Murder, She Wrote: Season 9, Episode 5

The Dead File (15 Nov. 1992)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 61 users  
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Jessica appears in a comic strip accusing various people of wrongdoing and triggering a lawsuit -- but the author insists he had nothing to do with it and his inker is killed in his studio.

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(as Anthony Shaw)

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(created by), (created by), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Dead File (15 Nov 1992)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Paige Kindle
...
Stan Hatter
...
Jerry Bozell
Robin Gammell ...
Roger Melton
Kris Kamm ...
Teddy Graves
...
Sergeant Martha Redstone
...
Dayton Whiting (as Patrick MacNee)
...
Mark Roberts ...
Russell Yorke
Rodney Kageyama ...
Ben Watanabe
...
Sid The Doorman
Mark Eric Howell ...
Waiter
...
Policeman
Neal Kaz ...
Van Driver
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Storyline

Jessica is no more amused to be the model for fictional 'Hatterville' detective Jessica Fox than its creator, cartoonist Stan Hatter, when two forged editions falsely accuse NYPD's former narcotics lieutenant Peter DiMartini and tycoon Roger Melton, who both intend to sue for a fortune. Then Ben Watanabe, Stan's 'letterer', is murdered, staged as a suicide, in the private studio where he works with talented apprentice Teddy Graves. Sergeant Martha Redstone is too easily satisfied with simplistic assumptions, so Jessica solves the case herself. Written by KGF Vissers

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15 November 1992 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
"When You Get Caught Between Cartoon and New York City, Arrests May Hasten You to Find that Glove"
24 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Paige Kindle (Diana Bellamy) operates the New York City-based "Empire Feature Syndicate," which provides comic strips to subscribing newspapers on a daily basis, and which represents "Hatterville."

Stan Hatter (Harvey Fierstein) creates the comic strip "Hatterville," which personifies animal characters in whodunit Mystery story lines.

Teddy Graves (Kris Kamm) serves as Stan's assistant cartoonist, since his arrival from Montana, while he is also proficient enough to land his own contract, but remains with "Hatterville."

Ben Watanabe (Rodney Kageyama) performs the task of lettering the strips of six artists, including "Hatterville," as he makes his nightly rounds from studio to studio to complete his tasks.

Dayton Whiting (Patrick Macnee) creates the comic strip "Biff Banyon" but claims that Stan Hatter has lifted his ideas, and so he hires veteran reporter Jerry Bozell (George Furth) as detective, to shadow Hatter's studio and to report upon his every move.

But events begin to turn sour for the "Hatterville" production team and for "Empire Feature Syndicate" once bogus strips slip passed editors for printing, to implicate various celebrities of illegal behavior.

Lieutenant Peter DiMartini (Jon Polito) is suspended from NYPD after "Hatterville" portrays him as a corrupt police officer who takes bribes from "Three Moose Ear Gang" for illegal narcotic trafficking.

Roger Melton (Robin Gammell), a Wall Street Financier with a reputation for dishonesty, is portrayed as a corrupt duck, who has swindled millions from other domesticated animals.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), the famous Mystery author, is portrayed in the strip as "Jessica Fox," who turns the tables on Lieutenant Peter DiMartini and Roger Melton, by naming them as guilty for the crimes alleged in the fictional strip.

When Jessica arrives in NYC after a three-week stint in Italy, she learns of her objectionable comic strip portrayal, and is counseled by her defense attorney, Russell Yorke (Mark Roberts), once she innocently faces a series of lawsuits for her purported role in the creation of "Hatterville" and her alleged plot to blackmail other celebrities in the process.

A series of meetings follows angry operatives around the city, as Lieutenant Peter DiMartini receives a blackmail note containing lettering pasted from last Tuesday's "Cabot Cove Gazette," for which Jessica maintains proof of her innocence, for she has just returned from Italy, and hasn't stopped by Maine since.

Dayton Whiting secretly meets with Roger Melton to sell information gathered by Jerry Bozell for a steep price, in order to pay Jerry Bozell and to suspend his services.

A livid Paige Kindle also meets with the incensed Roger Melton, Jessica and Stan Hatter, who maintains his innocence, especially after a body is discovered on the sidewalk one morning (after the audience sees the victim bludgeoned by a Reuben Award).

Sergeant Martha Redstone (Susan Kellermann) arrives to investigate what she perceives as a suicide, and then vituperation escalates into major battles between feuding police officers, and among a wide slate of homicide suspects, including Jessica, who manages to approach the situation with a clear vision, on the trail of "The Dead File."

The cast is rounded out by John Apicella as Sid The Doorman, Mark Eric Howell as Waiter, David Ault as Policeman, Neal Kaz as Van Driver, and Mell Lazarus as Cartoonist.

This episode represents the first acting credit by Mark Eric Howell, the first television role for David Ault, and the only acting credit to date by Cartoonist Mell Lazarus, creator of comic strips "Miss Peach of the Kelly School" (1957-2002) and "Momma" (1970-present).

This also marks the first of two "MSW" appearances for Jon Polito, the second of two each for Diana Bellamy, Robin Gammell, Neal Kaz and Patrick Macnee, and the third of three "MSW" guest roles for George Furth.

George Furth, acting in film and on television since 1962, and Diana Bellamy, acting since 1982, have unfortunately since passed.

Three, Six, Nine: George Furth in "No Laughing Murder" (#3.18) as Farley Pressman, "Dead Letter" (#6.06) as Fred Owens, and "The Dead File" (#9.05) as Jerry Bozell.


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