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Jessica arrives at Crenshaw to hold the commencement speech and receive an honorary degree at the local college. The preceding faculty party is animated by host Dr. Jocelyn Laird's daughter Daphne Clover, who jumps into the pool naked and her beefy, drunk New York lover Nick Fulton who knocks down Professor Ron Mercer and a vase with one punch, still shirtless. Next morning Jessica finds Nick's corps under a construction site as if he fell to his death, but that must be staged as he has no dust on his shoes. Local Police Chief E. Griffin, who knows Jessica from criminology studies, arrests Daphne after an anonymous phone call leads to finding a typed blackmail note from Nick and a bloody candle stick in her room, but Jessica convinces him it may well be all planted. She checks on other party-goers' links with Nick and each-other, leading to two contradictory confessions, neither of which she believes... Written by
When Doctor Jocelyn Laird (Polly Bergen) invites Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) to address commencement ceremonies at, along with receiving an honorary degree from, Crenshaw College, scandal and murder lurk not far behind.
Academics Henry Hayward (John Vernon) and Beryl Hayward (June Lockhart) serve on the planning committee to oversee commencement activities, as well as to assist Campus Dean Jocelyn Laird with her decision in promoting one of two qualified professors.
Jocelyn hosts a faculty reception at her residence, at which her guests include Jessica Fletcher, Henry and Berle Hayward, and candidates for the position, Doctor Alger Kenyon, PHD (Roddy McDowall) and Professor Ron Mercer (James Sutorius), who escorts wife, Trish Mercer (Darleen Carr).
Politicking for the position proceeds somewhat gentlemanly, at least until the reception is crashed by Jocelyn's irresponsible daughter, Daphne Clover (Mary Kate McGeehan), and her drunken escort, Nick Fulton (Morgan Stevens), who arrive practically bare, and embarrass Jocelyn and her guests with a shouting match, and a punching.
Daphne has relocated to New York City from this New England college community (in an unidentified state), to write a sordid novel, which hits the best-sellers' list, to humiliate her mother further, in addition to carrying on with the no-account Nick with no compunction against blatancy.
Because of her newfound fame, Daphne snubs the academic community but allows a shred of fellowship to exist between her and fellow author J.B. Fletcher, who doesn't condescend against Daphne's free-spirited lifestyle.
But the next morning, during Jessica's constitutional jogging, she stumbles across a body thrust from a campus building the night before. Kindly Police Chief E. Griffin (Jack Kehoe) is summoned to investigate, with the assistance of Mr. Packman (R.J. Adams), both of whom appreciate Jessica, but fear the worst for the feuding mother and daughter, between whom they suspect a perpetrator.
On the eve of commencement, while Jessica assists in determining how the murder has been committed, and, possibly, by whom, Jocelyn has her hands full with deciding whom to promote between faculty candidates, figuring how to operate Crenshaw College status quo murder, and dealing with her Bohemian daughter, who has now been arrested as prime suspect. And to protect her daughter, she tries, by confessing to the crime.
An antonymous typewritten note from someone attempting to clear Jocelyn, by implicating another suspect complicates matters for investigators, at least until Jessica fits together the pieces to the puzzle, to determine that the victim has been slain elsewhere, bludgeoned by a candlestick holder, across campus in this "School for Scandal."
The cast is rounded out by Gary Bisig as Will Small, John C. Becher as Station Master, Dean Dittman as Faculty Man, Grace Simmons as Faculty Wife, Ron Asher as Student #1, Kerry Noonan as Student #2 and James Greenblatt as Student #3.
John C. Becher, Dean Dittman, Roddy McDowall and John Vernon unfortunately have since passed.
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