"Murder, She Wrote" The Murder of Sherlock Holmes (TV Episode 1984) Poster

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10/10
A really great start to a wonderful detective series
TheLittleSongbird27 June 2010
I love Murder She Wrote, it is a lovely, entertaining and light-hearted series with clever story lines, good guest stars and a playful theme tune. Not to mention a wonderful Angela Lansbury. The pilot The Murder of Sherlock Holmes(it is cleverer than it sounds) is everything the show is, perhaps a little more serious than some of the episodes from the series but it is a really great start. It is strikingly filmed, the locations are amazing and the photography is skillful and simple. The music is fine too, the plot has enough twists and turns to interest, though I personally could have done without the mugging attempt, with a very unexpected ending that was quite emotional(it certainly seemed so for Lansbury), the writing is funny and intelligent, the pacing is brisk and the direction is good. The acting is excellent, Angela Lansbury really makes the role of Jessica Fletcher her own and is wonderful as always, while Michael Horton and Jessica Browne are appealing as Grady and Kitty and Arthur Hill is great as Preston Giles. Overall, a rock solid start to a wonderful series. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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7/10
She Shall Find Bodies Wherever She Goes
WeatherViolet18 February 2010
When three members of Cabot Cove, Maine, PTA attend Act One of a Mystery Drama dress rehearsal at a local theater, Eleanor Thompson (Rosanna Huffman), Lois Hoey (Paddi Edwards) and substitute teacher Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), Jessica figures whodunit before an incensed director.

Early the next morning, nephew Grady Fletcher (Michael Horton) telephones from NYC to explain that after he shared with Kitty Donovan (Jessica Browne) the manuscript of Aunt Jessica's mystery, which he had discovered in her attic on his last visit, and Kitty submitted it to Coventry House for publication, to Jessica's chagrin.

When the resulting book climbs the best-seller's list, Publisher Preston Giles (Arthur Hill) arranges for Jessica a tour of the media circuit, yielding disastrous results, in her opinion, as Ken Olfson as TV Book Critic, Danny Wells as Talk Show Host, and Kat Sawyer-Young as Feminist Interviewer offer difficult interviews, and Paula Victor as Agnes Peabody slaps a subpoena on Jessica for (unfounded) plagiarism.

Before she manages to exit NYC on the train, Preston convinces Jessica to attend a retreat at his country estate, in New Holvang, Long Island, which would include a costume celebration on Saturday evening.

Guests to the lively gathering include Grady's employer, Caleb McCallum (Brian Keith), his neglected wife, Louise McCallum (Anne Francis), struggling Musical performer Peter Brill (Bert Convy), Doctor (Raymond St. Jacques), and Ashley Vickers (Tricia O'Neil), who also works with Grady, and in an intirmate arrangement with Caleb. Richard Erdman as Eggman, and Billie Hayes as Peter Pan, also attend this event.

While strolling the grounds with Kitty that evening, Grady discovers P.I. Dexter Baxendale (Dennis Patrick) in Grady's room, causing Preston to evict him from the premises.

But the next morning, Kitty screams when she stumbles across a body in the pool. New Holvang Police Chief Roy Gunderson (Ned Beatty) responds to the investigation, which puzzles Jessica before she prepares to leave town, but reverses direction from the train once again, when Kitty catches up with her to report that Grady has been arrested for theft and murder.

The plot thickens once again, when Jessica considers that another costumed attendee may have been the intended victim, and so she returns to NYC, to sleuth for clues, as she encounters Bernie (Eddie Barth) and Bus Driver George (Herb Edelman) along the way, before she is mugged by Andy Garcia as 1st White Tough, and Johnny Venocur as 2nd White Tough, before being rescued by Russell Curry as Black Youth.

But as Jessica makes her rounds and Roy Gunderson his, Roy, himself, is nearly arrested for trespassing by two uniformed officers, who, with him, discover a second body aboard a boat.

Jessica prepares to leave on the train yet once again, before she realizes how the two murders tie together, and she quickly takes a taxi-cab back into New Holvang, to uncover the truth behind "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes."

