Former high school English teacher and famed mystery writer Jessica Fletcher (Dame Angela Lansbury) 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 (William Windom) or the local Sheriff, Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) and Tupper's successor, Mort Metzger (Ron Masak), 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 Manhattan University.Written by
Mike Hatchett <email@example.com>
Dame Angela Lansbury and co-creator and producer Peter S. Fischer weren't particularly fond of one another, with numerous magazine articles documenting how overworked Lansbury was, and how she would insist on numerous revisions to her character. In fact, Lansbury was rumored to be ready to quit after her contract expired at the end of the fifth season, and the season-ending two-parter was supposed to be the series finale. When Lansbury decided at the last minute to come back after all (with much prodding from CBS, which desperately needed the hit show to stay on), Fischer had to re-write the entire script. For the final episode of the seventh season, Fischer (on his way out the door, while Lansbury had been promised the job of executive producer after a transition year under David Moessinger, whom she also didn't like) had two versions of the last scene filmed: one where Jessica nods in agreement to Harry McGraw's (Jerry Orbach's) "And that's all she wrote", and one where she winks at the audience, saying she'll come back. See more »
We see Jessica Fletcher constantly ask the local Sheriff's and homicide detectives working with her (or the Sheriff's and detectives themselves) to put out APB's (All Points Bulletins) or BOLOs (Be On the Look Out) to bring suspects and witnesses in. When found the police just walk up to people and place them in the squad car, taking them to the station for Mrs. Fletcher and the Sheriff's/detective's to interview even though it's pretty clear they didn't want to come. If there is no probable cause for an arrest or an active arrest warrant, the police can't make you go anywhere against your will. Once in a while, a wealthy or educated person will assert this and ask a lawyer to be present but this is rare. See more »
I'm not quite sure why Murder She Wrote isn't still running. I'm willing to bet that Angela Lansbury could command any kind of deal she could have if she wanted to do more episodes of this wonderful series.
Angela Lansbury is maybe one of the kindest and most unselfish of players ever to grace the big screen, the small screen and the legitimate theater. Let's not forget she's a star in all three mediums. What I like best about her is the fact that she used her star power to give lots of work to her fellow performers from the golden age of Hollywood's studio system who weren't as lucky with their careers as she. Just look at the cast list of any random selection of Murder, She Wrote episodes.
For twelve years she got every weekend to show up the police in every corner of the globe that they had the wrong solution to a given murder. The amazing thing is that most of them simply went with the flow as far as her interference with their investigation. It was part of her charm for them and for us.
About half the episodes took place in the little New England coastal town of Cabot Cove where William Windom as the town doctor and first sheriff Tom Bosley and then sheriff Ron Masak got assistance from Jessica Fletcher every time she was in town at her home. I liked the Cabot Cove shows best and I suspect most viewers did. Though that presents a problem in that Cabot Cove given the percentage of the population might just have the highest murder rate in the country. Good thing she WAS around. But even there she never embarrassed Bosley or Masak in solving the cases.
Her best scenes are with William Windom, the crusty old town doctor, Seth Hazlitt. I suspect that back in their youth Jessic and Seth were an item and the way Lansbury and Windom are with each other, you can see the bonds are strong. The writers in Murder, She Wrote very wisely never made Dr. Hazlett any kind of buffoon the way Nigel Bruce was as Doctor Watson to Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes. Windom played it absolutely straight and his medical knowledge occasionally helped Lansbury solve the case. I think it's a shame that William Windom never got an Emmy for playing Dr. Hazlitt.
My hope is that somebody gets the bright idea to have a reunion episode and maybe finally marry Jessica Fletcher and Dr. Seth Hazlitt. It would be the highest rated show of a given season.
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