The pervasive stench of death looms over Jessica and Seth's visit to his cousin's South Carolina plantation.


(as Anthony Shaw)


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

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Episode cast overview:
David Byron ...
Dan Wilkes
Margaret Barkley
Kendall Ames
Evelyn Colby
Billy Ames (as Patrick Y. Malone)
Sergeant John Lindley
Buford Hazlitt
Rob Hazlitt
Nina Larson
James Staszkiel ...
Cory Davis (as James Staskel)
Greg Callahan ...
Edward Delaney
Walt Beaver ...
Dr. Travis
G. Eric Miles ...
Deputy Tom Ardmore


Seth's cousin Buford has a newly-developed magnolia, a contract for it with a company who will do anything to get possession, a co-researcher with differing opinions, a girlfriend who may be more interested in money than love, when a stepdaughter with her hand out. When he is murdered, there are more than enough suspects to bewilder the county sheriff. Written by mama.sylvia

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

9 January 1995 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although Buford Hazlitt is revealed here to be Seth Hazlitt's cousin, his brother Mark is stated in "Curse of the Daanav" to be his only relative. See more »

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User Reviews

"And Good Old Boys Are Clutching Pillows and Ties, Fearing This Will Be the Night Someone Dies"
9 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"So, Bye-Bye, South Carolinian Pride; Drove from Cabot Cove into the Grove Where Magnolias Hide; And Good Old Boys Are Clutching Pillows and Ties, Fearing This Will Be the Night Someone Dies."

This, the only "Murder, She Wrote" episode set in South Carolina, opens with beautiful panoramic views of the rural countryside of fields and farmland and forests containing Spanish moss, and then finds plenty of action around "Hazlitt Plantation, Riverton Gardens," harboring the only Scarlet Magnolia tree known to exist, and so it is well-concealed somewhere upon the premises.

Buford Hazlitt (Dakin Matthews) and Botonist Kendall Ames (Robert Hooks) have developed the Scarlet Magnolia, a source of intense fragrance and prized for its natural essence.

Evelyn Colby (Sally Kirkland) resides at the Hazlitt estate and possibly plans an engagement should Buford decide to propose marriage. While Buford has been widowed, Evelyn has already dumped Buford's cousin, Rob Hazlitt (Craig Richard Nelson), who has relocated to Charleston, and she has also dumped Riverton Police Sergeant John Lindley (Tom Mason), who continues to pursue Evelyn two year afterward.

Kendall Ames, also a widower, urges his teenage son, Billy Ames (Patrick Malone), to continue his high school studies, to enter college, to study Botony, to realize the scientific career which Kendall has, but Billy expresses his interest for dropping out of school, to find a job, to help with expenses.

Cory Davis (James Staszkiel) lurks around Hazlitt Plantation by night, to search for the secret location of the Scarlet Magnolia tree although he will not reveal the identity of his contractor when he is questioned; nor will his contractor, Nina Larson (Melanie Smith), avow any information regarding any knowledge of Cory Davis or his espionage actions.

Edward Delaney (Greg Callahan), a New York City-based perfume company manager, questions his assertive employee, Nina Larson, about the $400,000 debt which she has amassed in pursuit of the Scarlet Magnolia to control the one specimen, for which she has already obtained a contract with Buford as solitaire purchaser of its essence for a fragrance ingredient.

Buford, in turn, insists that the contract reads that the perfume company may not use artificial additives to the Scarlet Magnolia perfume, and so he retains Attorney Dan Wilkes (David Byron) to deal with Nina Larson, who arrives in Riverton, to deal with Dan Wilkes her own way, through bribery and seduction.

Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) chauffeurs Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) from Cabot Cove en route to Orlando, Florida, and stops in Riverton, South Carolina, along the way, to visit his cousin Buford. After taking several wrong turns, as he has visited but twice during the past twenty years, Seth and Jessica arrive at the Hazlitt Plantation.

(Note: in episode #4.14, when Jessica accompanies Seth into Maryland, Seth tells her that his brother, Richard Hazlitt, nephew, Mark Hazlitt, and niece, Carolyn Hazlitt, are his only living relatives. But now he has two cousins, Buford Hazlitt and Rob Hazlitt. Later, in #12.22, Seth gets another niece, Amy Walters, who arrives in Cabot Cove for her engagement party.)

But will there be an engagement party here? Or will murder interrupt another wedding? Evelyn Colby welcomes family and friends to a reception at Hazlitt Plantation, which Seth and Jessica attend, along with Doctor Travis (Walt Beaver), who's planning to retire, causing Buford to suggest for Seth to return to Riverton to set his medical practice here.

Rob Hazlitt arrives from Charleston to confront Seth with shadows of his unhappy childhood, while Margaret Barkley (Ann Cusack), the step-daughter of Buford, arrives from New York City as a struggling Broadway Playwright, to request a loan from Buford, for which he will not listen, but invites her to stay for as long as she pleases.

Late that evening, a perpetrator enters a bedroom at the mansion, to suffocate a victim with a pillow. Jessica hears a noise at 2:45 AM and observes (through her window) someone's hastily exiting the residence.

The next morning, when the body is discovered, Sergeant John Lindley investigates with Jessica and Seth at his side to determine that the victim has been murdered. Deputy Tom Ardmore (G. Eric Miles) joins in the investigation to collect evidence and to perform additional responsibilities.

Jessica conducts an investigation of her own because she maintains the innocence of the suspect whom Sergeant Lindley arrests, and so she searches for the Scarlet Magnolia tree to set a trap with "The Scent of Murder."

This episode represents the most recent appearance to date by Walt Beaver, as well as the first of two "MSW" appearances each for Melanie Smith and Craig Richard Nelson, the second of two for Robert Hooks, and the third of three "MSW" guest roles for Dakin Matthews.

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