The cast is rounded out by Ellen Crawford as Muriel, David Byrd as Davis, John Hancock as Daniel, Jay Fenichel as Cellini, Stanley Brock as Marvin, Freddye Chapman as Jane, Hap Lawrence as Young Deputy, Joseph V. Perry as Heavy Set Crude Man, Howard Mann as New Holvang Cabbie, Anne Ramsey as Bag Lady, Jimmy Joyce as Tom, Cathey Paine as Young Woman, Beau Starr as Policeman On Boat, Danny Chambers as Cab Driver, Sallee Young as Performer, Donald Elson as Bookstore Owner, Daniel Zippi as Mailman, and Larry McCormick as TV Reporter.

This episode represents the first television acting role for Russell Curry, as well as the first of two "MSW" appearances each for David Byrd, Freddye Chapman, Bert Convy, Paddi Edwards, Richard Erdman, Arthur Hill, Dennis Patrick, Joseph V. Perry, Raymond St. Jacques, Beau Starr, first of three each for Eddie Barth and Anne Francis, the first of five for Tricia O'Neil, the first of seven for Rosanna Huffman (who goes on to set the record for portraying the most different "MSW" female characters throughout this series), the first of ten for Herb Edelman (with four different characters), and the first of twelve "MSW's" for Michael Horton in his role as Grady Fletcher.

Brian Keith, acting in film and on television since 1924, Arthur Hill, acting since 1949, Dennis Patrick, acting since 1949, Joseph V. Perry, acting since 1956, Raymond St. Jacques, acting since 1956, Paula Victor, acting since 1957, Bert Convy, acting since 1958, Howard Mann, acting since 1961, Paddi Edwards, acting since 1962, Stanley Brock, acting since 1964, Herb Edelman, acting since 1964, Larry McCormick, acting since 1967, John Hancock, acting since 1969, Anne Ramsey, acting since 1971, David Byrd, acting since 1975, Jay Fenichel, acting since 1976, and Ken Olfson, acting since 1976, have unfortunately since passed.

This Pilot is considered the first of 264 "MSW" episodes, but it's often divided into two Parts for syndication re-runs, thus accounting for the notion of 265 episodes by some television figures.
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8/10
A good start to a grand series
Paularoc30 August 2012
Each week for many years I looked forward to watching this show which is one of my all time favorite television shows. Although some shows were better than others, it never disappointed. This pilot episode sets the stage for the future episodes: the sophisticated yet kindly retired teacher who genuinely likes and is comfortable with all kinds of people from the young to the aged, from the poor to the wealthy, from cab drivers to powerful business leaders, a middle aged woman who is keenly observant, even tempered and oh so confident. The show also continues to have top-notch supporting casts of well known television and/or movie actors as well as often talented new comers. In this one, Jessica Fletcher solves the first of a mind boggling 264 mysteries. After the death of her husband, Jessica writes a mystery novel and unbeknown to her, her nephew submits it to a publisher. It becomes a runaway best seller and Jessica is invited to New York by her publisher and does the television and talk show circuit. The segment of these interviews is priceless in its' put down of such interviews. Jessica is later invited to her publisher's estate and attends big bash costume party. A glimpse into how the rich and powerful live is another recurring motif of this series. A man dressed in a Sherlock Holmes costume is murdered. The sincere but bumbling detective is at sea so it is Jessica who must catch the culprit. Which, of course, she does. The one thing that does not continue in the series, unfortunately, is Jessica's offering down home advice or remedies to strangers she meets along the way. The producers or the star must have seen this as too hokey for a character they wanted to be portrayed as so very sophisticated. Shame really as this motherly advice touch added a nice dimension to the character.
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Murder She Wrote started here!!
SkippyDevereaux10 November 2001
This is the pilot and premiere episode of the program, "Murder, She Wrote" and is a treat to watch. It was nice to have a two hour lead-off episode and was over before I knew it!! Good acting and the pace was brisk. Hard to believe that it was first shown on September 30, 1984!! Man, that seems like a lifetime ago!! LOL. But it is still nice to see on television every now and then. I still miss the show and wish it were still on the air. Oh well, thank goodness for reruns!!
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7/10
Meet Jessica Beatrice MacGill Fletcher
WeatherViolet18 February 2010
This television movie introduces widowed schoolteacher-turned Mystery author Jessica Beatrice "J.B." MacGill Fletcher to the scene, to launch the twelve-season Drama "Murder, She Wrote."

