Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user 1 critic

Birds of a Feather 

Jessica's niece, Victoria, is horrified when her fiancé is arrested following the murder of a San Francisco drag club owner.


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 3 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Bart Braverman ... Bill Patterson
Jeff Conaway ... Howard Griffin
Genie Francis ... Victoria Brandon
Dick Gautier ... Mike Dupont
Harry Guardino ... Lt. Floyd Novack
Gabe Kaplan ... Freddy York
Martin Landau ... Al Drake
Carol Lawrence ... Candice Drake
Barbara Rhoades ... Barbara Stevenson
Robin Bach ... Maitre d'
John O'Leary John O'Leary ... Minister
William Phipps ... Charlie (as William Edward Phipps)
Brian Avery ... M.C.
Gary Pagett Gary Pagett ... Security Guard


Jessica visits her niece, Victoria ''Vicky'' Brandon, in San Francisco, who tells her that her fiancé, New York would be-actor Howard Griffin, isn't working in life insurance as he pretended. The ladies go to Mr. Drake's night-club, which Vicky found out he's somehow connected to, see he's performing there as a drag-queen and, worse, during star Michael Dupont's act, Howard runs out in panic after finding Drake's shot corpse. Vicky believes in Howard's innocence unconditionally, even accepts his weird job, so Jessica is determined to help, initially unappreciative, SFPD Detective Lt. Floyd Novack find the real killer. The club proves a viper's nest full of motives, including promising performer Freddy York, who would miss out on a dream contract because he held him to a lousy contract, reneging on a promise to sell the night-club, and the Drake family's (adulterous) love life. It all hangs on the tiny details only Jessica notices and makes sense of.. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first appearance of Genie Francis as Jessica's niece, Victoria. See more »


[first lines]
Howard Griffin: Mr. Drake.
Al Drake: What do you say, kid? Out for some early morning air?
Howard Griffin: I've gotta talk to ya.
Al Drake: So, talk.
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Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Jessica Fletcher at the night club
7 July 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

After a great pilot episode in "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" and an interesting, decent if slightly bland at times "Deadly Lady", "Birds of a Feather" still shows the first season going strong, though there was still even more room to grow. Like "Deadly Lady" before it, "Birds of a Feather" certainly does its job in providing some light-hearted fun with a story with enough to keep one engrossed.

There are a couple of things that wasn't quite so good about "Birds of a Feather". Jeff Conaway is rather dull as Howard, with the character somewhat of an idiot at times too, and a couple of elements were a bit too predictable, especially who the victim would be (which was obvious in as early as the first scene) and how precisely the murder was committed.

Before one forgets, the very final scene was a little too corny for my tastes.

However, "Birds of a Feather" looks good. Very nicely shot with attractive locations and fashions, with the night club being both glitzy and seedy. The music has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

The writing is charmingly light-hearted, gently amiable and down to earth but provokes thought too. Barbara's "Lucrezia Borgia in furs" insult directed towards Candice was a hoot. Again some lovely character moments, like the conflicts of the performers and especially with Jessica, whether it's the scenes with Novack or how much she cares for Victoria and giving her dotty but sincere advice. Still admire that Jessica is more than your standard female detective.

The story, while formulaic and a little predictable in places, had a real cosy charm and has an engrossing mystery that is tied up neatly with everything explained, while the way it was committed was not a surprise the solution itself was clever and just about made sense.

Angela Lansbury is terrific in one of her best remembered roles (one of the roles that is most closely associated with me at any rate), while Genie James is charming, Harry Guardino conveys Novack's exasperation and annoyance very well and Martin Landau (though perhaps a little hammy but it may have been to do with the character) and Carol Lawrence clearly look as if they're enjoying themselves.

In summary, good episode. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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