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 <email@example.com>
As part of producing the series, Peter Fischer developed characters and scenarios within the "Murderer, She Wrote" format storyline, with the premise for specific "characters" leading off into another network weekly series. In 1989, two shows, Murder, She Wrote: The Grand Old Lady (1989) (aired October 8, 1989) and Murder, She Wrote: Jack and Bill (1989) (aired October 29, 1989) were potential film series pilots, with Angela introducing each of the shows narrative. The two pilots were filmed at the end of the fifth season, June, 1989, after Angela and Peter Shaw had departed for their summer break. Angela's filming for each of the new show's preliminary introductions and last line wrap-up, were filmed at the start of the new 1989-90 season, filming the intros in September 1989. The "Grand Old Lady" was filmed aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, with a 1947 era mystery-murder scenario. The leading investigator and his sidekick intended as the basis for another mystery show spin-off, establishing a 1947-50 period environment. The contemporary "Jack and Bill" pilot involved two detectives with a bright pink standard poodle, aiding in sniffing out the criminals. Neither pilot was picked up by CBS, but the two shows were offered, independently, to both ABC, and then NBC, after CBS answered "no thanks". What was unusual with Lansbury's contract with CBS, Angela's "Corymore Production" company had an option for a "movie of the week", which could be filmed during her yearly summer hiatus. She could pick her property, cast and crew the project, producing the movie of the week, each year the series had been contracted. Angela and Peter Shaw's "Corymore Productions" never exercised the movie of the week deal option. When CBS and Les Moonvies axed the Universal-MCA Murder, She Wrote series, the four Murder, She Wrote movies of the week were offered as a contractual settlement. The Jerry Herman "Mrs. Santa Claus" musical "1996 Christmas Special movie of the week" was the whipped cream, cherry on the top, agreement to finalize the cancellation contract. Peter Fisher cut his ties with Universal-MCA and CBS when he departed the Murder, She Wrote series in June, 1992. See more »
Cherished series, mystery novelist sleuth's a genuine lady
This series is one of my all time favourites, and I still eagerly catch it on re runs. Angela Lansbury is surely one of the greatest of all the entertainment world's ladies, growing simply more graceful, dignified, and endearing as the years pass. She made a superb Miss Marple in some of the Agatha Christie movies, but her role as Jessica Fletcher, Cabot Cove's retired high school English teacher and current mystery novelist sleuth, is the one she was born to play.
True, the series isn't very realistic, as Jessica invariably stumbles upon a murder each week and manages to ferret out the killer quite single handedly, while local law enforcement remains stumped. However, this is fairly typical of all fictional sleuths; look at Miss Marple herself. Certainly Cabot Cove has an astonishing murder rate! Some episodes are of course more captivating than others, but even when a situation is predictable, it's always a joy watching this lovely, clever, & kind lady in action as she uses her charm, wits, imagination, and instincts about human nature. Of course it's always fun to try figuring out the killer before she does.
Jessica's travels take her around the USA and indeed the world, as she makes frequent trips to her New York City publisher, visits friends & relatives around the country (ranches, ski resorts, Las Vegas etc.), and even travels abroad, for example to Hong Kong, Ireland, Rome, Athens, and Monte Carlo. However, my favourite episodes are set in her small Maine hometown of Cabot Cove. I always enjoy the depiction of her lovely old fashioned white house and small town New England life, her traveling about on her bicycle (like myself, Jessica does not drive a car), and especially her relationships with other townsfolk, notably series regulars Dr. Seth Hazlitt and Sheriff Amos Tupper. As Jessica is a widow, it's always interesting to watch her with her good friend, Seth; one is tempted to look for a glimmer of romance. Quite often Jessica's young nephew, Grady, appears with her as she tackles the solution to a case.
The guest list throughout the long running series does indeed read like a veritable 'Who's who' of Hollywood, including Hayley Mills, Shelley Fabares, Van Johnson, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Polly Bergen, Wayne Rogers, Lucie Arnaz, and David Ogden Stiers...to name but a few.
I'm thrilled that the series continues to live on in re runs and tip my hat to Angela Lansbury's twelve season stint as the mystery writer sleuth. Personally, I wish Jessica Fletcher had taught my son English in high school, would love to read one of her mystery novels, and think she would make a fabulous & interesting next door neighbour...except that I'd be a teeny bit afraid I might just turn up murdered!
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