Murder, She Wrote: Season 2, Episode 13

Trial by Error (12 Jan. 1986)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 135 users  
Reviews: 2 user

It's a bad day for the jurors when Jessica is the foreperson of the jury hearing the case of a man claiming self-defense in the death of an enraged husband.



(created by), (created by), 3 more credits »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

10 Best Back-to-School TV Shows

Dust off your varsity jacket and get excited for fall with our list of the 10 best back-to-school TV shows.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 3374 titles
created 26 Nov 2011
a list of 23 titles
created 02 Oct 2012
list image
a list of 2340 titles
created 30 Apr 2013
a list of 1222 titles
created 11 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Trial by Error" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Trial by Error (12 Jan 1986)

Trial by Error (12 Jan 1986) on IMDb 8.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Murder, She Wrote.
« Previous Episode | 35 of 264 Episodes | Next Episode »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David Ackroyd ...
Prosecutor Tom Casselli
Mark Lee Reynolds
Virginia Capers ...
Margo Webster
Macdonald Carey ...
Defense Atty. Oscar Ramsey
Doran Clark ...
Becky Anderson
Defense Atty. Max Flynn
Gene Evans ...
Otto Fry
Josh Corbin
Lee Callahan
Sally Conover
Fenton Harris (as Alan Hale)
Lenore Kasdorf ...
Ally Collins
Jackie MacKay
Frank Lord


After Mark Lee Reynolds's wife Stephanie has a car accident which at best leaves her cripple for life while he is wounded at the left shoulder, criminal John Detweiler who sees him picking up a woman in a bar where he tries to drink some courage calls her jealous husband, goon Cliff Anderson, who knows his Becky is serially unfaithful. Jessica is foreperson of the jury which must decide if Mark committed murder or only killed in self-defense. She makes everyone go over the crucial witness and expert testimonies during the trial and slowly makes them shift focus from prejudices to evidence and logical deduction concerning premeditation, motive and material facts, pondering both theories, till she comes up with a crucial twist. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jury | bar | trial | hospital | jury room | See All (11) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

12 January 1986 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Last acting performance of Tom Ewell. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Nine to Two for Acquittal, and One Undecided..."
19 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the finest episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" boasts a stellar cast of film and television veterans in a most witty exchange of dialogue....

"At the scene of a vehicular accident": Tony Bill as Mark Lee Reynolds, Diane Lander as Stephanie Reynolds, Javier Grajeda as Paramedic, and Warren J. Kemmerling as Doctor Maurice Webster.

"At the Last Resort": Doran Clark as Becky Anderson, James Hampton as Jerry Blevins, John Davis Chandler as John Detweiler, Gregory Walcott as Willie Patchecki, and Michael Swan as Cliff Anderson.

"Inside Cabot Cove County Courthouse": Walter Mathews as Judge Philo Walker, David Ackroyd as Prosecutor Tom Casselli, Jon Cypher as Defense Attorney Max Flynn, R.J. Adams as Ballistics expert Victor Assmussen, Alan Hale Jr. as Motel owner Fenton Harris, Robert Casper as Becky Anderson's neighbor Arthur Jasper, and Macdonald Carey as Defense Attorney Oscar Ramsey.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury" (Clockwise from lower left): Tom Ewell as Josh Corbin, Virginia Capers as Margo Webster, Arlene Golonka as Sally Conover, Richard Sanders as Gerald Richards, Lenore Kasdorf as Ally Collins, Allan Miller as Frank Lord, Gary Frank as Lee Callahan, Gene Evans as Otto Fry, Norman Burton as Drew Narramore, Vicki Lawrence as Jackie MacKay, Brock Peters as Thornton Bentley, and Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher.

Synopsis... On the night of a one-vehicle accident, paramedics arrive to rescue a severely-injured Stephanie Reynolds from the compact automobile driven by husband, Mark, who refuses treatment for his arm and shoulder injury.

At the hospital, where Mark, again, refuses treatment, Dr. Webster informs him that although there is a good chance that Stephanie may recover, she may never walk again.

Mark immediately exits the hospital in despair, to arrive at The Last Resort tavern, at which he is greeted by Becky Anderson, who asks Jerry the Bartender for a cloth to tend to Mark's facial lacerations. By midnight, Becky tells Mark that she must leave, offering to fix him a cup of coffee to offset his drinking.

A concealed Johnny Detweiler witnesses the exchange and notifies Becky's estranged husband, Cliff Anderson, who stays with Willie Patchecki. An incensed Cliff reacts, "Trial separation, she says! I'm going to kill that woman!"

About seven weeks later, Judge Philo Walker pounds his gavel inside a Cabot Cove County courtroom: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you've heard the evidence. Now, you must decide whether the defendant...."

Some of the finest dialogue delivery of this series ensues around the chamber, as nine impatient jurors see this as a case which should never have come to trial, but as a bid by a politically ambitious District Attorney.

Two jurors, however, vote "Guilty as charged" as flashbacks of the proceedings are presented and witness testimony is re-examined by the "Undecided" Jury Chairperson, Mrs. Jessica Fletcher.

Three possible scenarios of "Fireplace Poker Flinging" are presented for Jessica and the unwilling jurors to re-examine.

Asks the edgy Radio Host Frank Lord of Jessica, "Oh, so you're the 'undecided' one?"

Answers an impatient Josh Corbin, "If she wasn't, do you think that we'd be sitting here all day, re-examining the evidence?"

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Coziest episode? bsmale
Jessica + Seth . . . SaliceMcD
Episodes You Never Make it Through tooclosetothetv
Recurring Characters You Wish Made More Appearances george-adelman
Episodes that make you laugh Hockeydaze
Trying to figure out an episode rudis21
Discuss Trial by Error (1986) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: