Murder, She Wrote: Season 12, Episode 17

Something Foul in Flappieville (15 Feb. 1996)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
7.4
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After Jessica's story for children becomes a television puppet show, she must find the fiend who used one of the puppets as a murder weapon.

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(as Anthony Shaw)

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(created by), (created by), 3 more credits »
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Title: Something Foul in Flappieville (15 Feb 1996)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Helena McKenna
Maryedith Burrell ...
Nattie Holt
...
Parker Foreman
...
Lt. Spevak
...
Gus Hayward
...
Kim Swofford
...
Darren Crosley (as Stephen T. Kay)
...
Robbie Dorow
...
Jason Cardino
...
Mary Dorow
Ian Lansbury ...
Stevie (as Ian Shaw)
Richardson Morse ...
Arvin Bucknell
...
Terry Fusco (as Richard Dano)
Wendy Hoffman ...
Carol
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Storyline

Darren's Pound Dog show is threatened with cancellation until he promises a character based on one of Jessica's characters. But as the various people involved want part of the merchandising rights, Darren winds up promising benefits he can't deliver. And when one of them winds up dead, Darren is arrested for murder. Written by mama.sylvia

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dog | cat | See All (2) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

15 February 1996 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"How Can She Ever Tell Them... This Is Not a Puppet Love?"
26 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"And Introducing Ian Shaw," reads a line from the opening credits of this episode, which features a storyline about pre-teen orphan Stevie (Ian Lansbury, a grandson of Angela Lansbury and Peter Shaw), who appears in the audience of a televised puppet program (or a show within a show), at which many a temper flares behind the scenes.

Flappieville Studio (in an unidentified location, but by reasonable assumption, Los Angeles, California, with its palm tree groves and proximity to television network headquarters) produces the adventures of "Pound Dog," a puppet presentation, which Network Programming Executive Parker Foreman (Bryan Cranston) asserts is running out of steam and in its final season of production.

"Pound Dog" Creater and Voice Artist Darren Crosley (Stephen T. Kay) and Producer Robbie Dorow (Robert Knepper) stand at odds over the triangle created when Robbie's marriage with Mary Dorow (Dey Young) left Darren without Mary, who continuously attempts to smooth the fences between Robbie and Peter. But Robbie still doesn't trust Mary, as he often spots her around town in the company of Terry Fusco (Rick Dano), with whom Robbie believes that Mary has been cheating.

Mary, however, welcomes her dear old friend Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) to Flappieville, to adapt Jessica's latest children's Short Story into a French-flavored "Pound Dog" sleuth character, Inspector LeShay (sp?).

In the Flappieville Design Department, the multi-talented Illustrator and Voice Artist Jason Cardino (Steven Martini) creates the Inspector LeShay look, while Fashioneer Helena McKenna (Corinne Bohrer) designs his attire, with Kim Swofford's (Kimberley Kates) swaying back and forth, taking credit for the productivity of others, and trying to create a romantic triangle of her own in the process.

Gus Hayward (Alan Fudge) serves on the staff in the capacity of Voice Artist, but when Parker Foreman insists upon Flappieville's hiring Gus' talented but difficult ex-wife, Nattie Holt (Maryedith Burrell), to provide the voice-overs, it becomes up to Darren and Gus to sweeten her deal, for without Nettie, there will be no spin-off series, to keep Flappieville above sinking into the red.

Arvin Bucknell (Richardson Morse) serves on the staff as Security Guard, with more say in matters of policy and decision-making than the average "MSW" security guard would have.

So, by the time that Jessica arrives at the studio, wheeling and dealing has already been set into motion, with temperamental altercations to follow amid a battle of merchandising rights.

Robbie Dorow already has to deal with his problems with Mary and Terry Fusco, and now Darren Crosley has complicated matters by promising shares of Flappieville's merchandising operation to Nettie, Gus, Jessica and himself, which already exceed 135 percent, when Parker Foreman demands fifty percent under the table, in a conversation which Darren secretly records on audio-tape.

And now, everyone who learns about the secret audio-cassette must figure that it carries a large blackmail value because the desk in which it has been secretly stored has been broken into with a pair of scissors, tossed aside near a flat-iron, a Fiji travel brochure, a blood-splattered puppet, and a body on the floor, which Jessica stumbles across, while discovering Darren's kneeling beside it.

Lieutenant Spevak (Brian Cousins) investigates the murder with the able assistance of Jessica, who has been on hand to observe several clues, as she determines to tie the case together and to do what she can to find little Stevie a happy home-life if that is at all possible because there is always "Something Foul in Flappieville."

The cast is rounded out by Wendy Hoffman as Carol the Receptionist, Réné as Puppeteer #1, Douglas Seymore as Puppeteer #2, and Thom Fountain as Puppeteer #3.

This episode represents the only acting credit to date each for Ian Lansbury, Douglas Seymore and Réné, as well as the second of two "MSW" appearances each for Stephen T. Kay, Steven Martini, the third of three each for Corinne Bohrer, Bryan Cranston, Rick Dano and Robert Knepper, the fourth of four for Wendy Hoffman, the fifth of five for Alan Fudge, and the sixth of six "MSW's" for Richardson Morse.

(Not much great acting going on here amid a noisy episode, but Dey Young adds a nice touch among otherwise vindictive females, and Steven Martini adds a nice touch with his impersonations, while Bryan Cranston and Brian Cousins photograph well, as usual. What a clothing iron is doing in an office is anyone's guess.)


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