wooster (Will Lyman), operates Wooster Landscape Nursery from their residence, and each expresses the desire to free Harriet of her enterprise over concerns for her health and their marriage.

The outfit in Boston is operated by John Halsey (Boyd Gaines), who receives increasing pressure from Rudy Ortega (Tony Fields), who represents investors, to make a shrewd deal with Harriet and her brother, upon their meeting at Hill House Inn.

Harriet's brother, Doug Simmons (Alex Hyde-White), then arrives along with his companion, Gretchen Price (Judith Hoag), to whose very presence Harriet objects.

That very day, when a patient is rushed to the clinic, Doctor Jonas Beckwith performs emergency surgery, but loses the patient to a faulty blood transfusion, to which Seth would not have recommended. Because Seth had misdiagnosed the condition in the first place, tempers flare concerning his archaic medical methods.

Jessica faults neither doctor, nor the clinician, Laura Garrison (Stacy Ray), who had labeled the blood and has now lost her position because of the mix-up. Rather than to subscribe to conflicting theories as to which medic stands at fault, Jessica decides that the victim has been "Programmed for Murder." Clinic Nurse (Amy Moessinger) and Deputy Andy Broom (Louis Herthum) round out the cast of this mystery centering around conflicting reports from the medical center.

Extra points for the not-unusually fine performances by Judith Chapman, in her third of three "MSW" appearances, Hunt Block, also in his third of three "MSW" appearances, and Alex Hyde-White, in his second of two "MSW" appearances.


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