When three members of Cabot Cove, Maine, PTA attend Act One of a Mystery Drama dress rehearsal at a local theater, Eleanor Thompson (Rosanna Huffman), Lois Hoey (Paddi Edwards) and substitute teacher Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), Jessica figures whodunit before an incensed director.

Early the next morning, nephew Grady Fletcher (Michael Horton) telephones from NYC to explain that after he shared with Kitty Donovan (Jessica Browne) the manuscript of Aunt Jessica's mystery, which he had discovered in her attic on his last visit, and Kitty submitted it to Coventry House for publication, to Jessica's chagrin.

When the resulting book climbs the best-seller's list, Publisher Preston Giles (Arthur Hill) arranges for Jessica a tour of the media circuit, yielding disastrous results, in her opinion, as Ken Olfson as TV Book Critic, Danny Wells as Talk Show Host, and Kat Sawyer-Young as Feminist Interviewer offer difficult interviews, and Paula Victor as Agnes Peabody slaps a subpoena on Jessica for (unfounded) plagiarism.

Before she manages to exit NYC on the train, Preston convinces Jessica to attend a retreat at his country estate, in New Holvang, Long Island, which would include a costume celebration on Saturday evening.

Guests to the lively gathering include Grady's employer, Caleb McCallum (Brian Keith), his neglected wife, Louise McCallum (Anne Francis), struggling Musical performer Peter Brill (Bert Convy), Doctor (Raymond St. Jacques), and Ashley Vickers (Tricia O'Neil), who also works with Grady, and in an intimate arrangement with Caleb. Richard Erdman as Eggman, and Billie Hayes as Peter Pan, also attend this event.

While strolling the grounds with Kitty that evening, Grady discovers P.I. Dexter Baxendale (Dennis Patrick) in Grady's room, causing Preston to evict him from the premises.

But the next morning, Kitty screams when she stumbles across a body in the pool. New Holvang Police Chief Roy Gunderson (Ned Beatty) responds to the investigation, which puzzles Jessica before she prepares to leave town, but reverses direction from the train once again, when Kitty catches up with her to report that Grady has been arrested for theft and murder.

The plot thickens once again, when Jessica considers that another costumed attendee may have been the intended victim, and so she returns to NYC, to sleuth for clues, as she encounters Bernie (Eddie Barth) and Bus Driver George (Herb Edelman) along the way, before she is mugged by Andy Garcia as 1st White Tough, and Johnny Venocur as 2nd White Tough, before being rescued by Russell Curry as Black Youth.

But as Jessica makes her rounds and Roy Gunderson his, Roy, himself, is nearly arrested for trespassing by two uniformed officers, who, with him, discover a second body aboard a boat.

Jessica prepares to leave on the train yet once again, before she realizes how the two murders tie together, and she quickly takes a taxi-cab back into New Holvang, to uncover the truth behind "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes."

The cast is rounded out by Ellen Crawford as Muriel, David Byrd as Davis, John Hancock as Daniel, Jay Fenichel as Cellini, Stanley Brock as Marvin, Freddye Chapman as Jane, Hap Lawrence as Young Deputy, Joseph V. Perry as Heavy Set Crude Man, Howard Mann as New Holvang Cabbie, Anne Ramsey as Bag Lady, Jimmy Joyce as Tom, Cathey Paine as Young Woman, Beau Starr as Policeman On Boat, Danny Chambers as Cab Driver, Sallee Young as Performer, Donald Elson as Bookstore Owner, Daniel Zippi as Mailman, and Larry McCormick as TV Reporter.

