Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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The Prodigal Father 

The presumed dead perpetrator of a 20-year-old bank robbery resurfaces, then is murdered.


(as Anthony Shaw)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Fletcher
Bonnie Jenks Hastings
Elton Summers
Herb Walsh
Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Maxine Malloy
Mayor Sam Booth
Gil Blocker
Dave Hastings
Deputy Floyd
Dr. Lyle Rush
Robin Gordon ...
Mindy Ann Martin ...
Sally Hastings


Ned Jenks, who was presumed dead since a bank-robbery 20 years ago, returns to Cabot Cove, where his now adult daughter Bonnie lives with Dave Hastings. Plenty of villagers lost savings or their job in the robbery, some threaten Ned. After he is strangled, Mort arrest Dave, as the killer used wire stolen from his car. Jessica however discovers the whole truth about the robbery and sets a trap. Written by KGF Vissers

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Plot Keywords:

strangulation | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

10 March 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

"The Prodigal Father", murder and a bank robbery
17 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

Without being one of the best episodes of Season 7 (not one of the worst ones either), "The Prodigal Father" is another solid and well-executed episode. There is actually not much wrong with it at all, other than Richard Paul having little to do in a buffoonish role that only got any real development in one episode out of eight ("Town Father") and Abe Vigoda despite being a welcome sight also being under-utilised. It's just that it just misses the extra special spark of the very best 'Murder She Wrote' episodes.

Angela Lansbury and Ron Masak though cannot be faulted, they're such an easy presence and there is a nice tension in how they investigate and solve the murder and the bank robbery. Will Nye plays his dumb character with enough subtlety to avoid being annoying. Claudia Christian and Donnelly Rhodes are particularly very good in their roles, really felt for Bonnie and one really believes that Ned genuinely wants to have a better life and reform despite his past. Larry Wilcox, Robert Lansing and Don Galloway are all solid too. In fact nobody's bad but some have characters more interesting and better used than others.

"The Prodigal Father's" mystery is compelling, not too simplistic and not too confusing either. The solution to the murder is a surprising one and the truth about the bank robbery is not what it seems either. The detective work is very much cohesive.

Production values as always are slick and stylish with some nostalgia induced. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune. The writing is thoughtful, cosy and light-hearted while taking itself seriously as well.

Overall, solid and well done. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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