Jessica is the first women to speak at a function at an all-male club, then a member is murdered.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lisa Sutton
Lt. Howard Tartarus
Philip Arkham
Winston Devermore
Theo Cayle
Lawrence Cayle
Gerald Innsmouth
Edward Dunsany (as Ed Winter)
Harcourt Fenton
Darrell Zwerling ...
Geoffrey Infeld ...
Judy Jean Berns ...
Fundraiser Organizer
Susan McWilliams ...


Jessica happily accepts her New York friend Winston Devermore's invitation to be the first female author/guest speaker at the previously exclusive male bastion Avernus club. Ruthless, rude businessman Lawrence Cayle is ostracized for 'un-brotherly' (adulterous) conduct, but Harcourt Fenton refuses to join the collective vendetta proclaimed. Lawrence gets wind and still agrees to meet the secretly selected 'enforcer' at midnight in Avernus, but is shot with a club sports gun. Winston asks Jessica to help him find the killer before NYPD lieutenant Howard Tartarus collectively charges the executive committee. Shortly after, Harcourt dies in a car accident, his passenger Winston is seriously hurt (the accident is a result of sabotage). Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

1 December 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


There are many in-jokes in "The Committee." The last names of characters Edward Dunsany, Gerald Innsmouth, and Philip Arkham all refer to works by H.P. Lovecraft. The name of Harcourt Fenton is an obvious reference to Star Trek (1966) rogue Harcourt Fenton Mudd, and the names of Lieutenant Tartarus and the Avernus Club both refer to mythological hells. This is no surprise, given that prolific SF author J. Michael Straczynski wrote this episode. See more »

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User Reviews

Why Losing One's Marbles May Prove Beneficial
5 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

At a New York City fund-raising event for WAFFA (Writers and Artists for the First Amendment), Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) volunteers, by signing copies of her latest Mystery book, at which old friend Winston Devermore (John McMartin) appears, inviting her to speak at Avernus Club, a local country club, which has hosted a long series of authors. Jessica readily accepts the challenge to appear as the organization's first female speaker.

The location of the club isn't identified other than being situated in close proximity to New York City, but not outside of New York State. This houses a tennis court, target shooting range, a large lecture parlor and a suite to house "The Committee," a secret society of six bankers, stockbrokers and other professionals who need each other to thrive financially.

In addition to Winston Devermore, this group consists of President Philip Arkham (Norman Lloyd), Lawrence Cayle (James Sutorius), Gerald Innsmouth (Robin Thomas), Edward Dunsany (Edward Winter) and Harcourt Fenton (George Wyner), with Lisa Sutton (Robin Dearden) serving as Philip's secretary and the group's assistant. Theo Cayle (Nicholas Pryor) resides with his elder brother, Lawrence Cayle, and, thereby, associates with members of this set.

After Jessica addresses the club and its many guests, she learns of dissension in the ranks and that the purpose for her invitation is twofold, when she is asked to investigate the source of mounting trouble. One member turns against a first member because for usurping a portion of his investments, while another fights with the first member over the attention another pays to Young Woman (Elizabeth Kent), who happens to be his wife.

A Messenger (Geoffrey Infeld) distributes hand-printed invitations bearing a golden seal upon the envelopes. Each invariably bears a card, reading, "Midnight," along with a golden skeleton key, to admit each member into the secret chamber. "The Committee" on the night of Jessica's lecture, hears grievances against the one who seems to be causing dissension among the group. And now, five members are asked to vote by secret ballot (a black marble for guilt, a white marble for innocence) to sanction the member in question.

When Lisa collects the the vote and reveals it as four black marbles to one white, the five are asked to reach into the pouch for another marble, red or gold, the lone gold one to select "the enforcer" to discipline the member deemed guilty.

After the messenger delivers an invitation to the guilty one, he takes it with a grain of salt, but appears in the chambers at midnight, to face the barrel of a shotgun rifle.

Now that "The Committee" has murder on its hands, Jessica is brought before them to estimate that they all face serious charges for conspiracy. When Lieutenant Howard Tartarus (John Kapelos) is brought in to investigate, Philip Arkham reminds him in no uncertain terms that his organization has an "in" with the police commissioner, with a clever way to demonstrate this.

But the plot thickens when the brake line is severed on the automobile of another secret society member, who is transporting yet another along a steep grade, causing the out-of-control vehicle to descend an embankment, thus leaving one severely injured and the other fatally injured.

Jessica assists Lieutenant Tartarus with the investigation, by tying the two murders together through the examination of the effects of the recently deceased, and discovering a black marble in his pocket, tying this to a remark made by the injured party, along with other clues which she has spotted along the way.

And now, remaining members must decide whether or not to disband "The Committee." Rounding out the cast are Doris, a Fan (Susan McWilliams) and Fund-raiser Organizer (Judy Jean Berns) at the WAFFA book-signing; Valet (Randall James Jeffries) and Waiter (John Brennan) at the restaurant that rainy evening; and Doctor (Darrell Zwerling) and Nurse (Marabina Jaimes) at the emergency room, tending to the injured "Committee" member.

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