Murder, She Wrote: Season 6, Episode 21

The Szechuan Dragon (6 May 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 59 users  
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While Jessica is out of town, her nephew Grady and his pregnant wife Donna house sit. When waken at night they find a peg-legged man murdered on the living room floor.

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Title: The Szechuan Dragon (06 May 1990)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Carla Thyssen
Ramon Bieri ...
Nick Zavakis
...
Connie Lewis
Michael Horton ...
...
Cambodian
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Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
...
Justin Hunnicut
...
Debbie Zipp ...
Donna Mayberry Fletcher
Bernie Coulson ...
Stanley Lewis
Will Nye ...
...
Kris Karas
Gordon Ross ...
Captain Malachi
Maura Spencer-Reed ...
Phoebe
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Storyline

While Jessica is in London to attend cousin Emma's show's royal premiere, Grady and his pregnant wide Donna are house-sitting for her. Meanwhile Carla Thyssen, Justin Hunnicut and 'the Cambodian', arrive in Cabot Cove. They are all criminals looking for the Szechuan dragon, a priceless statuette from the Forbidden City. The dragon was stolen from the Orient by a merchant captain. After the Cambodian threatens Grady but is scared away, the captain's body is found and Jessica's house turned upside-down by an intruder. The trio is also playing dangerous games with each-other. Although kept in the dark by Grady, Seth and sheriff Mort Metzger as long as they can, Jessica solves the case from Britain, yet surprisingly close to home, and Seth tricks the fiends. Written by KGF Vissers

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martial arts | fight


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6 May 1990 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The Szechuan culture descends from the Sichuan province in Southwestern China with its capital in Chengdu. Their ethnic type of Chinese cooking has become very popular in 21st century America. See more »

Quotes

Donna Mayberry Fletcher: I feel marvelous... for an egg-shaped person.
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User Reviews

 
"Let's Don't Tell Aunt Jess that We Found a Body in Her Kitchen"
17 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Television stars Elinor Donahue, Ramon Bieri, Bernie Coulson and Cliff Osmond, Australian star Belinda Bauer, British star David Warner, and James Lew as the Cambodian portray some of the special guests who arrive in Cabot Cove, while Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) visits Cousin Emma MacGill in London for her captivating theatrical performance before an audience of Royalty.

Next door neighbor, Connie Lewis (Elinor Donahue), tends to her house-plants during Jessica's vacation, and admits expectant parents, nephew and niece-in-law Grady Fletcher (Michael Horton) and Donna Mayberry Fletcher (Debbie Zipp), to house-sit for the duration.

While Connie's teenage son, Stanley Lewis (Bernie Coulson), attempts to earn money from fish market proprietor Nick Zavakis (Ramon Bieri), to purchase a new motorcycle, his current motorbike disrupts the neighborhood, as a foreshadowing of maladies to follow.

Kris Karas (Cliff Osmond) and Fishing Captain Malachi (Gordon Ross) hear tale of a prize treasure, "The Szechuan Dragon," in the vicinity of Cabot Cove, Maine, and chart their courses of action to obtain this mysterious antique porcelain ornamental figurine one way or another.

Capable treasure hunters Carla Thyssen (Belinda Bauer), Justin Hunnicut (David Warner) and The Cambodian (James Lew) arrive in Cabot Cove to attempt to outperform one another with threats and weapons, to win possession of the ceramic artifact containing a valuable secret prize.

But when Grady and Donna awaken during the night from a noise perceived to originate from an intruder, then descend into Jessica's kitchen, to stumble across a body, but have little or no idea what to do next.

Grady and Donna decide to inform Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom), Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak) and Deputy Floyd McCallum (Will Nye), who arrive to investigate, while Jessica checks in via telephone from Emma's dressing room, backstage of the London theatre.

Yet, while the hunt escalates to full force in search of the treasure (William Windom pronounces this nearly as "Shay-Choo'-an" as he explains its mythological genesis), Grady discovers a curio figurine in the rear of closet shelf, which Jessica has stored away, after receiving it as a gift many years prior.

By the time that Jessica receives word of the murder and other activities occurring in her home town, Mort and Seth stage a showdown at the Sheriff's station, baiting suspects with "The Szechuan Dragon."

But only Jessica is able to solve the murder mystery, and from a distance, in this, the "MSW" episode (excluding book-ends with guest sleuths) which features the least amount of air time for Angela Lansbury (although it certainly would have been great to have seen her portrayal of Cousin Emma for an additional appearance).

Episodes featuring an international flavor generally increase their background music volume, and this one is no exception in scenes which "The Cambodian" practices his martial arts from the rocks along Cabot Cove Harbor. Background scores overall tend to increase during Season Eight, but as of this point, the segue music remains similar to the light, pleasant tones of earlier "MSW" seasons.

(Extra points for the performances of Bernie Coulson, Elinor Donahue, James Lew, and David Warner.) The cast is rounded out by Maura Spencer-Reed as Phoebe, and Douglas DuVal as Fred.

This episode marks the first acting credit for Maura Spencer-Reed, the last television acting appearance for Douglas DuVal, the first of two "MSW" guest roles for David Warner, the third of three for Ramon Bieri, the fifth of five for Debbie Zipp, including her four as Donna Mayberry, the ninth of fourteen for Will Nye as Deputy Floyd McCallum, and the eleventh of twelve "MSW's" for Michael Horton as Grady Fletcher; from here, it would be another five seasons before he returns to mark Grady's swan song appearance.

Ramon Bieri, acting since 1962, Gordon Ross, acting since 1978, and Douglas DuVal, having a brief acting career, have since passed.


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