Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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The Way to Dusty Death 

A tyrant's demise puts Jessica on the trail of several of his betrayed executives.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Fletcher
Lydia Barnett
Morgan McCormack
Kate Dutton
Dr. Leon Chatsworth
Anne Hathaway
Spruce Osborne
Virginia McCormack
Tom Dutton
Q. L. Frubson
Duncan Barnett
Jay Robinson ...
Hank Brandt ...
Lt. Grayson


As company board member, Jessica is among old chairman Duncan and Lydia Barnett's weekend guests who hear the rumors of a take over by Spruce Osborne or resignation are false. Would-be successor Morgan McCormack's wife Virginia decides it's time to hurry nature by doctoring Duncan's digitalis heart medication; he is found dead in the hot-tub, apparently electrocuted by a TV. Jessica refuses rushing to cast the decisive vote for Mogan or Tom Dutton. She works out with Dr. Chatsworth four digitalis pills are missing, as well as the brandy glass which was full when the corps was discovered, but the autopsy finds no OD. She finds out Osborne's much younger girlfriend Serena was planted by Duncan, while Osborne had a man on the board, gets a confession for the failed murder attempt and traps the successful killer... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

25 October 1987 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last acting role of Cornel Wilde. See more »

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User Reviews

'Macbeth' corporate-style
20 August 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.

"The Way to Dusty Death" is another great Season 4 episode. Season 4 is to me one of the better and more consistent 'Murder She Wrote' seasons, perhaps the one with the highest number of great/gem episodes. While not quite among the very best of the season, "The Way to Dusty Death" is one of the episodes in the top half of it. Was not hugely surprised by the identity of the killer or the motive, considering that all the suspects seemed to have an agenda. Figuring out who was going to get killed, like with most 'Murder She Wrote' was easy to figure out early on.

Really enjoyed the story, it reminded me of 'Macbeth' loosely adapted and set in a tension-filled and beautifully portrayed corporate environment with delicious characters and for the show up to this point a unique murder method.

Likewise with the guest stars making up a supporting cast that is one of the show's best. Richard Beymer and Joanne Pettet have characters that are somewhat likable even though they are also ones without many morals. Pettet in particular relishes her role, that has a Lady Macbeth-like quality to it, really biting into her confrontation scene with Jessica with some of what comes out of mouth fairly shocking.

Another delight is Ray Walston, who has a delightful tough-as-iron demeanour that more than makes up for that he was a little underused. Jenilee Harrison is charming and Nancy Dussault is suitably uptight. The farewell performance of Cornel Wilde as the victim is a worthy one. As for Angela Lansbury, she is dependably terrific in one of her justifiably best remembered roles.

Production values are slick and stylish as ever with 'Murder She Wrote'. 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.

Writing is thought-provoking, light-hearted and amiable and the story has some well executed twists and turns and is never dull.

In conclusion, great fun. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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