Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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The Big Kill 

Two murders result when the CEO of a defense corporation tries to save his company by illegally selling leftover components.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Fletcher
Eve Simpson
Brian Bentall
Martin Fraser
Helen Lewis
Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Kathy Molter ...
Sarah Riddett
Phil Shannon
Sandy Ward ...
Henry Riddett
Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Deputy Andy Broom
Walter Kurtz
Russell Nielsen


In Cabot Cove, fisherman Henry Riddett is making illegal arms deliveries for businessman Martin Fraser, who is desperate to keep his company afloat. Fraser has not shared his company problems with girlfriend Eve Simpson. When Riddett quits, he is found dead on his boat before he can warn Sheriff Metzger. Fraser's only hope for a big order to revive his company is a subsurface monitoring device that isn't functional yet. Financial adviser Carl Ward discovers the illegal sales and demands a piece of the pie or he'll go to the feds. Shortly thereafter, Ward is found dead on Fraser's company boat. It's up to Jessica to put the pieces together and identify the murderer. Written by mama.sylvia

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Plot Keywords:

blackmail | handcuffs | party | See All (3) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

7 March 1993 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Hope Lange's last television series appearance. See more »

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User Reviews

"Mister Sandman, Bring Eve a Beau ~ With All the Dough, Her Type, You Know ~ Strong, Silent, Handsome, but Not a Flirter ~ And Hurry, Please, Before Another Murder"
27 April 2010 | by See all my reviews

This episode marks the final appearance of Robert Patten, who has acted in films and on television since 1946.

Well, the ever-flirtatious Eve Simpson (Julie Adams) is at it again, but this time around, Eve plans to settle down with her latest beau, Martin Fraser (Chad Everett), CEO of Pentechnics Defense Contractors, who has been laying off employees and may exit Cabot Cove along with Eve...unless maybe a murder or two may interrupt their happy plans.

Its title may well parody that of the film "The Big Chill" (1983) although this hasn't to do with a college reunion, but some hanky-panky.

One stormy evening in Cabot Cove, Henry Riddett (Sandy Ward) and Phil Shannon (Don Stroud) load drums of merchandise from Phil's truck onto Henry's boat, to deliver to a freight ship in Portland Harbor. Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak) arrives at the docks, creating caution in Phil, who tells Henry to get rid of Mort quickly.

Brian Bentall (Michael Beck) emerges from the shadows once Mort exits, to determine that plans to deliver the cargo of nuclear missile devices to a Russian freighter remain on schedule.

(We learn that Mort invites Brian to his Thursday evening poker game, which places Eve and Martin's reception on Wednesday, which, in turn, places the storm on Monday and Tuesday, which means that dock scene takes place on Monday.)

Tuesday finds Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) with plenty of activities to conduct: to finish a manuscript, to grade essays from her Manhattan University students, and to handle roof damage at her Cabot Cove residence, this leaking again, as she places buckets to collect water pouring through. (But didn't she recently have that roof replaced, as she describes in one of her book-end episodes?)

Russell Nielsen (Richardson Morse) assists Jessica with water damage, he recently laid off from his position at Pentechnics, as have many other Cabot Covers because now that the Cold War has ended, the government has little need for Defense Contractors.

Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) has an especially grouchy disposition this time because of the storm and his helping Jessica with the upstairs water damage, and he throws out his back in the process, but refuses to acknowledge the medical legitimacy of chiropractic treatment techniques when Jessica recommends a Portland chiropractor (but he later sneaks into her kitchen while she's attending Eve and Martin's reception, to retrieve the chiropractor's calling card from Jessica's cabinet drawer).

To a grumbling Seth's dismay, Eve stops by Jessica's to invite her to the reception. (Seth does not approve of Eve's relationship as he has no use for Martin, for laying off some of his patients. Usually, he campaigns against industry and development around Cabot Cove, to preserve its natural beauty, but he's really irritated all the way around today.)

Helen Lewis (Hope Lange) serves as Martin Fraser's efficient Adminstrative Assistant over at Pentechnics Defense Contractors, and the two have been romantically involved, or at least before Eve has met Martin. In a brief scene by Martin's staircase, Eve approaches Helen to say that she's aware of Helen and Martin's past, but...they are interrupted by Martin's arrival, and the audience is kept guessing.

Carl Ward (Gregg Henry) serves as Financial Adviser to Pentechnics and confronts Martin Fraser and Brian Bentall on occasion, to expose the deal which the company has made with Russian agents.

At the Wednesday evening reception, Jessica observes Mr. Kurtz (Dana Gladstone) and Martin in a quiet argument, as Eve tries to smooth over rough edges among Pentechnics and the rest of Cabot Cove.

Mort, meanwhile, stumbles onto a body inside the cabin of a boat, the victim of a bludgeoning and carbon monoxide infumation. (Why the engine exhaust empties into a boat's cabin is anyone's guess, but it happens again one evening later because on Friday morning, another body is discovered in the cabin of a boat, the victim of a bludgeoning and carbon monoxide poisoning, as exhaust pours into the cabin after the second victim is struck in the same manner as the first, but this one handcuffed.)

Deputy Andy Broom (Louis Herthum) is given little to do this time around except to attend the Thursday evening poker game with Mort, Brian Bentall, and a few others.

Sarah Riddett (Kathy Molter) is also given little to do except to share a scene with her father (Henry Riddett) and to receive his captain's log in the mail, to deliver to Jessica.

But Eve Simpson's part is pleasantly expanded to give her a proper send-off even though it's not a "bon voyage" type of farewell although it keeps the audience guessing as to what Eve thinks of Martin once she meets the handsome and friendly Ben Wright (Lyle Waggoner), who approaches her for Real Estate advice while Eve breakfasts with an understanding Jessica.

Mort and Jessica don't know quite whom to arrest for the nightmarish double homicide until Jessica receives her sudden realization from the chiropractor's calling card which Seth has sneaked from her kitchen, but she suddenly remembers a scene from which she wasn't even present (once again), to set a trap for the perpetrator of "The Big Kill."

The cast is rounded out by Toshi Toda as Japanese Businessman, Robert Patten as Fisherman, and R. Leo Schreiber as Driver.

This represents the the second of two "MSW" appearances each for Hope Lange and Don Stroud, the second of three for Sandy Ward, the third of three for Lyle Waggoner, the fourth of four for Chad Everett, the third of six for Richardson Morse, the fifth of seven for Gregg Henry, and the tenth of ten for Julie Adams in her role as Eve Simpson.

In addition to Robert Patten, Hope Lange, acting in film and on television since 1956, and Sandy Ward, acting since 1971, have unfortunately since passed.

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