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Murder, She Wrote: South by Southwest (1997)

Jessica Fletcher (Dame Angela Lansbury) is attacked on a train when she investigates the case of a missing passenger.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


Peter S. Fischer (creator), Richard Levinson (creator) | 4 more credits »
3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Ray Baker ... Wilder
Cliff Bemis ... Richard Loomis
Keith David ... Algric Bartles
Harriet Sansom Harris ... Millie Ogden
Richard Riehle ... Jack Ogden
John Vargas ... Guzman
Mel Harris ... Sarah
Elya Baskin ... Boris
Michael Krawic ... Radley (as Michael A. Krawic)
Nelson Mashita Nelson Mashita ... Takano
Susan Blommaert ... Dottie
Stuart Proud Eagle Grant Stuart Proud Eagle Grant ... Jim Sunrise (as Stuart Grant)
Rance Howard ... Jarvis Bean
Lisa LaCroix Lisa LaCroix ... Pearl Sunrise


Jessica Fletcher (Dame Angela Lansbury) is on a train headed for El Paso, Texas. She shares a table in the dining car with a woman who subsequently vanishes, leaving her purse on the table. Then a message is announced for the woman and Jessica accepts it. This leads to an attack in her compartment and a demand for "it". She has no idea what "it" is and is rescued by a man claiming to be a journalist. The plot thickens. She is warned away by an F.B.I. man, but continues to follow her clues to Agua Verde where the woman apparently lives. The plot twists and turns as she delves deeper into a most devious mystery. Written by Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Did You Know?


The FBI helicopter (N32PM) is a 1994 Eurocopter AS350 B2 ECUREUIL serial number 2805. These are also known as the AStar and are one of the most popular and best known helicopters. Later models are known as the Airbus H125. See more »


El Paso does not have a "Windham College." There is one college (El Paso Community College) with multiple campuses and UT El Paso. See more »


[first lines]
Algric Bartles: Who's in charge here?
Landis: You got him.
[is shown ID]
Landis: FBI? Oh, the victim's ID pegged him as some kind...
Algric Bartles: Peter Hayward. We know who he is.
Landis: So what is going on?
Algric Bartles: That's classified.
See more »


References North by Northwest (1959) See more »

User Reviews

Long way from Cabot Cove
3 September 2013 | by GoingbeggingSee all my reviews

Anyone who has viewed more than two or three of Jessica's 40-minute TV episodes can set their watch by the little scene where she stops and says "Now let me see if I've got this right" - her chance to help all the dumbos to keep up with the plot.

Well 80 minutes is very different from 40 minutes, and I personally would have welcomed at least one of these idiot-board updates in the course of this bigger and busier version of 'Murder, She Wrote'. No fewer than 37 characters are listed, and their names flung about like confetti, so we only dimly understand who's who in the zoo. But don't let that put you off; the masterly ending will make the same impact anyhow.

The story takes us by rail into the baking sands of Arizona, about as far as you can get from Cabot Cove, both geographically and spiritually. Trains are always good for murder mysteries, with plenty of enigmatic strangers and chance meetings. And with Jessica on board, it's a safe bet that one or two passengers won't quite make it to their destination.

By about the midpoint, we've learned to mistrust every snarling male, but not, of course, certain gracious females who are so keen to confide in Jessica. (This view takes a bit of a knock in the closing stages.)

We can't reveal much more without giving away some key twists that are vastly superior to anything seen in the standard episodes. As for the murder-motive, this relates to a hi-tech agenda that manages to look just as fresh and topical now as it would have done in 1997 - a singular achievement. There are some pleasing touches, like a wacky hotel receptionist (Susan Blommaert) who turns out to be one of Jessica's most devoted fans. And only the inaudible dialogue at a key moment in the dining-car scene lets down the production values.

At the end, Jessica is pointing out the murderer's careless mistakes in her best schoolmarm style. (But regular viewers may like to know that we're spared the usual spluttering "But that's ridiculous..." protest from the other party this time round!)

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Release Date:

2 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder, She Wrote: South by Southwest See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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