Murder, She Wrote: Season 9, Episode 16

Threshold of Fear (28 Feb. 1993)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
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In New York, Alice Morgan never leaves her apartment, haunted by dreams of her mother's murder five years earlier. When she sees the dream-murderer, architect Jordan Barnett, on television,... See full summary »

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Title: Threshold of Fear (28 Feb 1993)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Ben Cutler
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NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber (as Herbert Edelman)
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Detective Grady
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Dr. Ellen Holden
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Peter Morgan
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Alice Morgan
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Laura Martin
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Jordan Barnett
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Henry Phelps
Joy Claussen ...
Female Patient
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T.V. Interviewer
Whitney Rydbeck ...
Medical Examiner
Alexandra Kenworthy ...
Mrs. Eddington
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Storyline

In New York, Alice Morgan never leaves her apartment, haunted by dreams of her mother's murder five years earlier. When she sees the dream-murderer, architect Jordan Barnett, on television, she is terrified. When he comes to her door, she is convinced he did murder her mother. Alice's psychiatrist seems mostly interested in insulating her from other people. When Barnett is killed, is Alice out of danger, or in even more danger? Written by mama.sylvia

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28 February 1993 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
"Don't Give Up on the Baby; Don't Turn the Wrong to Right; the Future May Get Lost One Night."
2 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One profession for which this series doesn't seem to take much of a shining would be Psychiatrists, who are usually portrayed as sneaky, manipulative, argumentative, underhanded and culpable of devious schemes, not the least of which may be their administering illegal narcotics, before the bodies begin to surface.

On the other hand, "MSW" often admirably portrays the patients of Psychiatry in an affirmative, sensitive, and gracious manner, perhaps as victims of a confidence scheme -- or at least until bodies begin to surface.

In "Threshold of Fear," young Agoraphobic Alice Morgan (Cynthia Nixon) stands amid the center of the action even though she is sequestered in her New York City apartment, and tormented under the care of another questionable Psychiatrist, Doctor Ellen Holden (Margot Kidder).

Doorman Richie Kanpinski (Eddie Barth) offers his efforts to minister to Alice's needs, by delivering her groceries and mail, and discarding her debris... oh, and by introducing to this solitary resident of 10-C, the gregarious resident of 4-B, one Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury).

Alice detours from her Psychiatrist's mandate not to admit visitors, by welcoming Richie and Jessica into her modest apartment, complete with telescope, to scrutinize activity in direct view of the old Brownstone townhouse of her childhood, this ending when her mother had been murdered there, five years earlier.

Alice has just experienced a recurring nightmare, in which she finds herself upon the old Brownstone staircase, looking into its darkened foyer, to discover the body of her late mother, with Jordan Barnett's (David Soul) hovering above it, he exiting upon hearing Alice's screams, accented with a hawk-like bird's fluttering toward her.

Jordan Barnett operates a New York City Architectural firm, with Laura Martin (Jamie Rose) as his demanding secretary and Ben Cutler (Andrew Bloch) as his ex-partner, with whom Jordan had severed ties five years previously, and, according to Ben, has swindled Ben of his share of its capital. Laura sides with Jordan's perspective of the business misdealing over Ben's because she plans to end up with Jordan romantically.

Peter Morgan (David Lansbury), meanwhile, attempts to place the family's old Brownstone townhouse on the market, but he needs his half-sister's (Alice) agreement to sell. Alice's now-late mother, Lillian, had married Peter's now-missing father, Wallace, after their children were born. But now that Wallace has been missing for more than five years, it's up to Alice and Peter to reach an agreement to settle Lillian's estate.

Henry Phelps (Michael Zelniker), meanwhile, resides next door to the reclusive Alice, he in apartment 10-B, six stories above Jessica's NYC residence. Henry attempts to join Jessica and Richie in looking after Alice, as the timid male neighbor also attempts to see what Jessica can do to champion young love, even if it is unrequited on his part and forbidden by the adamant Psychiatrist on her part.

Jessica stops by the Midtown Manhattan precinct of NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber (Herb Edelman), with Detective Grady (Tom Isbell) as his partner this time around, to research the cold case murder at the Morgan Brownstone. As Jessica compares the findings at the scene of the crime with Alice's account of her nightmare visions, others around Alice continue to manipulate her for their own benefit.

Peter Morgan makes a deal with Doctor Ellen Holden, to cooperate with her to control Alice if she'll provide him access to Alice, while Doctor Ellen Holden makes a deal with Jordan Barnett, for him to dump Laura Martin, for Jordan to romance her, for Ellen to sway Alice's conception of Lillian's murder for Jordan's benefit.

But when another body is discovered in a NYC alley around the corner from the doctor's office, with one of Alice's necklaces at the scene of the crime, another victim of a brutal knife attack, Jessica and Artie attempt to link the two stabbings, while Grady fights the protective Henry to arrest the reclusive Alice after Artie rushes to the hospital to welcome the delivery of his newborn grandson.

Jessica now has a soap-opera-ish puzzle to sort through, as she must protect Alice, to champion young love with Alice and Henry, to trap the perpetrator, and to rescue Alice from a "Threshold of Fear."

The cast is rounded out by Joy Claussen as Jennifer the Female Patient at Dr. Holden's office, Alexandra Kenworthy as Mrs. Eddington the Client at Barnett agency, Dave Fennoy as TV Interviewer on the Videotape, and Whitney Rydbeck as Medical Examiner Freddie at the scene of the murder.

This episode marks the the second of two "MSW" appearances each for Tom Isbell and David Soul, the first of three for Michael Zelniker, the second of three for Whitney Rydbeck, as well as the second of three for Eddie Barth (and his first of two as Richie Kanpinski), the third of three each for Jamie Rose and David Lansbury, and the fifth of ten "MSW's" for Herb Edelman (and his second of seven as NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber).

Herb Edelman, acting on television and in film since 1964, has unfortunately since passed.


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