Jessica comes to the aid of yet another dear old friend running as a senatorial candidate. When the candidate's campaign manager is murdered, Jessica must help prove her innocence.


(as Anthony Shaw)


(created by), (created by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jackson Lane
Bud Johnson
Arthur Drelinger
Edmund Hall
Kathleen Lane
Lt. Gowans
Nan Wynn (as Daphne Maxwell Reid)
C.W. Butterfield
Marie Chambers ...
Cass Malone
Robin Bach ...
Scott Segall ...
David Okarski ...
Policeman #2
Anthony S. Johnson ...
Reporter 'A'
Ann Walker ...
Female Reporter


Jessica flies in for her old friend Kathleen Lane's campaign in the senatorial primaries and accepts to replace her suddenly deserted speech-writer. After a dodgy TV talk-show host makes a sleazy deal with opponent Arthur Drelinger's campaign staff, he gets and publishes pictures suggesting Lane had an affair with her much younger campaign manager Bud Johnson, who is net found dead, apparently suicide by jumping in her bathrobe from her balcony, which Jessica believes to be staged, but by whom and why thus? Meanwhile Kath's rich ad generous, much older husband Jackson Lane, also suspected of financial faults, speaks up for her innocence, but can that save her candidature? Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

8 May 1988 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


| (stills: Shirley Jones)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This would be a reunion of sorts for Shirley Jones and Eddie Albert who both stared together in the movie, Oklahoma! See more »

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User Reviews

As Polling Numbers Rise and Fall, So Do the Hammer and the Body
16 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

On a WITM Television program "Face the Issues," Newscaster Edmund Hall (George Grizzard) interviews candidates competing for their party's nomination in the Primary for a a U.S. Senate seat during a mid-term election cycle, in an unidentified Midwestern state.

A former Mayor, Kathleen Lane (Shirley Jones), challenges Arthur Drelinger (Robert Fuller) for the open seat, each campaign equipped with qualified staff member, who rely upon constantly-updated popular polling figures to chart a course of action.

The interview proceeds amicably between the candidates although Edmund Hall poses as its showcase star, surrounding his questions from a cynical angle to generate his type of sensationalism in newscasting.

While the Drelinger Campaign is itself managed by sensationalist C.W. Butterfield (James Sloyan), the Lane Campaign takes the high road, by employing staff exhibiting professionalism: Campaign Manager Bud Johnson (Peter Fox), Assistant Nan Wynn (Daphne Maxwell Reid) and Staffer Cass (Marie Chambers).

Kathleen's husband, Jackson Lane (Eddie Albert), meanwhile, has seen his professional past exposed, such as his firm's once owing a great deal of money to the government in back taxes, and other sordid details. Allogations also surface regarding marital infidelity on the parts of Kathleen and Jackson, but to no substantiation.

But now Harold, the Lane Campaign's speech writer, has resigned, so Kathleen solicits her dear old friend Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), whom she has known for seventeen years, to manage the position, or at least on a temporary basis.

Jessica arrives at Hotel Excalibur in time to be settled in, before a scandal breaks after an unidentified informant presents questionable photographs (taken at a retreat at Lake Saint Catherine, in innocent but seemingly compromising positions) with Kathleen and her young, also married, Campaign Manager, Bud Johnson, to the attention of Edmund Hall, in a Bus station terminal locker, for him to broadcast on WITM during his 11:00 PM newscast, which he, of course, eagerly does.

Jessica and Nan Wynn, each noticing the newscast, meet in concern in a Hotel Excalibur corridor to search for the missing Kathleen (away from her Penthouse suite 1811), and so Jessica and Nan search its exteriors, where they stumble across a body upon its sidewalk.

Kathleen arrives to face the crowd outside the Excalibur, after being sent on a wild goose chase because someone has fabricated a mission for her to meet with her state party chairman, who was away from his residence, thereby leaving her no alibi for the time of the murder, which was arranged to frame Kathleen, who overcomes her initial shock to anticipate additional press pillory.

Lieutenat Gowans (Harrison Page) handles the homicide investigation, originally suspected as a suicide by jumping, an initially closes his mind to any other possibility of a perpetrator other than Kathleen Lane, whose poll numbers immediately begin to plummet. Jessica convinces the good Law Enforcer to consider other possibilities, such as who stands to gain by a smear against Kathleen's reputation.

The resulting investigation leads to a trail of loyalty and disloyalty alike, on the road of "The Body Politic."

Robin Bach appears here as Preston the Desk Clerk, in his fourth of five "MSW" roles, once each in this series' first four seasons (possibly the only actor to accomplish this feat playing different roles although others have appeared in Seasons One through Three), and once in Season Six, before passing at a young age. Eddie Albert and George Grizzard have also since passed.

The episode cast is rounded out by Anthony S. Johnson as Reporter 'A,' Ann Walker as Female Reporter Mrs. Brown, Neal Kaz as Policeman #1, David Okarski as Policeman #2, Robert Lewis Cameron as Fingerprint Man, Scott Segall as Drelinger Campaign Staffer, and William Winckler as Campaign Aide.

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