This film represents the first television acting role for Russell Curry, as well as the first of two "MSW" appearances each for David Byrd, Freddye Chapman, Bert Convy, Paddi Edwards, Richard Erdman, Arthur Hill, Dennis Patrick, Joseph V. Perry, Raymond St. Jacques, Beau Starr, first of three each for Eddie Barth and Anne Francis, the first of five for Tricia O'Neil, the first of seven for Rosanna Huffman (who goes on to set the record for portraying the most different "MSW" female characters throughout this series), the first of ten for Herb Edelman (with four different characters), and the first of twelve "MSW's" for Michael Horton in his role as Grady Fletcher.

Brian Keith, acting in film and on television since 1924, Arthur Hill, acting since 1949, Dennis Patrick, acting since 1949, Joseph V. Perry, acting since 1956, Raymond St. Jacques, acting since 1956, Paula Victor, acting since 1957, Bert Convy, acting since 1958, Howard Mann, acting since 1961, Paddi Edwards, acting since 1962, Stanley Brock, acting since 1964, Herb Edelman, acting since 1964, Larry McCormick, acting since 1967, John Hancock, acting since 1969, Anne Ramsey, acting since 1971, David Byrd, acting since 1975, Jay Fenichel, acting since 1976, and Ken Olfson, acting since 1976, have unfortunately since passed.

This Pilot movie is considered the first of 264 "MSW" episodes, but it's often divided into two Parts for syndication re-runs, thus accounting for the notion of 265 episodes by some television figures.
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6/10
Jessica Fletcher -- born but not yet evolved
dinky-415 October 2011
The character of Jessica Fletcher hadn't quite come into focus yet when this pilot episode was written. She seems a bit "folksier," quick to dispense home-remedies for cleaning dress stains or curing corns on feet. She has as yet only a tentative grasp on what it means to be a best-selling author and too often seems a bit bewildered about life in the Big City. The later Jessica Fletcher grew in assurance and seemed to find strength in her Cabot Cove background rather than viewing it simply as a safe retreat from a troubling Outside World. This growth in her character probably helped account for the long-running appeal of the show.

While this pilot episode has the somewhat questionable advantage of greater length, it doesn't rank as one of the show's better offerings, but it certainly has a curiosity value and it does offer a pleasing array of guest stars: Arthur Hill, Brian Keith, Anne Francis, Raymond St. Jacques, Ned Beatty, Burt Convy, etc.
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9/10
Murder is.....inevitable.
Sleepin_Dragon28 October 2017
Having just lost her husband Frank, Jessica Fletcher busies herself with writing and community events, unbeknown to her, her nephew Grady has sent her book, The Corpse danced at Midnight to publishers. Her book is an instant success, pushing Jessica into the limelight. A trip to promote her book in New York takes Jessica to a costume party hosted by her publisher. Tragedy strikes, and Jessica has to put her skills to good use.

Firstly, what a great title, clever, and sets the premise for the show, no escaping this was a whodunit.

A very good start, Jessica is instantly a warm and likable character, perfectly feasible. The plot is a good one, it's intriguing and intelligent. A great set of suspects, and a clever twist, particularly in light of the romantic build up between Jessica and Preston.

Of course the mugging scene is shocking, looked more like Grady then Jessica, but we'll forgive them that one. Nice music, nicely filmed, and a great showdown between Jessica and the killer.

A great start to a much loved show. 9/10
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8/10
The Lady From Cabot Cove
bkoganbing6 July 2017
This 2 hour pilot episode of Murder She Wrote shows us how Angela Lansbury became the celebrity mystery writer we knew and loved. Michael Horton made the first of his many appearances as her nephew Grady sends in a story she wrote as a hobby and it becomes a best seller. So this former English teacher develops into the cosmopolitan world traveler and American version of Agatha Christie, Jessica Fletcher.

In this episode we get two murders to solve, first that of Dennis Patrick a rather sleazy gumshoe given to blackmail killed at a costume party that Lasnbury is attending given by Arthur Hill. Another of the guests at said party Brian Keith is also later murdered.

Hill and Lansbury seem to be getting something going. It was as serious as I ever saw in the whole history of the show.

Also Lansbury puts herself in harm's way. Her encounter with those street thugs is as much danger as I ever saw her in.

A nice program sendoff for a beloved TV character.
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