Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
3 user
A racehorse trainer is murdered as he is on his way to expose a racing fraud.


Don Mischer


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 4 more credits »

On Disc

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Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Ami Dolenz ... Tracey Noble
Blake Gibbons ... Sheriff Clyde Benson
Tippi Hedren ... Catherine Noble
Stephen Macht ... Lloyd Mentone
Don Murray ... Wally Hampton
Sean O'Bryan ... Paul Hampton
Mickey Rooney ... Matt Cleveland
Shawnee Smith ... Jill Cleveland
Don Swayze ... Gus Tardio
Scott N. Stevens Scott N. Stevens ... Deputy Vernon Kelly (as Scott Stevens)
Frank Farmer ... Dr. Garney
David Powledge David Powledge ... Delivery Driver (as Dave Powledge)


Jessica visits horse trainer Matt Cleveland on Wally Hampton's stud ranch in Virginia's Blue Mountains, where everybody is elated about the prospects for their promising racehorse Swift Prince. Matt is clobbered down and Jessica finds a mysterious syringe, but it's a stimulant injected in Prince, three days before a major race, so unlikely still to be detected even if it makes him win. Meanwhile Catherine Noble's neighboring ranch is financially troubled, so daughter Tracey Noble can't get a grand wedding, and their partner, Lloyd Mentone, schemes with the Hamptons assistant trainer -who is fired by Matt- while insisting Prince shouldn't race with a not perfectly healed injury as his leg could be permanently hurt. Matt tells Jessica a video cassette he just received could help take 3 seconds off Prince's time, and shortly after has a fatal car accident, or is it murder? Now rancher son Paul Hampton, a banker, pulls the plug at his deal with Loyd, and calls off the wedding with Tracy '... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 November 1993 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Angela Landsbury and Mickey Rooney appeared in the horse racing themed film, "National Velvet" (1944). See more »

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User Reviews

"Oops, there Goes Another Broken Heart; Oops, there Goes Another Thwarted Scheme; Oops, there Goes Another Bludgeoning Tool."
17 February 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Classic film stars Mickey Rooney, Tippi Hedren and Don Murray guest as the widowed parents of young adult children entangled in a romantic triangle as the once-affluent world of horse-breeding crumbles before their very eyes.

This time around, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) plans to set her next Murder Mystery in the Blue Ridge horse-breeding country, and so she visits her dear old friend Matt Cleveland (Mickey Rooney), a jokey-turned-trainer at Hampton Farms, in Glen Falls, Virginia.

During her greeting with old friend Wally Hampton (Don Murray), who owns Hampton Farms, Jessica says that she hasn't seen old friend Catherine Noble (Tippi Hedren) yet. Catherine owns the neighboring Noble Farms, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, unless Noble Farms and Hampton Farms' joint star race-horse, Swift Prince, manages a win in Saturday's upcoming Raleigh Handicap event.

A widowed Catherine Noble has an only child, materialistic, pretentious Tracey Noble (Ami Dolenz), who continuously plans her upcoming wedding to fiancé Paul Hampton (Sean O'Bryan), the only child of the widowed Wally Hampton, an otherwise responsible son who enters a banking position, against his father's better judgment.

A widowed Matt Cleveland also has an only child, daughter Jill Cleveland (Shawnee Smith), who follows in her father's business as very capable jockey to Swift Prince, in partnership with Hampton Farms and Noble Farms, sort of like the arrangement between Tracey and Paul, although Jill and Paul seem to share an eye for each other, as well.

Usuallly on "MSW," a widowed mother would have the only son, who becomes "the man of the house," while the widowed father would have the only daughter, of whom is behaves overly protectively, but everyone's banking on a win at Raleigh Handicap by Swift Prince this Saturday...or at least until Matt is struck down in the stable one evening and Swift Prince is injected by a performance-enhancing substance into his "Bloodlines."

Jessica and Jill see to it that Matt is all right once Jessica discovers the "needle in the haystack," by immediately retrieving a syringe cleared of fingerprints in a bed of straw over the ledge of a corner in the darkened stable.

But tempers begin to flare by the manipulative Lloyd Mentone (Stephen Macht), who crusades against a Swift Prince win any which way he can, and bribes Hampton Farms Assistant Trainer Gus Tardio (Don Swayze) into action, as Lloyd fights Paul Hampton at the bank in the processing of Catherine's loan.

Doctor Garney (Frank Farmer) gives Swift Prince a clean bill of health on the day after the attack, he saying that the injection ought to wear off by Saturday, as well as his hoof injury, while Sheriff Clyde Benson (Blake Gibbons) and the others ponder the reason for the perpetrator's scheme and the method behind the madness.

That evening, Jessica works in Matt's office, with no one else around Glen Falls. Catherine attends a meeting with Wally, and Jill accompanies Paul for dinner, as Tracey arrives to invite Jessica to a nearby French restaurant.

But along the rural route, not far from the stables, Jessica and Tracey discover a body, which, as it turns out, has been bludgeoned with a flashlight.

Sheriff Clyde Benson enlists Jessica's capable assistance in investigating the murder, as she discovers that someone has cleverly switched Swift Prince with Victor Way and sent the genuine Thoroughbred off to South America, and now she suddenly realizes that someone will immediately inject a fatal dosage into the substitute horse's "Bloodlines."

The cast is rounded out by Dave Powledge as Delivery Driver, Scott N. Stevens as Deputy Vernon Kelly, and Craig Shoemaker as Scott the Trainer's Helper.

This episode marks the second of two "MSW" appearances each for Blake Gibbons, Craig Shoemaker and Don Swayze, the second of three for Sean O'Bryan, and the fourth of five "MSW's" for Stephen Macht.

(Extra points for Mickey Rooney, Tippi Hedren, Don Murray, and for Sean O'Bryan's big scene with Ami Dolenz, and, of course, for introducing into the series a flashlight as the murder weapon.)

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