Ben Matlock is a very expensive criminal defense attorney, who charges one hundred thousand dollars to take a case. Fortunately, he's worth every penny, as he and his associates defend his clients by finding the real killer.
Former high school English teacher and famed mystery writer Jessica Fletcher has a gift for solving mysteries. You see, it seems murder follows her around, whether it be to the houses of her seemingly endless number of friends, nieces, and nephews, or right in her hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine. Jessica is sometimes assisted by her friend Dr. Seth Hazlitt or the local sheriff, Amos Tupper and Tupper's successor, Mort Metzger, a former New York City cop. Sometimes, later in the series, Jessica would only serve as narrator. In later seasons, Jessica moved to Manhattan to teach criminology at fictional Manhattan University.Written by
Mike Hatchett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although set on the East Coast of America, Jessica's home in Cabot Cove, Maine, was filmed on the West Coast, in Mendocino, California, and the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles. The location filming in Mendocino, utilized the Blair House Inn Bed and Breakfast, as the exterior of Jessica Fletcher's house. It was built in 1888 for Elisha Blair and his family by Oliver Johnson, a local builder. Due to the amount of filming that took place at the location for the series, a V.I.P. room was renamed as Angela's Suite, and a replica of Jessica's bike is in the garden. Many other locations purporting to be in New England were filmed in Oregon and Northern California. Other movies filmed in Mendocino include: East of Eden (1955), The Karate Kid Part III (1989), and Forever Young (1992). See more »
predictable but reassuringly so - good whodunit TV
Angela Lansbury (Bedknobs and Broomsticks) plays Jessica Fletcher, an ex English teacher, mystery novel author and amateur sleuth much in the vein of Miss Marple by Agatha Christie. She is without doubt one of the world's *nicest* characters; she makes friends wherever she goes, remembers names, treats everyone the same and helps out anyone she can. It's easy "early evening" or "mid-afternoon" watching so may be considered to be a program for an older audience as most of the characters are older, but Jessica is much loved by young characters too. It's very dated now, but ran for twelve years from 1984; you see the increased popularity of mobile phones, changes in fashion and also her getting to grips with word processors having used a typewriter to write her books in the early series.
It's predictable and whilst the plots are original it is formulaic; Jessica is somehow connected to the person who is accused of the murder, believes them to be innocent so proves them so or reluctantly identifies them as the killer. She butts into the Police investigation, with varying degrees of acceptance, and she points out the killer. There's always a eureka moment, when she's doing something else, where she says, "I think I know who the killer is!" and often she needs to play a trick to flush out the murderer and then there's the denouement where she tells everyone how she worked it out. It's always some tiny thing she noticed and remembered that is the nail in the coffin, and sometimes the connections and "clues" are a little tenuous.
Most of the episodes are set in Cabot Cove, Maine, but there's many in NYC and then some around the world - everywhere she goes somewhere is found dead and sometimes she's the suspect! The regular supporting cast; the Sheriffs in her home town (Ron Mazak and Tom Bosley), friends and the local doctor (William Windom) depending on the series are great characters, and the additional cast are varied and there are many very familiar faces, some from when the actors are starting out (George Clooney, Joaquin "Leaf" Phoenix, Courtney Cox etc) and there are a few recurring characters, and a few actors that have appeared a few times as different characters (Jeff Conaway, Kenickie in Grease, for example, played three different characters in four episodes) but it doesn't matter.
It's not rocket science, it's not got bangs and whistles, maybe a few explosions and car chases and stunts, but it's relaxing intelligent TV where it's fun to guess the outcomes... it's just about a nice lady who solves murders. With so many episodes (264) over the twelve years I've still not seen them all and I really enjoy them despite them often being a bit cheesy and sometimes the acting is a little hammy but hey, this is a guilty pleasure.
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